Mr Cameron today urged homes to reduce their energy bill by ensuring they have adequate insulation installed.

In response to ever-rising energy bills, the Government admitted it has limited power to reduce wholesale prices, but said that simple measures can be taken to increase the energy efficiency of a property.

Insulation slashes energy bills by 40%

Insulation is the easiest and most effective way of saving energy by reducing the amount of heat that escapes from loft or walls. It is a relatively straight forward procedure can save the average home around £250 a year.

Claim a free grant for 40%-100% off insulation

Energy companies are obliged to provide funding to every home towards the cost of installing insulation, under Government plans to reduce the country’s overall carbon emissions.

Funding can be claimed for free through a locally approved insulation installer.

You can claim your free insulation grant here and we’ll direct your application to an approved insulation installer in your local area.

Recent figures from The Friends of the Earth has suggested that properties which are let out are the least likely to be properly insulated, despite the fact that spending just £900 on wall cavity and loft insulation could make a big difference to the lives of tenants.

New legislation

Friends of the Earth are pointing out that the governments new Green Deal which allows home owners to borrow money to improve the energy efficiency of their home does not help the most vulnerable people, many of whom are forced to rent their accommodation. They are calling for new legislation to ensure that the least well insulated homes meet a minimum standard – including those home which are rented to tenants.

Reports from the organisation suggest that 19% of the 3.1 million rented out properties in the UK are poorly insulated. This means that those who rent their properties are missing out on possible savings of more than £400 per year on their heating bills. They also point out that spending just £900 could significantly improve this situation for tenants. Friends of the Earth also say that improving the energy efficiency of all homes could even reduce the amount spent by the NHS on winter related illnesses.

Comprehensive plan

Dave Timms from Friends of the Earth has commented that the Green Deal could leave many people out in the cold unless a more comprehensive plan which includes all homes and sets a minimum standard is put in place.

It has been pointed out that the Energy Bill which is currently being debated could put in place a legal minimum level of energy efficiency for all rented homes. It is expected this will be in place by 2016. Landlords who fail to met these standards after this time will be committing an offence.

The latest figures from the government have shown that more householders than ever in the UK are taking advantage of cheaper insulation deals and are installing the product in their lofts and walls.

DECC figures

The figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that as of January 2011, 12.9 million houses in the UK had loft insulation added to a thickness of at least 125mm. This represents an increase of 310,000 since October 2010; just 4 months before. There are a total of 26.6 million homes in the UK.

It has also been noted by the DECC that many of these insulation installations have been carried out by the home owner themselves. In fact 172,000 homeowners installed their insulation on a DIY basis and 112,000 people asked a professional installer to do it for them.

Cavity wall insulation

But it isn’t just loft insulation which has seen an increase. Cavity wall insulation has also seen risen by 84,000 installations to 112,000 since October 2010. This represents a 33% increase, but this increase is lower than the number of installations from the same quarter in the previous year. If new homes are taken into account the figures for wall cavity insulation increase to 140,000.

The government has been encouraging homeowners to insulate their homes in an effort to reach targets for reducing carbon emissions. This has meant that utility companies are joining together with DIY merchants to offer insulation at cheaper than ever prices.

The DECC figures on housing insulation will be updated quarterly and the next figures are expected in May 2011.

Warm Front grants suspended until April 2011

Last month, the coalition Government announced that funding for the Warm Front scheme, which provides grants for home insulation, was to be suspended until April 2011, following a higher-than-expected number of applications during 2010.

Summary:

  • Warm front insulation grants have been suspended.
  • Government funded insulation grants can still be claimed through CERT funding.
  • Apply here for your grant

Insulation grants can still be claimed through CERT funding

However, Warm Front is not the only source of free grants for insulating your home.

The big 5 energy companies are obliged by the Government to pay-back a certain percentage of their profits to UK households in the form of energy saving insulation grants. This obligation was introduced in 2008 as part of the Government’s Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) which aims to reduce UK carbon emissions.

CERT funding is not affected by the suspension of Warm Front funding and grants are still available.

