Insulation is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your home’s comfort. In the UK, there are certain external wall insulation grants made available through the government to help those considered ‘low income.’
There are many different types of insulation a homeowner or landlord may need to think about. There is roof and loft insulation as well as external wall insulation. If you’re looking for free external wall insulation, you may very well qualify for one of the various government grants that are designed to help people just like you, not only stay warm, but also reduce carbon emissions.
What Are Carbon Emissions?
Carbon emissions are basically the by-products of producing energy that is generated to produce heat. In other words, if you have a boiler that burns natural gas or home heating oil, those boilers are producing carbon emissions. Those carbon emissions enter the atmosphere and generate what is known as greenhouse gases. Those greenhouse gases have been attributed to increasing global temperatures because it traps the sun’s heat in the atmosphere, as opposed to allowing that excess heat to escape.
The goal of many governments around the world today when it comes to the global environment is to cut down on these carbon emissions. Anything that produces power is going to produce carbon emissions. Nuclear power plants, coal generated plants, and other facilities all produce carbon emissions.
When a house or flat is using a boiler to generate heat during the winter months, it’s also contributing to carbon emissions. The more heat that needs to be created by the boiler, the more carbon emissions are being filtered into the atmosphere. So, the UK government has introduced the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) in 2013 as a way to replace the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target and the Community Energy Saving Programme.
This particular ECO scheme makes it a requirement that energy suppliers install technology that is considered ‘energy efficient,’ including external wall insulation throughout domestic households in the United Kingdom. If these energy suppliers do not meet the government’s expectations with regard to external wall insulation, improving loft and roof insulation, and even improving the efficiency and output of boilers, they can be handed hefty fines.
Many of these energy suppliers have been struggling to meet the expectations of the UK government so they have lowered their criteria for eligibility.
What does this mean for the average UK homeowner?
Whether you’re a homeowner or landlord, you may qualify for certain free external wall insulation grants.
Being able to improve the energy efficiency of the average home in the United Kingdom can save homeowners approximately £300 per year.
What does an external wall refer to?
Some homeowners may have a difficult time understanding exactly what an external wall is. It is any portion of the house that is on the exterior and is exposed directly to the outside air.
Most homes in the United Kingdom that were built after 1920 have a space between the interior portion of the external wall and the outside part of the wall. Even if the home is made from brick, there is usually a space between the brick and the interior wall board that most homeowners are familiar with inside the house.
If this cavity is not filled with insulation, cold air can press into the house, ultimately getting into the house and replacing the hot air created by the central heating, requiring the boiler to run more often throughout the day, thus costing more money on energy.
Doesn’t every home built after 1920 in the UK have external wall insulation?
This is a common question that many homeowners have. In most cases, these homes will have had some type of insulation installed in those external walls, at least if they were built after 1920. Any wall that has a cavity and is considered an external wall should have had some type of insulation in it, whether it was paper or some other material.
Today there are many different types of insulation with high energy efficiency ratings. However, just because a home had insulation installed in between the cavity of these walls at some point in time doesn’t mean the insulation is still effective. Just as with anything else, insulation is going to break down over time. The longer it sits in between those walls, the more gravity, air, and other forces are going to affect it. Even the most advanced insulation in the last 100 years will eventually have broken down, essentially becoming ineffective.
No matter how long you’ve lived in your particular house, if you don’t know when the insulation was installed or replaced, it’s time to consider just how much this could be costing you every single year.
The cost of poor external wall insulation.
It is estimated that the average homeowner spends approximately 55 percent of their energy bills running the boiler. That’s an incredible amount of money when you consider it.
If you have poor insulation or even non-existent insulation in your external walls (because it has broken down and has basically settled low within the wall, leaving significant gaps with no insulation at all), you will be able to notice this by walking throughout your house, placing your hand on the wall during the winter, especially the coldest months, and feel cold air on that wall.
Every minute that cold air is pressing into the home, it’s costing money to reheat it. Then, on top of that, the heat that is generated is being lost due to this cold versus hot air transfer.
So, ultimately it comes down to the quality of the insulation that exist in the walls now. Insulation generally has a life expectancy and it varies depending on the type of insulation you have. The best thing anyone can do is to replace the external wall insulation whenever they begin feeling cold air draughts pressing into their home, especially through the external walls.
For homeowners and families on a limited or fixed income, they may not see this as a practical solution because properly insulating exterior walls, especially for existing homes, can be incredibly costly. It can cost thousands of pounds to replace the external wall insulation in a single home.
That’s why grants for external wall insulation can be so instrumental at helping these individuals and families stay warm during the winter and avoid increasing their carbon footprint and ultimately save money every year.
How to find out if you qualify for external wall insulation grants or free insulation
You can contact any number of energy suppliers throughout the UK, fill out a simple application form, and determine whether or not you are eligible to receive free external wall insulation or subsidies that can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home.
It only takes a few minutes to find out and those few minutes could end up saving you hundreds of pounds in energy expenses every single year. If that sounds like a good deal, even if you don’t pay much attention to carbon emissions or your carbon footprint, now is the time to take advantage of these opportunities.
Here are the links to the big six ECO pages: