The United Kingdom has become a frontrunner in the global fight against climate change, spearheaded by a multifaceted approach that encompasses a variety of government schemes and legislation. In this blog we will dig into the available government schemes and explore current legislation, empowering homeowners to make informed decisions that enhance the energy efficiency of their homes.
Energy efficiency plays a critical role in achieving a low-carbon economy. By reducing energy consumption and minimising waste, we can lower energy bills, enhance the sustainability of our energy system, and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The UK government operates a range of schemes to encourage energy-efficient upgrades in homes, providing financial incentives and grants to empower homeowners to embrace a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It is worth noting as well that more information can be found on the website of the Energy Saving Trust. The Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation offering a wealth of resources and guidance on energy conservation and carbon emission reduction. Their services cater to individuals, businesses, and governments, promoting energy efficiency and sustainable energy solutions. In this blog we will explore some of these themes.
Current government schemes
Home Upgrade Grant (HUG): This scheme provides funding to local authorities, enabling them to assist homeowners in implementing energy-efficient upgrades and low-carbon heating systems. The HUG specifically targets households that meet certain criteria, including low income, off-gas grid status, and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating between D and G.
Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS): This government-funded initiative offers grants to homeowners across England and Wales who wish to replace their fossil fuel heating systems with either an air source heat pump or a biomass boiler. These grants significantly reduce the upfront costs associated with these low-carbon heating solutions.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO): Designed to support low-income households and those experiencing fuel poverty, the ECO program channels funding from energy companies towards energy-efficient measures in eligible homes. These measures include insulation, heating upgrades, and other energy-saving improvements.
The current landscape of legislation
In addition to the schemes listed above, the UK government has enacted various pieces of legislation to promote energy efficiency in homes:
- Energy Efficiency Act 2011: This act sets minimum energy efficiency standards for new homes and requires existing homes to comply with certain standards when sold or rented.
- Green Deal: This initiative provides homeowners with access to finance for energy-efficient improvements, allowing them to spread the costs over time.
- Building Regulations 2010: These regulations establish energy efficiency standards for new homes, ensuring that they are designed to minimise energy consumption.
Beyond energy efficiency legislation
Energy Price Guarantee
In response to a sharp rise in wholesale gas prices, the government implemented the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) as a temporary measure in October 2022. The EPG capped the maximum price you paid per unit of gas or electricity, not your total bill amount.
The EPG ensured that a typical UK household paid no more than £2,500 per year for energy. This safeguard remained in effect until June 2023.
The price cap, which is now lower than the £2,500 EPG limit, determines the maximum price per unit of energy that customers pay. The price cap should be automatically applied; there is no need to contact your energy supplier unless you are experiencing payment difficulties.
Beware of scams: If someone contacts you claiming you need to apply for the price cap or the price guarantee, it is a fraudulent attempt. Please disregard such communications.
Mobilising green investment
The 2023 Green Finance Strategy positions the UK as a global leader in green finance, mobilising private investment to achieve energy security, net-zero emissions, and environmental sustainability. It establishes a roadmap for the UK to become the world’s first Net Zero Aligned Financial Centre, empowering market participants with the knowledge and tools to align with climate and nature objectives.
The strategy fosters the development of emerging technologies towards commercial viability, supported by public finance institutions. It also outlines measures to expand high-integrity voluntary markets, including the establishment of nature markets within the UK.
Building upon the legacy of COP26, the strategy reaffirms the UK’s dedication to accelerating global green finance growth, extending its reach to emerging markets and developing economies.
Buy to Let legislations
The buy-to-let market has undergone considerable transformation in recent years, driven by evolving legislation in England and Wales. To regulate and improve the buy-to-let sector in line with environmental considerations, the government has implemented new measures.
Effective April 2020, landlords are prohibited from renting properties or continuing to rent properties that fall under the MEES Regulations if the properties have an EPC rating lower than E, unless they hold a valid exemption. Landlords who intend to rent out a property with an EPC rating of F or G must upgrade the rating to E or obtain an exemption before entering into a new tenancy agreement.
The government is committed to a plan to improve the energy efficiency standards of privately rented properties in England and Wales. A recent proposal (which has been subsequently withdrawn) was that by 2025, all rental properties will need an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above for new tenancies, and by 2028 for all existing tenancies. Scroll’s mission is to help landlords with their decarbonisation goals.
In the same way as the Energy Savings Trust website contains a wide range of energy efficiency information and tips, it is also worth visiting Waterwise. Waterwise is a leading independent organisation in the UK dedicated to promoting the wise use of water for the benefit of people and the planet. Their vision is a world where water is used wisely every day, everywhere, by everyone. Waterwise serve as the UK’s conscience on water efficiency, advocating for both society and the environment. Their focus areas are water efficiency policy, regulation, research, campaigning and reinforcing positive behaviour.
By taking advantage of the available schemes and adhering to the established legislation, homeowners can not only reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint but also contribute to a more sustainable future. The UK government’s commitment to environmental protection is evident in its multifaceted approach, empowering individuals and businesses to play a part in safeguarding our planet.
Scroll is an innovative, digital first FinTech platform created and exclusively tailored for homeowners and landlords. Our mission is to empower individuals to maximise their home or property equity for essential purposes, including home improvement, property investments, debt consolidation, and covering later life care costs. Scroll is brought to life by a team of highly skilled visionaries who firmly believe in the transformative potential of imagination, collaboration, cutting-edge technology, and the power of teamwork.