Apply for your CERT-funded insulation grant here

Home insulation grants can be applied for here. You can receive anything from 50%-100% off the cost of insulating your cavity walls and loft, which means you could have free insulation for your whole house – creating a warmer environment and helping to slash energy bills – absolutely free!

The Department of Energy and Climate Change came off relatively lightly in yesterdays round of spending cuts. A 30% cut in admin costs is being forced, but an overall 5% reduction in funding.

The good news is grants for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation are secure for the immediate future, but homeowners and private tenants are being urged to apply for their grant now whilst funding is still available.

An estimated 1 million eligible homes have still not taken advantage of grants for home insulation, which could see them save up to £220 a year off their energy bill. Free insulation is available to those over 70 or on certain benefits, and for everyone else a grant of between 40-70% is available.

More good news came yesterday when the Government dispelled rumours they would cut the solar feed in tariff and pledged to leave the current rate unchanged until the next review.

Further discussions will focus on the new Green Deal scheme, whereby homes can borrow money to improve their energy efficiency and pay it back through savings in their energy bill. Details are sketchy and this is not due to be launched for another two years.

In this era of purse tightening, the last thing you want to land on your lap is more costly energy bills. You, like many others in this country, can probably cast your mind back to a time when gas and electric bills were FAR lower than they are today. So why have they become such a financial burden?

1) Greed. Energy supplier profits are UP, and believe it or not, wholesale energy costs are DOWN. Instead of passing the savings onto you, the big gas and electricity giants are pocketing the difference.

2) Saving the environment. It sure is great to do our bit for the green cause, but very strict restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions is likely to force up the cost of wholesale prices. As you can expect, we’ll take the brunt of the cost!

3) Future uncertainty. Whilst wholesale prices are declining from highest ever levels just a few years ago, there’s no certainly over whether the decline will continue. The state of the economy is still fragile, with many claiming that the worst is not over yet. The future could bring further rises and further costs for the consumer.

So, in summary, you could be looking at even HIGHER energy prices, with increases on top of the massive bills pushed through over the course of the last few years. Why should you be paying that much when you really don’t have to?

Want to reduce your energy bills? Here are two main ways:

1) Reduce what you’re paying. Use energy comparison sites to find better deals. It’s really worth doing, even if you’ve never considered it before, as you could save HUNDREDS of pounds every year. Not bad for an hour’s worth of searching around.

2) Improve your home. You’re spending your hard earned cash on gas, so make sure you get every pennies worth. Improved insulation can save up to 30% on your energy bills, just by vastly improving your homes ability to contain heat. Best of all, you can get grants towards improved insulation, so you don’t need to fork out on anything, and you could start immediately saving money with much lower heating bills. It’s as simple as that! Learn more about insulation grants.

Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change announces the launch of the first Annual Energy Statement.

This sets out how the UK will accelerate the transformation of our economy. And to help imagine how we meet our energy needs in the future, the new 2050 calculator allows you to explore the country’s energy options for 2050.

Insulation grants will play an important role in helping Britain meet its target for reducing carbon emissions by 2012.

Home insulation has become a vital part in today’s green friendly world. With the various efforts of trying to cut down on emissions and conserve energy, many new policies are coming into play. The UK government plans to penalise all homeowners who have not insulated their homes by the end of this year. Many households have already gone through with the home insulation grant.

The grant covers up to 100% depending on your age, type of home and what benefits you receive. Home insulation covers other services as well such as glazing of windows and sealing of wooden floors, however these are not covered under current funding.

With the grants ending in December 2012 many household owners are advised to take advantage of the grants before the tax laws are put in place.

Among the main forms of insulation, loft insulation grants have also been allocated to insulate lofts and conserve heat lost through the roofs of houses. The heat loss through lofts is a serious concern for energy saving. In any household over 40% of the energy is lost through the roof.

