Managing insulation schemes

A significant, and growing, area of our expertise is the design and management of insulation schemes using ECO and the Green Deal.

Managing insulation schemes

Loft and cavity wall insulation grants, part of the Carbon Emission Reduction Target obligation (CERT), were once the mainstay of local and national schemes to help improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills. But what about the UK's millions of older homes, built without cavity walls, which are less easy to insulate? These require different measures to achieve the higher energy performance standards that carbon reduction targets demand. What's more, many such homes are ‘off-gas’, and rely on expensive heating fuels like electricity or oil.

The Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government initiative to address those hard-to-treat properties, and with its arrival the way schemes are managed and promoted is changing significantly. The challenge now is to ensure that CSE's future schemes build on the success of the many thousands of households we have already helped. You can read what we're learning in practice about the Green Deal and ECO on our Green Deal Blog.

Over the last few years CSE has been developing expertise in the design and management of solid-wall insulation and heating system schemes. It is our technical knowledge, coupled with an understanding of the broader policy and finer detail surrounding ECO and the real practical constraints at a local level, that make our insulation programmes work. We have also learnt over the years that a successful energy efficiency scheme is largely built on trusted local partnerships, with installers, local authorities, funders and others.

Our two main pilots into the realm of ECO have been:

Bristol Home Energy Upgrade, a Bristol-based project that helped install 134 heating systems and 23 external solid wall insulation jobs. The Bristol Home Energy Upgrade adopted an innovative approach to delivery, engaging with the local supply chain and giving the householder flexibility and choice in the Green Deal Assessor and Green Deal Installer they used. This customer-led approach was supported by CSE’s Home Energy Team and a comprehensive brochure. Running between December 2012 and May 2013, grants and loans were calculated based on the data recorded in Green Deal Advice Reports, reflecting Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation policy.

The project was funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Scottish and Southern Energy and managed in a partnership between Bristol City Council, the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Wessex Home Improvement Loans. 

Somerset West Home Energy, a project that took place in the council areas of Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset, helped three householders install solid wall insulation and three other householders install heating systems through the Affordable Warmth element of ECO. The project was funded by Scottish and Southern Energy and the Somerset West local authority partnership.


The following two hard-to-treat schemes also provided valuable learning from a delivery context. They were innovative projects, which attracted considerable interest and were absolutely crucial in developing our understanding of how to encourage, install and fund the installation of complex insulation measures:

Freedom from Fuel Poverty, funded by Bath & North East Somerset Council, focused on providing free solid wall insulation along with renewable energy (specifically solar hot water or solar PV) to people living in fuel poverty.

Somerset West Hard-to-Treat was a pilot project funded by West Somerset, Sedgemoor and Taunton Deane district councils. It gave small grants and access to low-interest, council-backed loans to owner-occupiers to make their ‘hard-to-treat’ homes warmer and cheaper to heat, through measures such as solid wall insulation (internal or external), floor insulation and complex roof insulation (e.g. beneath rafters, flat roof).

Under CERT, we ran two insulation schemes:

Warm Streets, a Somerset-wide project that completed over 12,500 loft and cavity wall insulation installations between 2008 and 2013. Warm Streets particularly targeted vulnerable households in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. The project was funded by Scottish and Southern Energy with additional householder support from all of the Local Authorities in Somerset.

Bristol Energy Efficiency Scheme insulated about 8,000 properties in the city. It was funded by Bristol City Council and a partner fuel supplier (the actual one changed periodically) and prioritised vulnerable householders, particularly elderly or disabled people.

For more information about our insulation schemes, please get in touch with Michael McClelland by email or on 0117 934 1445.