ECO (Energy Company Obligation)
Scheme to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. Funding comes from energy suppliers and is used to promote measures which improve the ability of low income, fuel poor and vulnerable households to heat their homes.
There are a wide range of energy efficiency measures that can be installed under ECO including insulation measures, heating measures and connections to district heating systems (new and upgrades). These also include internal and external wall insulation systems. Unlike previous iterations of ECO a whole house approach is adopted in ECO 4, requiring a range of measures.
West Lothian Council is committed to tackling Fuel Poverty across the region through various means, as detailed in our Local Housing Strategy (LHS), Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) and Anti-Poverty Strategy (more details available from our Housing Policy and Strategies page). Adopting ECO 4 Eligibility Policy will allow ECO 4 Affordable Warmth Funding for energy efficiency improvement measures to be made available to more residents living in private sector housing.
We have published our Statement of Intent (SOI) to allow more homeowner to access ECO funding. This SOI will help to target those households in the highest level of need by targeting households living in fuel poverty or who are living on a low income and are vulnerable to the effects of a cold home. ECO 4 is only available to support residents living in private sector housing.
Funding is not provided through West Lothian Council, but is a UK Government initiative. To access this funding, you must go through an external contractor.
Preconditions in ECO4
- Projects with heating measures installed in ECO4 must meet either precondition 1 or 2 depending on their type of heating measure and their starting SAP band, or hold a valid exemption to their respective precondition. For more information, see paragraphs 5.57 - 5.84 of the Delivery document available on the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Guidance page.
- The prescribed standards that precondition insulation elements must meet are the building regulations that would have applied if the insulation element was installed the day before the completion of the ECO4 heating measure. For more information, see paragraphs 5.60 of the Delivery document available on the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Guidance page. In Scotland, Building Standards Technical Handbook: Domestic Buildings provides further information.
- "Insulation (Assumed)", generated from an RdSAP, cannot be used as evidence to prove the presence of insulation that meets prescribed standards except in newer properties where the assumed U-value meet current building regulations. For more information, see paragraphs 5.66 of the Delivery document available on the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Guidance page.
Current precondition evidencing routes
Currently we have three routes to provide evidence that ECO4 preconditions have been met to prescribed standards:
- If the insulation measure is installed as part of the ECO4 project under PAS2035 and obtains a TrustMark completion certificate. We consider the TrustMark completion certificate as sufficient evidence that the relevant insulation measure meets prescribed standards. We do not require any additional evidence on U-values achieved, and we recognise that building regulations allow target U-values to be exceeded where technical limitations apply.
- If the U-value of the pre-existing insulation element assumed by the RdSAP assessment meets the building regulations on the day before the installation of the heating measure. The "Insulation (Assumed)" U-value in the EPR is based on the age band of the property and (in the case of walls) the construction material. We are planning on releasing an insulation pre-condition and & RdSAP age band table for guidance purposes soon.
- If the U-value of the pre-existing insulation element in the EPR has been overridden and therefore meets building regulation on the day before the installation of the heating measure. As per Trustmark conventions (2.01), overridden U-values can only be used in ECO4 with the prior permission of the scheme provider on receipt of suitable confirming validated evidence.
In-depth information is provided within our Statement of Intent (SOI). However, there are four routes to gaining access to ECO funding, however a brief outline of the routes is listed below:
- Route 1 is for households with SAP ratings D, E, F or G with a gross annual income of less than £31,000 including means tested benefits.
- Route 2 is for households with a SAP rating of E-G with 2 of the proxy's listed in the SOI
- Route 3 SAP bands D-G households that have been identified by their doctor or GP as low-income and vulnerable, with an occupant whose health conditions may be impacted further by living in a cold home.
- Route 4 is a bespoke route for households with a SAP rating D-G who are identified as low income and vulnerable but do not qualify through the other routes and an application must be submitted by the Local Authority to the BEIS
In order to access Flexible ECO Eligibility funding the council is required to submit a LA Declaration to the ECO supplier. The final decision on whether a household received ECO measures is made by the energy suppliers and therefore inclusion in a declaration will not guarantee the installation of measures.
The final decision will depend on:
- The survey carried out on the property
- The energy savings that can be achieved for a property
- There is adequate funding to support ECO funding for the installation of the energy efficiency measures
- Whether ECO obligated parties have achieved their targets to require further measures to meet their ECO targets.