This is due to the void and the thin layer that separates the outside temperature from the internal space in the roof. Therefore insulation is done either by laying several layers of insulator to make a layer that is 200mm thick for maximum efficiency. Materials such as vermiculite and mineral fibre are used. Crevices and awkward spaces are covered using another form of insulation known as “blown” insulation. These methods completely seal the heat flow and prevent heat from escaping.

Specialists are available for hire to oversee and perform this task. The loft insulation grants come with a full recommendation and a quote for customers who want an estimate. The insulation material used is guaranteed for 25 years.  Loft insulation is not recommended for home owners to carry out by themselves due to the risks involved, such as electrical cabling and structural defects. Eligibility for loft insulation grants are similar to the other grants being offered by insulation grants. 

Insulation grants save over £179 annually and reduce carbon emissions by 60kg a year. With the global warming crisis looming over our heads experts recommend that everyone do their part to reduce emissions.

Carbon Emission Reduction Target

CERT, or Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, was launched in 2008 to ensure the UK meets its statutory carbon reduction targets. It aims to cut carbon emissions by ensuring that every household in the UK is as energy efficient as possible. By helping home owners insulate their loft or cavity walls through insulation grants, the energy saved will help the Government reduce overall carbon emissions for the UK, in line with European targets.

Funding for the scheme is provided by UK Energy Suppliers with more than 50,000 customers (domestic households), these are British Gas, NPower, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy.

Helping the most vulnerable

CERT requires these Energy Companies to allocate at least 40% of their total funding to a ‘Priority Group’. This is made up of a) households on certain benefits, b) those over over 70 and c) those on low incomes (under £16,190). This group is considered most in-need of assistance in (and the least likely to insulate their home without funding). For this group, CERT funding will pay for 100% of the cost of cavity wall and/or loft insulation.

The CERT scheme aims to cover every home in the country and not just those in the priority group. In fact, households outside of this group will still receive a grant for 40% off the cost of home insulation, in order to provide an incentive to install insulation and increase efficiency.

Home insulation grants are most effective

There are several ways in which carbon emissions can be reduced including heating, lighting, appliances and micro-generation. However, the most effective measure is home insulation grants which has accounted for 62% of the overall savings made since CERT began. Loft Insulation and Cavity Wall Insulation in particular account for the vast majority of the installations.

How funding is allocated

Funding from the big five energy companies for home insulation is allocated to insulation installers across the country. Households can then approach these installers directly who will deal with the necessary paperwork involved in claiming a grant for cavity wall insulation or loft insulation. Council and housing association tenants should contact their housing provider directly in order to apply.

Extensions to the scheme

The Green Deal scheme is currently being drawn up by Government Ministers. Early details to be released suggest that ‘green loans’ could be offered to homes to encourage micro-generation of power through solar or wind power. The initial cost would be covered by a loan that could be paid back from savings made in the home’s energy bill.

Councils across Britain have reported an increase in doorstep cold callers, attempting to sell insulation products to residents.

Presented with a tick-sheet of improvements

Whilst some callers are legitimately informing residents they could receive a grant towards insulation for their home, others are using this as a way to “up-sell” residents to other energy saving products, usually at vastly inflated prices.

According to the Bolton News, 70 year old Mr Liptrot was presented with a tick-sheet of improvements that could be made to his home, after a doorstep caller informed him about cavity wall insulation grants. The caller then tried to sell him an insulation spray for his windows at a cost of over £1,000 (something Mr Liptrot later did himself using a DIY kit purchased for around £20).

“He wanted me to sign up there and then but when I told him that I wanted to check a few facts he closed his briefcase and made a swift exit.” Says Mr Liptrot.

Insulation grants

Insulation grants are available for cavity wall and loft insulation for up to 100% for those over 70 or on benefits. Everyone else can receive a grant for around 50% as part of the Governments CERT (Carbon Emission Reduction Target) funding.

However, be wary of doorstep callers attempting to sell you “add-on” products, as many residents have experienced pressure-selling techniques, which can be intimating, to say the least.

You can check the insulation grant you are entitled to at http://www.insulationgrants.info and apply directly to a legitimate, accredited installer in your area.