The UK government’s ECO+ scheme looks like a step in the right direction.
Details are still emerging of the UK government’s upcoming green retrofit scheme… but the indications are that, unlike the Green Deal and Green Homes Grant that preceded it, ECO+ has got it right. Full marks to Grant Shapps, because retrofitting existing housing stock is a notoriously tough nut to crack. How exactly does ECO+ differ from its predecessors?
The government’s early briefing for ECO+ aligns it squarely with the ‘Help to Heat’ energy scheme, the ‘Energy Price Guarantee’, and an expansion of the ‘Help for Households’ campaign. That’s a canny decision. This is a time for concerted policy, not for blue-sky thinking.
In place of the complex tariffs of potential improvements offered under the Green Deal and Green Homes Grant, ECO+ offers the simple, proven measure of improving home insulation. Its creators reckon this will reduce participant energy bills by UK£310 per year, and their briefing document doesn’t even mention the resulting carbon savings. During a fuel crisis, appealing to people’s wallets is the best way to get them to listen.
Fully 80 per cent of the scheme’s £1bn of funding will go to the least energy-efficient homes in the country – those with EPC ratings of D or below — and to those in the lower Council Tax bands. Targeting those most badly affected by fuel poverty should help to maximize bang-per-buck, and will bring people on-side for more ambitious future measures… besides giving a significant boost to insulation companies.
In short, we’re gratified to see the an approach to green retrofitting that resembles the recommendations we came up with when the Green Homes Grant scheme collapsed in 2021. We hope that the Powers That Be will pay attention as the SuSy pilots get under way in Bristol.