If you’ve ever wanted to keep your house warm and cosy whilst reducing your energy bills, you’ve probably looked into insulation. Across the UK, various energy companies provide insulation for free as part of the government’s Green Scheme.
Unfortunately, this is normally only available for loft insulation and cavity walls, leaving those with solid walls out in the cold. Most homes built before 1920 (and some after) have solid walls and they’re notoriously bad at retaining heat; in fact, energy escapes at almost twice the rate of cavity walled homes. However, insulation can be added, and the Energy Saving Trust reports an average of £460 could be saved per year for a detached home.
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Solid Wall Insulation
Whilst insulation is rolled out in lofts or pumped into cavity walls, if you want your solid walls insulated you’ll have to pay for some form of internal or external cladding. The latter option is the most common, with between 50mm and 100mm of insulation fitted to the outside of your home and then a render or cladding fixed over the top. As a result, your home not only becomes more energy efficient, but it gets a little facelift too!
Installation Costs and Savings
As you might expect, insulation and cladding the entire exterior of a home is rather more expensive than simply having foam piped into your cavity walls. As a result, though the latter can often be accessed for free, finding grants for free solid wall insulation is difficult. You can, of course, use sites like Quotatis to hire affordable tradesmen, which can help reduce the overall bill.
Typically, costs for external insulation vary between £5,000 and £18,000 depending on the size of the home. Internal wall insulation, meanwhile, is a little cheaper at between £3,000 and £18,000, but it will cause more disruption.
The potential savings you can make vary largely too, with detached homes enjoying around a £450 reduction in energy bills. Meanwhile, a three-bedroom terrace might see costs drop by around £175 per year, whilst a two-bedroom detached bungalow could see savings of £180.
Energy Company Obligation Grants
Though grants are not widely available for solid wall insulation, some utility companies still have to offer it under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. Introduced in 2013 as a way to replace the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) and the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), ECO funding is normally provided for cases when the cost of insulating far outweighs the potential energy savings.
ECO funding does exist, but it’s generally only awarded to people who are vulnerable or if you’re living in a low income area. In addition, it’s relatively complicated to actually work out if you’re eligible for funding. In general, your income needs to be £16,010 or less and you also need to be in receipt of specific benefits. It’s best to contact your local Green Deal assessor who can then determine whether you qualify for help.
Local Council Grants and Loans
If you’re not able to claim funding via the ECO scheme, it’s imperative you contact your local council, and do so quickly. Several years ago, when funding became widely available, many local boroughs were able to coordinate with energy firms and develop their own insulation initiatives.
However, recent financial pressure means that many councils have cut back on these schemes or are abandoning them altogether. It means that it’s essential to do your research quickly or you could miss out on the opportunity of funding by just a few days.
Grants and financial support varies widely. For instance, in some boroughs, up to £5,000 has been offered to help cover solid wall insulation. In a lot of cases, this can almost completely cover the costs of installation. For example, if you have a three-bed terraced house, the average cost for externally insulating solid walls is £6,000. With the grant, it would mean you’d only have to pay £1,000 from your own pocket.
In other boroughs, councils have negotiated cheaper prices with energy firms and local installers. It means that the average cost of solid wall insulation might be several thousand pounds cheaper. In addition, finance options might be available, allowing you to increase the efficiency of your home for a small monthly fee instead of having to pay everything up front.
Overall, though grants are not widely available, it’s worth taking the time to check with your local council to see if funding is available. If not, then utilise local contractors to get the best deal possible.