Age Scotland’s guide to Energy Efficiency
Everybody wants to cut the cost of heating their home, and
energy efficiency measures can protect you from the rising
cost of energy. We’re often told that people don’t
think it will make a real difference but you’ll be surprised
how much you could save – and how much more comfortable
your home will be as a result.
With such a wide range of support and information available,
it can be confusing knowing where to start. That’s why
Age Scotland has produced this handy summary of what’s
out there so you can make the right choice for you and your
home. Being informed is the best way to reach that decision,
and this handy guide will give you the confidence to get started.
You may already have benefitted from, or received energy
efficiency measures in the past.
However, with fuel bills only seeming to go one way, can
you afford not to double-check? Just because you had loft
insulation put in years ago, is this actually enough?
Did you know that the recommended depth of loft insulation
is 27cm – nearly a foot! If you’re suddenly not
sure that you’ve got enough, maybe getting in touch
with some of the schemes below isn’t such a bad idea
Help from the Scottish Government
The Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes
for Scotland (HEEPS) Energy Assistance Scheme provides support
which can bring down your fuel bills as well as making it
easier to keep your home warm.
This scheme continues many of the elements of the earlier
Energy Assistance Package and will tie in with the UK Government’s
‘Green Deal’ programme.
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ENERGY ASSISTANCE SCHEME – ALL
IN ONE PHONE CALL…WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE WHO’S
Free home energy check:
So you can find out how energy efficient your home is and
what measures would be most suitable for you.
So you can check whether you are missing out on any benefit
entitlements and find out whether you might be entitled to
any additional support such as discounts on fuel tariffs.
Everyone can have an assessment, although your personal and
financial circumstances are
Basic insulation measures:
If you are eligible, you will be provided with cavity and
loft insulation. There are a large number of qualifying criteria
under these sections – for example, you or your partner
must be a homeowner or the tenant of a private-sector landlord,
or 60 or over, with no central heating or a home with a poor
To find out further details, call Home Energy
Scotland on 0808 808 2282, or go to www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland/.
Energy efficiency measures:
This could make your home easier and cheaper to heat by making
it more energy efficient, up to and including new central
heating systems, internal/external wall insulation etc.
Age Scotland is always concerned when companies increase
their bills for customers, especially at a time when incomes
and pensions are static at best. However, did you know your
energy company can provide a wide range of support to you
free of charge, providing you meet certain criteria?
You may have received a letter from your supplier telling
you they can save money on your bills.
Who can blame you if you’ve disregarded it in the past!
Nevertheless, your supplier can move you to a cheaper tariff,
or assist you in getting insulation measures installed free
Give them a call and ask what support they can provide. You
might need to answer some personal questions on your health
and finances, but don’t worry – this is so they
can assess you for support.
You could end up saving a significant amount, so don’t
delay – call your supplier today!
The Green Deal / Energy Company Obligation
If you have been assessed for the Scottish Government’s
EAP, the Green Deal could assist you in undertaking home efficiency
improvements, such as increased levels of insulation, renewable
systems like biomass boilers or solid wall insulation.
The Green Deal provides loans from accredited providers to
carry out works to reduce the cost of heating the home. The
loan is then repaid through your electricity bill from the
The ‘Golden Rule’ of the Green Deal is that the
predicted energy savings from works should be greater than
the loan repayment amount.
Here’s what you need to do to benefit from
the Green Deal
You will need to get an assessment done on your property
to find out what kind of improvements you might want to make
and what difference they could make to your bills. This will
help you decide what measures are most worthwhile.
1. Get an assessment:
A list of approved Assessors can be found on the Government’s
Green Deal website, at: www.greendealorb.co.uk/consumersearch.
Some firms will charge for an assessment, while others won’t,
so try shopping around.
The Scottish Government may have assistance to cover the
cost of assessment, so call Home Energy Scotland to find out
what support is available, on 0808 808 2282.
The assessor will provide you with a Green Deal Advice Report,
to advise whether these works will ultimately pay for themselves
through reductions in your bills.
