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Frequently asked questions

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ECO4

FAQs ECO4

ECO4 is the fourth and final phase of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, an energy efficiency scheme in UK that requires large energy suppliers to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. Under this obligation large energy suppliers support the delivery of lifetime savings by installing energy efficiency measures in homes throughout the UK. 

These measures include services like the installation of insulation, reducing the amount of heat that escapes your house and lessening the need to ramp up the radiators. Or the replacement of a gas boiler for an air source heat pump, which uses (you guessed it) air to heat your house and significantly lowers your energy bills.

OFGEM administer the scheme on behalf of the Department for Energy, Business & Industrial Strategy.

To be eligible for ECO4 funding your property must have a low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of D, E, F or G. 

The following benefits are eligible: 

  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits)
  • Housing Benefits
  • Pension Savings Credit
  • Universal Credit

Don’t worry if you’re not on the above benefits you could still be eligible under the Local Authority Eligibility Flexibility Programme (FA Flex).

You can check your properties EPC on the Governments online database.

At Smart Energy Homes we Install the following measures under the ECO4 Scheme;

  • Loft Insulation
  • Cavity Wall Insulation
  • Internal Wall Insulation
  • Room In Roof Insulation 
  • Under Floor Insulation
  • Heat Pumps 
  • Solar Panels

With every install the ventilation of the property will be assessed and installed to ensure clean air flow.

Funding for ECO is provided by the large energy companies such as British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power, Octopus and so on. Under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) these large energy have been charge to improve energy performance in the UK, help reduce fuel poverty and cut down on emissions. 

They do this by supporting the installation of a pre-targeted amount of energy efficient measures each year. If they Energy company doesn’t reach its target, it can face a large fine.

The cost of these energy efficient measures is taken from the energy companies profits and is not taken from the Government or tax payers money.

Yes, ECO was set up under the Government’s Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO), also known as the Affordable Warmth Obligation in 2013. Ofgem has been appointed the scheme administrator on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Ofgem’s responsibilities include:

  • Allocating a proportion of targets to obligated suppliers
  • Monitoring supplier progress and deciding whether they’ve achieved their obligations
  • Reporting to the Secretary of State
  • Auditing, ensuring compliance and preventing and detecting fraud

 

ECO4 is an installer lead scheme, which means you can apply with a registered installer like ourselves. This normally involves completing and online form with some details about yourself and your property. 

The Smart Energy Homes form can be found here

Yes,  The ECO Scheme is completely free, 100% fully funded to those eligible.

Under ECO4 we install the industry standard in measures and materials to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. 

If you are privately renting the property, you will need the landlords permission before making any changes.

Insulation

Loft Insulation Smart Energy Homes

At Smart Energy Homes we specialise in 5 different types of property insulation; 

  • Loft Insulation.
  • Room in Roof Insulation.
  • Under Floor Insulation.
  • Internal Wall Insulation. 
  • Cavity Wall Insulation.
 

Ensuring your home is insulated from every direction.

 

Loft Insulation is the most known form of insulation, it consists of a barrier of material (usually mineral wool) laid between the joists in a properties loft. The recommended amount is 270mm in thickness covering the entire of the lofts base. 

Though lofts are well known for being prime places for storing items you don’t need all year round, it is important you don’t condense loft insulation by placing items directly on top. This can make the insulation less effective.

Sometimes refereed to as warm loft insulation, is where you fit insulation between the rafters (the sloping beams that make up the roof). These sloping ceilings can be insulated using rigid insulation boards and usually have a layer of plasterboard on the inside of the insulation.

If your house was built after 1930 its more likely that you will have a cavity wall rather than a solid wall. 

A cavity wall is a wall made of two walls with spacing in-between (a cavity). if it was built before 2010 it probably wasn’t built with insulation but if it hasn’t already, can be retrofitted. There are a few different ways to insulate a cavity wall, the most recommend being the Climabead system.

Older homes are most likely to have suspended timber floors. If you have air bricks or ventilation bricks on the outside wall(s) of your house that are below floor level, you probably have a suspended timber floor.

Timber floors can be insulated by lifting the floorboards and laying mineral wool insulation supported by netting on the ground floor between the joists.

If your house was built before 1930 then you probably have a solid wall or stone wall. A solid wall is usually made of two layer of joined brick, and you can tell a solid wall from an alternating pattern, with some bricks showing the smaller ends from the outside.

Internal wall insulation is done by fitting rigid insulation boards to the wall, by building a stud wall filled in with insulation material, then finished with plasterboard.

