Energy Saving Grants | Government Grants for Energy Efficiency

The Great British Insulation Scheme: How to Get Free Home Insulation

The Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) is a key step towards making UK homes more energy-efficient and eco-friendly through the provision of free home insulation. 

This scheme helps people insulate their homes, by adding insulation to walls, lofts, and floors. It’s especially designed for homes that need it the most, based on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating and Council Tax bands. 

By improving insulation, the GBIS helps cut down on energy bills and keeps homes warmer. It’s not just good for saving money, but it’s also great for the environment. This is because better insulation means using less energy, which is good for our planet.

This article will provide an in-depth look at the Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS), covering who can benefit from it, how to apply, and the different types of insulation it supports. 

We’ll explore the financial aspects of the scheme, including potential costs and savings, and discuss its impact on both individual households and the environment. 

The article will also address the broader implications of GBIS for the UK’s energy policy and sustainability goals, and outline any challenges or limitations of the scheme. Whether you’re a homeowner, landlord, or tenant, this article will give you a comprehensive understanding of how the GBIS could affect you.

What Difference Could Free Home Insulation Make To You?

Imagine your home fully insulated against the cold. Now imagine being able to get free home insulation. This is made possible with government grants, such as GBIS and the Energy Company Obligation scheme. 

Before we look at how you could qualify for free home insulation, let’s take a look at why this home improvement is so important and the difference it could make. 

Energy Efficiency and Comfort

Home insulation is vital for maintaining an energy-efficient home. It serves as a barrier, keeping the home warm during winter and cool in summer. This not only ensures a comfortable living environment year-round but also reduces the strain on heating and cooling systems.

Cost Savings

One of the most immediate benefits of loft insulation and wall insulation is the reduction in energy bills. By minimising the need for constant heating and cooling, insulation can lead to substantial long-term savings, making it a cost-effective investment for homeowners.

Environmental Impact

Insulation contributes significantly to environmental conservation. It reduces the overall energy consumption of a home, which in turn lowers greenhouse gas emissions. This is crucial in the fight against climate change, as residential energy use is a major contributor to the global carbon footprint.

Overall Home Health

Proper insulation also plays a key role in the health of your home. It can prevent problems like moisture build-up, which can lead to mould and mildew. This not only protects the structure of the home but also ensures better air quality, contributing to a healthier living space.

In summary, the importance of home insulation extends beyond just energy savings; it encompasses environmental sustainability, improved home comfort, and the overall health of the living environment.

What is the Great British Insulation Scheme? 

The Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) was introduced in response to rapidly rising energy bills and a growing need for improved energy efficiency in UK homes. Historically, a significant portion of British homes have been inadequately insulated, leading to high energy consumption, increased carbon emissions, and costly heating bills for residents. 

The UK government, recognising the dual challenges of climate change and energy poverty, launched GBIS as a solution to these issues.

The primary objective of the GBIS is to provide accessible insulation solutions to households, particularly those with lower energy performance certificates (EPCs) and in specified Council Tax bands. 

By targeting homes that would benefit the most from improved insulation, the scheme aims to reduce the overall energy consumption across the country, thereby lowering household energy bills and decreasing carbon emissions.

What Else Does GBIS Focus On?

The expected outcomes of the scheme include significant improvements in home energy efficiency, reductions in national energy demand, and progress towards the UK’s environmental goals. 

GBIS will also play a crucial role in promoting public awareness about the importance of energy efficiency and sustainability in the residential sector. 

Furthermore, the scheme is anticipated to contribute to the broader economic and social objectives, such as creating job opportunities in the green sector and reducing energy poverty among vulnerable populations.

In summary, the GBIS was launched as a strategic initiative to address the energy inefficiencies in UK homes, with a focus on enhancing the quality of life for residents, supporting environmental sustainability, and contributing to the country’s long-term energy and climate objectives.

What Types of Free Insulation Are Available Under GBIS?

