Bristol Home Energy Upgrade

A retrofit programme to trial the Green Deal

Project duration: December 2012 to March 2013

The Bristol Home Energy Upgrade, which was shortlisted for a BusinessGreen Leaders Award in April 2013, was pilot scheme to provide grants for home improvements across the city, with a focus on solid wall insulation and heating system upgrades.

The scheme, which ran between December 2012 and May 2013, achieved high levels of conversion from initial customer interest to completed improvement.

The most striking achievement was the 23 homes that received solid wall insulation through the scheme. CSE's Michael McClelland explains:

"It may not sound like many, but we're very pleased with this figure. It shows a customer demand for this type of improvement, even though it’s a complex installation and there were tight timescales for the completion of work."

The Bristol Home Energy Upgrade was managed by CSE in partnership with Bristol City Council. It was one of several initiatives across England that were funded by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in order to test the underlying principles of the Green Deal and build the local market in advance of its formal launch in early 2013.

Secretary of State Greg Barker said: “[This initiative] will enable householders to save money on their fuel bills this winter, and also allows the city council to trial aspects of the Green Deal to support its roll-out across the whole city over the coming years.”

The Bristol Home Energy Upgrade attracted a total of 422 applications, over one-third of which (157) resulted in completed jobs. Of these, 134 were for heating systems and 23 were for solid wall insulation.

Final report

You can now read the final report and analysis for Bristol Home Energy Upgrade below.

Read the final report


Case studies:

An overview of Affordable Warmth
Installation data summary 

Bristol Home Energy Upgrade in numbers:

  • Total number of applicants to the scheme = 422
  • Total completed jobs = 157
  • Conversion rate (to date) = 37%

Total number of assessments completed:

  • Energy Performance Certificates (i.e. applications submitted before 7 January 2013) = 157
  • Green Deal Assessment Reports (i.e. applications submitted after 7 January 2013) = 74

Number of heating upgrades (new boilers and heating systems) by customer type:

  • 'Able-to-pay' customers = 122
  • 'Affordable Warmth' customers = 12 (a mixture of ECO grants & DECC grants)

Solid wall insulation:

  • Homes receiving solid wall insulation (internal or external) = 23

Testing the Green Deal process
The Bristol Home Energy Upgrade (BHEU) was designed to mirror the way that the Green Deal will work, including a pilot of the Green Deal 'pay-as-you-save' finance mechanism. In brief, this was the process ...

Customers first registered an interest with CSE’s Home Energy Team, who:

  • explained the scheme in full
  • assessed the customer's potential eligibility for grants and other finance, and
  • helped the customer to contact a Green Deal Assessor who would visit the home and produce a report outlining the most suitable energy efficiency improvements for that property

(As an additional inducement, the report was offered free to the first 100 customers, and thereafter was refundable where works were installed through the Bristol Home Energy Upgrade.)

Using the information in the report, CSE's advisors calculated any grant that the customer might be eligible for. In some instances – e.g. for those customers receiving Pension Credit or income related benefits – the grant could be high enough to cover the full cost of the improvements.

Where this wasn't the case, we worked out a ‘pay-as-you-save’ finance package to cover some or all of the additional costs. This 'loan allowance' was based on the fuel bill savings that the energy efficiency improvements would make, so that repayments of the loan would be equal to or less than the savings, and so not a burden on the household.

The BHEU finance package was delivered in by Wessex Home Improvement Loans, a trusted partner who work closely with Bristol City Council to provide homeowners with finance for other home improvements and repairs.

Green Deal finance will work on the same principles.

Once in possession of the home assessment and grant/loan information, customers could then choose a Green Deal Installer and get going on the specified improvements to their home.

Successful experiment
The scheme was managed by Phillip Morris, head of CSE's Household Energy Services. "We were delighted by the positive response from householders across the city who have grasped the opportunity to upgrade their boilers or install solid wall insulation.

"The project has not been without its challenges.The timescales were very tight, and there was not enough capacity from local tradespeople accredited under the Green Deal to meet demand in the early stages of the project. However, it has been a successful experiment and a great opportunity to put the theory of the Green Deal into practice."