Funding for Energy Efficiency Upgrades in the Home

The Council has been awarded £1.4M from the Scottish Government for 2017/18 to assist home owners, private sector tenants and landlords improve the energy efficiency of their home.

Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Scheme (HEEPS: ABS)

This is the Scottish Government’s funding framework for improving the energy efficiency of homes in the private sector. The scheme sets out 4 key objectives:

  • To reduce fuel poverty.
  • To reduce carbon emissions.
  • To lever Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding.
  • To support the local economy and sustainable local economic development.

Our initial HEEPS: ABS 2015/16 programme included an Orkney-wide mailing campaign to all domestic households and has resulted in over 200 applicants receiving grant awards. We have 144 installations in 2015 and 2016.

HEEPS: ABS 2016/17 programme has delivered measures to all the islands. Over 230 applicants were received. There was a big take up in External Wall Insulation this year and we had more applicants than money.

HEEPS: ABS 2017/18 programme has been approved and the criteria has changed. To be eligible, the applicant’s private sector property must be a main residence and must have a household income of less than £32,000 or the household must be in fuel poverty. We have a calculator that works this out but we will need proof of income, mortgage payments and fuel bills along with your council tax bill. The council tax band has also been dropped.


  • Main Residence
  • Private Sector Property
  • No council Band restrictions
  • RdSAP Appraisal as shown on EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) between E and G (Please see explanation below)


  • Qualifying for ECO2T Help To Heat (Please see explanation below)


  • Household less than £32,000

In the case of Private rented the income is based upon the Landlord and not the tenant.

The maximum funding per property is £7,500. However, a higher grant award of £9,000 can be considered where the applicant will contribute £1,000. The eligible measures are:

  • Loft Insulation.
  • Internal Wall insulation.
  • External Wall insulation.
  • (Under) Floor insulation.Heating Measures are not covered by HEEPS:ABS but you may qualify for funding under Help to Heat

Following your enquiry and registration, Firefly Energi (Orkney) Ltd can agree a suitable date for surveying your home and the assessment of potential measures.

All installations are to be completed by 31 May 2018.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate? (EPC)

EPCs tell you how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A-G.

The most efficient homes – which should have the lowest fuel bills – are in band A. The Certificate also tells you, on a scale of A-G, about the impact the home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The average property in the UK is in bands D-E for both ratings. The Certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency to save you money and help the environment. EPCs apply also to commercial buildings and are rated only by Carbon Dioxide emission ratings on a scale of A-G.

What is involved?

To carry out an EPC we will use an accredited energy assessor to conduct the energy assessment.

The energy assessor will need to access all rooms as well as the loft and underfloor. They are also required to inspect heating systems and controls, take measurements and take photographs of all key data included in the survey. The survey is non invasive and a visual inspection is all that is required. You can ask the assessor how long he expects to be as the time varies between properties.

Energy assessors can input this information on site or at home, to produce an Energy Performance Certificate which is lodged to the central register.

Energy efficiency rating

A section of your EPC will be dedicated to how energy efficient your property is. It’s graded from A to G, with A meaning an energy efficient, well-insulated, probably modern home, and G is likely to mean very high heating costs due to a lack of energy efficiency measures.

Typically, you’ll find an older property with no retrofitted energy-saving technology will be around a E grade.
There will also be a number from 1 – 100, where a higher number signifies that the home is more efficient and the fuel bills will cost less.

This shows the recommendations that your property could benefit from.

What is Help To Heat?

The Affordable Warmth Scheme is part of the Government’s ECO Scheme which was introduced in January 2013 to fight fuel poverty and to help reduce carbon emissions and the effects of climate change. The scheme is designed to provide funding to replace old, inefficient and faulty electric storage heaters and central heating boilers for householders who can’t afford to pay to replace them.

This is why it targets householders who receive a means-tested State Benefit and groups such as Pensioners and Single Parents.

Major changes to the ECO Scheme were introduced on 1st April 2017 with a simplification of Affordable Warmth Scheme qualifying criteria and a more focused targeting of fuel poverty.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, replacing an old, inefficient or faulty central heating boiler with a modern A rated boiler could reduce your energy bills by up to £350 per year, whilst providing peace of mind that you have an energy efficient boiler to keep your home warm.

Modern electric night storage heaters are much more energy efficient than previous versions. They are also better insulated so as not to lose the heat stored in them overnight. Both heat input and heat output are more controllable to ensure that you are not wasting energy, whilst your home stays warmer.
To qualify your home must be:-

Private House

You must live in your own home or one which you rent from a private landlord to qualify for a Grant from the Affordable Warmth Scheme.

For a STORAGE HEATER GRANT or a BOILER GRANT with the Affordable Warmth Scheme you must receive at least one of the following mean-tested State Benefits and satisfy any associated qualifying criteria.

As part of the grant application process, the surveyor/ Customer Liaison Officer will need to take a copy of your current State Benefit Award Letter.

Guaranteed Pension Credit

Child Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit

Job Seekers Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance

Income Support

State Benefits and Allowances which are NOT part of the Affordable Warmth Scheme Qualifying Criteria

  • Basic State Pension
  • Pension Credit Savings Credit (on it’s own)
  • DLA (Disability Living Allowance),
  • PIP (Personal Independence Payment),
  • Carer’s Allowance,
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Motability Support
  • Housing Benefit,
  • Contribution-Related Employment & Support Allowance,
  • Contribution-Based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Child Benefit

Register your details

Take the Orkney Council HEEPS:ABS Household Assessment

Register Now