Under the Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS), several types of insulation are available, each

addressing different needs within a property. Let’s delve into each type:

Cavity Wall Insulation

Cavity wall insulation is inserted into the space between the inner and outer layers (leafs) of external walls in a house. It’s especially effective in homes with suitable brick and block walls. This insulation type reduces heat loss through walls, thus enhancing energy efficiency and comfort.

Loft Insulation

Loft insulation is a popular choice due to its cost-effectiveness and minimal installation disruption. It’s laid in the loft space or attic to reduce heat escaping through the roof. This type of insulation is particularly beneficial for homes that lose a lot of heat through the roof.

Solid Wall Insulation

Solid wall insulation can be external or internal and is used in properties that don’t have cavity walls. It involves adding a layer of insulation material to the wall, either on the inside or the outside. While it’s the most complex and potentially costly option, it offers significant energy savings.

Pitched and Flat Roof Insulation

Roof insulation, for both pitched and flat roofs, helps reduce heat loss. For pitched roofs, insulation is usually placed between the rafters, while for flat roofs, it’s installed either above or below the roof deck.

Underfloor Insulation

This insulation is installed beneath the floorboards or concrete floor, helping to prevent heat loss through the floor. It’s particularly beneficial in older properties where there may be significant gaps or little existing insulation.

Solid Floor Insulation

Solid floor insulation is applied over solid concrete floors. This type of insulation can be more complex to install, as it often requires raising the level of the floor to accommodate the insulation material.

Room-in-Roof Insulation

This is suitable for properties with rooms in the roof, such as converted attics or lofts. It involves insulating the sloping sides of the room within the roof space.

In addition to these primary measures, certain heating controls, like room thermostats, may also be allowed as secondary measures, particularly in low-income group properties. 

However, it’s important to note that higher-cost measures like solid wall insulation may require a financial contribution from the household. A home survey will determine which measures are the most suitable. 

What Type of Insulation is Best For My Home?

Determining the best type of insulation for your home depends on various factors, and a free survey conducted by a professional surveyor is the ideal way to ascertain this. During the survey, the surveyor will consider:

Type of Building and Construction: The age, design, and construction materials of your home significantly influence the suitable insulation type.

Existing Insulation: The surveyor will assess any current insulation to determine if upgrades or additional insulation are needed.

Local Climate: The typical weather patterns in your area will influence the insulation choice.

Energy Performance: The surveyor checks your home’s energy efficiency, focusing on areas with significant heat loss.

Health and Safety Concerns: They will also look for any potential hazards like dampness or poor ventilation that need addressing.

Ultimately, the survey will provide a tailored recommendation, ensuring the chosen insulation method optimises energy efficiency, comfort, and safety for your specific home.

The Many Benefits of Free Insulation for UK Homeowners

The GBIS offers significant benefits to households by providing free or subsidized insulation. These benefits include:

Reduced Energy Bills: Insulation is a key factor in decreasing energy consumption, leading to lower heating and cooling costs. This reduction in energy bills is especially beneficial for low-income households.

Enhanced Home Comfort: Proper insulation maintains a consistent indoor temperature, resulting in increased comfort within the home throughout the year.

Environmental Sustainability: By reducing the need for excessive energy usage, insulation under the GBIS contributes to lower carbon emissions. This is a critical step towards mitigating climate change and promoting a greener future.

Improved Health and Well-being: Efficient insulation can lead to better indoor air quality by reducing dampness and mould, which are known to cause health problems.

Increased Property Value: Homes with better insulation are often more attractive to buyers, potentially increasing the property’s market value.

Long-term Savings: The initial investment in insulation, even if partially subsidised, can lead to long-term financial savings due to reduced energy consumption over time.

Contribution to National Energy Goals: By participating in the GBIS, households contribute to the UK’s broader energy efficiency goals and help reduce national energy demand.

In conclusion, free home insulation under the GBIS offers a wide range of benefits, from immediate financial savings to long-term environmental and health improvements, making it an attractive option for homeowners and tenants alike.

Who Can Qualify For Free Home Insulation Under GBIS? 

Free home insulation could be within reach if you meet the eligibility criteria. Let’s take a closer look. 

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Rating: Homes with an EPC rating of D to G are primarily targeted, as they stand to benefit the most from improved insulation.

Council Tax Bands: Eligibility extends to properties in Council Tax bands A-D in England and A-E in Scotland and Wales. Find your council tax band in England and Wales or in Scotland. You can also check the top of your latest Council Tax bill. 

Homeowner, Landlord, or Tenant Status: Homeowners, landlords, and tenants (both in private rentals and housing associations) are eligible. Tenants need their landlord’s permission for the installation.

Geographical Coverage: The scheme covers all regions of the UK, except Northern Ireland, which has its own energy-saving schemes.

Household Income and Benefits: Total household income and the type of benefits received can influence eligibility, particularly for additional support.

You could be eligible for free home insulation if you receive any of the following benefits: 

  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit Saving Credit
  • Child Benefits (dependent on the total income of the property)
  • Warm Home Discount payment

By meeting these criteria, a wide range of residents can access the benefits of GBIS, from energy savings to improved home comfort​.

Can GBIS Be Combined With Any Other Grant Schemes? 

Funds from the Great British Insulation Scheme are not eligible to be combined with other government programs or grants. 

Any installations not included in the Scheme must be completed either before or after the Scheme’s work at the same property. This is important for installations that might impact the property’s SAP assessment both pre and post-retrofit. 

This rule is applicable to several schemes, including but not limited to:

  • Warm Home Discount
  • Home Upgrade Grant
  • Boiler Upgrade Scheme
  • Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund
  • ECO4
  • Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
  • Sustainable Warmth Competition
  • Energy Company Obligation, along with any local or national schemes that support energy efficiency measures.

Free Home Insulation: Frequently Asked Questions

I rent my property from my landlord – do I qualify for free home insulation?

Yes! The scheme is available for privately rented properties – you just need to receive the qualifying benefits, check your home has an EPC rating of D or E and have permission from your landlord.

I live in social housing – do I qualify?

You will need to contact your local authority or landlord for further info on eco schemes available for you.

Do I need a home survey? 

If you work with an energy grants company, one of their trusted advisors will contact you to ask you about your home and book a home survey if your home seems like it could benefit from some upgrades. They will arrange your in-home survey.

Will external cavity wall insulation affect the look of my home?

If your home is a candidate for free home insulation for your external cavity walls, a render will be applied as the final stage. This often makes the home look more appealing and can add value to the property overall. 

Can I use my loft for storage once insulation is installed? 

If you plan to use your loft for storage, you will need to install loft boards over the joists once the installation of insulation is complete. 

How will I know all work is completed to a high standard?

The TrustMark scheme, endorsed by the government, assures high-quality standards for consumers. For the Great British Insulation Scheme, all installers must be accredited by TrustMark and have a unique registration number. 

Could You Benefit From Free Home Insulation? 

The Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) presents a substantial opportunity for a broad range of UK residents to access free home insulation. 

This initiative is part of a larger effort, including the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, aimed at boosting home energy efficiency across the nation. 

GBIS significantly reduces the costs associated with installing loft insulation, making it an accessible option for many.

By taking advantage of this scheme, homeowners can enhance their property’s energy performance, leading to lower heating expenses and a reduced carbon footprint. 

This not only offers financial benefits but also aligns with international endeavours in combating climate change and promoting sustainable living practices.

GBIS is a proactive choice for anyone seeking to improve their home’s energy efficiency. It represents a step towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle, contributing to broader environmental goals. Exploring the benefits of GBIS is crucial for homeowners interested in reducing energy costs and living more sustainably. 

This scheme is a key pathway towards achieving free home insulation, making homes more energy-efficient, comfortable, and environmentally responsible. And it all starts by filling out a simple form

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