No, we use the best in systems, technology and materials to ensure when we install insulation your property doesn’t get mould. Under ECO4 surveyors must also assess that the property has efficient ventilation, if it doesn’t it will be put in place as part of the scheme.

It is essential for your health that the property is correctly ventilated, for more details see the Governments Existing home ventilation guide.

Save money on your energy bills.

One of the biggest benefits with the energy crisis and cost of living crisis is that insulation can significantly reduce your energy bills. This can vary from property to property depending on many different factors but as an example The Energy Saving Trust have said that a typical semi-detached house could look to save £355 a year on loft insulation alone if there was none previously installed and it was topped to the recommended amount of 270mm.

Heat and cool your home faster.

As insulation is a thermal barrier it slows the transfer of hot and cool air meaning you use less gas and electric to reach your ideal temperature and maintain it for longer. 

Lower Emission.

Because you’re using less gas and electric it reduces your thermal energy consumption. This reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. 

Our Smart installers will always work as effectively and efficiently as possible, trying to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum.

Internal wall insulation can be a lengthy process, if there is a room you would prefer our team to work on first please make sure to let us know before we start installing.

Install times can vary depending on the size and structure of your property, below is a rough guide of how long each insulation could take; 

  • Loft Insulation: 1 day 
  • Cavity Wall Insulation: 1 day
  • Under Floor Insulation: 3 days 
  • Room In Roof Insulation: 5 – 10 days 
  • Internal Wall Insulation: 10 to 15 days 

 

No, because insulation acts as a thermal barrier (and not a heat source) it can actually help keep your home cooler for longer during the hotter days.

In short, insulation creates an additional thermally resistant barrier between the interior of your property and the external elements. The purpose of this barrier is to slow the transfer of thermal energy from inside your home to outside. This means in the winter it helps keeps your home warmer for longer and in summer cooler for longer.

In the UK we have a number of different types of external walls, the most common being solid brick, stone and cavity. One of the easiest ways to find out what type your homes has is to check your Energy Performance Certificate, this can be found on the Governments online database. 

Solid Walls

If your property was built before 1930, it is more likely to have a solid walls. A solid wall can usually be spotted by an alternating brick pattern showing both short and long lengths. If you can’t see the brick pattern you can check the thickness of the wall through a window, a solid wall will have a thickness of around 225mm.

Cavity Walls

If your property was built after 1930, it is more likely to have cavity walls. Cavity walls are made up of two “leaves” with a gap (a cavity) in the middle and are usually around 260mm thick.

Heat Pumps

Heat Pump Smart Energy Homes

An air source heat pump transfers heat from the outside air to water, which heats your rooms via radiators or underfloor heating. It can also heat water stored in a hot water cylinder for your hot taps, showers and baths.

Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid. This fluid then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump, which raises the temperature and then transfers that heat to water.

Yes, heat pumps are one of the measures available for free under the ECO4 Scheme. 

It could take between 3 to 4 days to install the full air source heat pump system.

The heat pump (the outdoor box) part of the system does have a fan which draws the air across the internal components and makes a low whirring noise in operation. The noise has been described as being similar to a fridge.

Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid. This fluid then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump, which raises the temperature and then transfers that heat to water. This then heats your rooms radiators. It also heats water stored in a hot water cylinder for your hot taps, showers and baths.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels Smart Energy Homes

No, Solar Panels work in all daylight conditions.

Solar panels are positioned at an angle of over 15 degrees and are usually self-cleaning.  It is advised to inspect them annually and rinse if necessary. 

Solar PV panels alone will not give you electricity 24 hours a day as they only produce electricity in daylight hours. You would need alternative energy sources or a battery system as well as Solar PV panels to be able to come off grid.

Yes, solar panels are one of the measures available for free under the ECO4 Scheme. 

Other

Ventilation is important to help create a flow of clean air, this help healthy leaving and to prevent damp and mould. 

Cant find the answer to your question? Get in contact with our Smart Team and we’ll be happy to help.

Cant find the answer to your question? Get in contact with our Smart Team and we’ll be happy to help.

Services

Gas Boilers

If you need a new boiler installation or replacement, we can advise you on the best solution to suit your budget.

Insulation

The most effective way to make your property more energy efficient and cut down on your energy bills is to make sure its well insulated.

Ventilation

Having good ventilation is essential for any property or business to create clean air flow, prevent damp and condensation.

Heat Pumps

We use the latest in heat pump technology to help make your home as energy efficient as it should be.

Gas Boilers

If you need a new boiler installation or replacement, we can advise you on the best solution to suit your budget.