You can accept as many or as few activities as you wish.
You can use the assessment to organise the work for yourself,
or use an accredited Green Deal Provider.
2. Choose a Green Deal Provider:
This is the company who will carry out the works, or arrange
for works to be carried out on your behalf. A list of approved
Providers is on the Government’s Green Deal website,
at: www.greendealorb.co.uk/consumersearch, or call 0300 123
The provider will detail the cost of works, including the
interest you’ll pay if you opt for the Green Deal Finance
You can get quotes from as many Providers as you want to see
who offers the best deal.
Remember – you don’t have to use the Green Deal
Finance scheme. You could use savings or a private loan from
another lender (see below).
3. Your Green Deal Plan:
If you ask your Green Deal Provider to do the work, you will
be required to sign a contract which details the work to be
done and what it will cost. The provider will then arrange
for an approved Green Deal installer to do the work.
Once the work is done, you’ll pay off the money in instalments
through your electricity bill.
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will be delivered by
both energy companies directly and the Scottish Government,
and is available to support those householders living in hard-to-treat
For instance those with solid walls, for whom the ‘Golden
Rule’ will not work due to their property type, and
those who are in receipt of particular benefits or living
in specific low income areas, including certain rural areas.
For these people, the ECO will deliver additional or different
measures of support to ensure installing energy efficient
measures is financially beneficial.
A few important pointers!
Your Green Deal Provider will detail the cost of the works
you’ve chosen, and the cost will be shown on your Green
Deal Plan (the contract between you and the provider). It
will also include the interest rate at which the finance deal
will be offered.
You don’t have to use the Green Deal Finance scheme
to pay for the works – you can also pay for these via
your savings or a separate loan. Think carefully about the
interest rates proposed in the Green Deal Finance scheme as
some of these could be as high as 10%. Certain conditions,
including who you can call if something goes wrong, will differ
depending on what finance you used. Remember that interest
rates are historically low, so think about the best option
for you and what option provides the best rate for you over
the lifetime of the loan. If you’re still paying it
off, would you be better adding the cost of works to your
mortgage? There’s no obligation to take up the Green
Deal Finance scheme, so where the money comes from is up to
If you want help to compare your financial options contact
the Money Advice Service at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
or call 0300 500 5000.
Check Age Scotland’s website to see how the Green Deal
finance could work in practice.
When you get an energy efficiency report for your home, it
might recommend improving your property’s insulation
before adopting more complex systems, such as renewable heating
Look first at programmes which will give you adequate loft
insulation, double or triple glazed windows and solid or cavity
wall insulation. Once you know the heat you’re generating
is less likely to escape, you can start thinking about those
more complex renewable heating systems.
If you’re unclear about what’s best for you,
call Home Energy Scotland
on 0808 808 2282.
The small print!
The money will be paid back through the electricity bill for
So, if you move house, you’re no longer responsible
for paying for works.
If you move into a property with a Green Deal, the landlord
or seller must notify you and provide details of the works
done. You’ll be responsible for taking on the repayments
for the loan, although the energy bills should be much lower
in the property.
You can change your electricity supplier over the period
of the loan repayment, but the new supplier must be participating
in the Green Deal. This does mean that once signed up to the
Green Deal, you’ll be slightly more limited when switching
between energy suppliers. However, the 6 largest suppliers
and some smaller ones are participating in the Green Deal.
You can pay off your Green Deal early, but you might be charged
a fee – check your contract.
This may be particularly relevant if you’re moving
house, as the buyer and/or estate agent may ask for the Green
Deal to be paid off.
If you’re claiming benefits, are on a low income or
live in an old property, you may be able to get help with
Contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 to find out.
Age Scotland, part of the Age Network, is an independent
charity dedicated to improving the later lives of everyone
on the ageing journey, within a charitable company limited
by guarantee and registered in Scotland. Registration Number:
153343 Charity Number SC010100
Telephone: 0845 833 0200