Increasing your home’s energy efficiency can make your home easier to keep warm and reduce your fuel bills. Living in a home that is an uncomfortable temperature or that is damp can be bad for your physical and mental health. If you have a long-term health condition, the heat, cold or damp in your home could make this condition worst.
How we can help
Help is available to those that meet the criteria to receive support from our Arun home energy advisor on how you can stay warm and reduce your fuel bills. For more information and to see if you are eligible please see our home energy visiting service page.
Additional support to help you stay warm and reduce your fuel bills
There is a lot you can do to stay warm in your home and keep your energy bills down.
For the latest advice and grants available in West Sussex, please visit West Sussex Energy.
Fuel poverty is a phrase that has been used a lot in the media as energy prices have climbed higher and higher. Three factors that contribute to fuel poverty are being on a low income, living in an inefficient home and high energy costs.
These factors all relate to each other and if your circumstances result in you being affected by all three you will probably find yourself in fuel poverty such as spending a large proportion of your available money on trying to keep your home at the right temperature, or going without and living in uncomfortable temperatures.
If you are paying high rates of interest on debts or paying for things that are not essential, or at a too high a rate, there might be a lower cost tariff such as a mobile telephone that might be more affordable.
Free help is also available, such as local food banks or community fridges for food, museums and libraries as a free activity or using websites/apps such as Freecycle for free household items that people don’t need anymore.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
The energy efficiency of homes in England can be measured and published as an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
All domestic and commercial buildings need an EPC when a property is built, sold or rented. You must arrange an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you market your property to sell or rent.
More information can be found on the government’s web pages about buying or selling your home.
The highest and most efficient band is A which is the best rating to have. The lower the rating, the less energy efficient the home is.
To look at your home's ECP or to apply to get a new ECP please visit the government find an ECP web page.
Inefficient homes are much harder to keep at a comfortable temperature. Some of the issues that can contribute to making a home less energy efficient are:
- not having enough insulation in the roof, walls, and floor
- windows that are single glazed
- faulty or broken boilers
- the poor condition of the fabric of the home resulting in drafts
Lack of insulation means the inside temperature will change as the outdoor temperature rises or falls. This means your home could feel uncomfortably cold in the winter but also too hot in the summer.
If your home is rated D, E, F, G you may be eligible to access help to improve its EPC rating. You can get help if you own or rent this property, if you rent you will need permission from your landlord to go ahead with any changes.
If you live in an energy-inefficient home
If your home has an EPC there will be recommendations included about changes to improve a home’s energy efficiency. There is also an approximate cost that would need to be spent to achieve those changes. If you live in a lower EPC property you may be able to access a grant to pay for improvements.
These grants can change, so please contact our home energy advisor to see what might be available. We can also help you to fill in the forms if you require it.
Home energy visits from LEAP
Residents living on a low income or vulnerable to the cold may also be eligible for a free home energy visit. You could benefit from tailor made energy saving advice in your home and you could have FREE simple energy saving measures such as LED’s and draught proofing fitted. LEAP is available to all housing tenures, owner occupied, private and socially rented homes.
As part of your LEAP visits you could access additional community schemes including:
- Warmer Homes – First time central heating grants with gas connection funding. Tenants and owner occupied.
- HEART – replacement white good scheme – Apply through the LEAP services
- ECHO (Emergency Central Heating Offer) – provides emergency response assistance to qualifying households to repair or replace broken or condemned boilers. Apply through the LEAP services. Funding is limited and may be withdrawn once the scheme has created capacity.
Phone: 0800 060 7567
Visit the LEAP webpage for the most up-to-date information.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March.
You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.
Find out more information, eligibility and how to apply at Warm Home Discount Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Generate your own electricity or heat from renewable, or replenishable, sources of energy, such as the sun or wind could help you save money on your electricity bills, as well as contribute to reducing the carbon emissions of the UK’s electricity network.
Some options for renewable energy include:
Solar panels can be fitted on a south-facing roof and these will generate electricity from the sun. The solar panels are not suitable for every property but might be worth thinking about if your property is suitable as they are low maintenance and on a sunny day you generate “free” electricity.
Heat pumps (ground source or air source) are a newer type of heating so not very common. They work a bit like a fridge but in reverse, making the air warmer, not cooler. They need to be planned into a property but are much more efficient in the longer term so would help reduce high energy costs over time.
A simple first step could be to switch to lower energy lightbulbs and to remember to turn off lights and appliances when you are not using them. Become more energy aware MSE Energy Aware (moneysavingexpert.com)
Find out more about renewable and low carbon heating options for your home.
The Energy Saving Trust has information on the benefits of renewable energy, the different options available and what to consider. Many applicants will no longer need to apply for planning permission for domestic solar panels or ground source heat pumps due to changes to permitted development rights made in 2008.
For an explanation on the planning requirements view the national Planning Portal website.
Community oil clubs
To help obtain lower prices, local oil clubs are forming. An oil club, or oil syndicate, is where a group of residents place an order together so they can negotiate a better price with the oil supplier.
Selling renewable energy
Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is an obligation set by the government for licenced electricity suppliers to offer a tariff and make payment to small scale low carbon generators for electricity exported to the national grid, providing certain criteria is met.
For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-for-small-scale-low-carbon-generation.
West Sussex ECO4 Flex
ECO4 is the main government scheme for supporting energy efficiency improvements in low income and vulnerable households. ECO4 Flex The Local Authority and Supplier Flex element of the scheme (ECO4) allows local authorities (LAs) to widen the eligibility criteria to target vulnerable groups who do not receive income related benefits. Eligibility is based on income, household EPC and other qualifying criteria set out in West Sussex Statement of Intent for ECO4 and GBIS.
Broadly you could be eligible under ECO4 Flex if:
- you live in a property that requires energy efficiency upgrades and:
- you have a combined gross annual household income under £31,000 or
- a person in your household has a severe or long-term health condition that is adversely affected by living in a cold home, and is due to one of the following:
- a cardiovascular condition,
- a respiratory disease,
- limited mobility, or
There are various other criteria or referral routes set out in the West Sussex ECO4 Flex and GBIS Statement of Intent, and details on how to apply.
To see the others grant schemes available in West Sussex please visit West Sussex Energy.
The West Sussex Fuel Poverty Partnership V2.2 Statement of Intent (ECO3) was withdrawn from end of day 30 June 2022. To avoid version control issues and in accordance with BEIS guidance the Statement of Intent marked “Withdrawn” remains publicly available: SOI West Sussex Fuel Poverty Partnership V2.2 ECO 3 Withdrawn [pdf] 322KB
West Sussex Affordable Energy newsletter
For energy tips, advice on local energy schemes and support services available to residents across West Sussex, sign up to receive the free renewable energy newsletter at West Sussex Affordable Energy partnership (see the bottom of the webpage).
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for landlords
Landlords of domestic privately rented properties cannot let or continue to let properties if they have an EPC rating below E (unless they have a valid exemption in place).
This means F and G rated properties can not be let.
Further information can be found at Minimum energy efficiency standard landlord guidance.