‘Green’ home improvements

January 2022 By Corrina Jones, MRICS and Michael Chichester, MRICS

green home improvements

Heating our homes makes up about 14% of the UK’s carbon emissions, according to the Committee on Climate Change. And to help meet the country’s ambitions to meet net zero by 2050, the Government is encouraging us all to take action to decarbonise our heating systems, move over to green renewable technology and energy and improve the fabric of our homes so that we use less energy.

eco-friendly home improvements

Energy-efficiency improvements can reduce energy bills, provide increased comfort in the home and help fight climate change.

The top eco-friendly home improvements you could consider installing to make your home greener are:

  • Solar panels
  • Heat pumps
  • Insulation
  • Smart thermostats
  • Double glazing

What will all this cost?

Costs for the above home improvements vary across the county, but on average you can look to pay anywhere between £5,000-£8,000 for a Photovoltaic (PV) system and £4,000- £5,000 for a solar thermal panel system.

On average, the supply and installation of an air source heat pump will cost in the region of £3,000-£18,000. Air-to-water is the more expensive option, costing an average of £13,000 for supply and installation. Air-to-air heat pumps are the cheaper option and cost approximately £3,100 for supply and installation but they will not produce hot water. Ground source heat pumps can cost anywhere between £13,000 and £35,000 to install.

When it comes to insulation, loft and pipe insulation is a relatively cheap option and very effective at making homes warmer. It would cost about £500 to insulate the attic of an average three-bedroom semi-detached house but you could pay up to £17,500 to add external insulation to a detached property.

You can buy a smart thermostat for between £120 and £220 depending on the model you want, and double-glazing costs will depend on the number of windows you have. For a home with eight windows and two uPVC doors, the average cost will be £4,000-£5,000. Triple-glazing will cost slightly more, but triple-glazed windows are approximately 40% more thermally efficient than double-glazed units.


What are the funding options?

The options for a homeowner looking to funding green home improvements include:

  • Self-funding
  • Grants
  • A combination of self-funding and grants

Understanding grants

You may be eligible for help to make your home more energy-efficient.

The following grants are available in the UK for installing low-carbon and clean-energy technologies:

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

RHI is a scheme designed to help and incentivise homes that make use of renewable energy heating systems such as heat pumps and solar heating. It could earn you a quarterly payment for a period of seven years. If you’ve installed renewable heating technology, you could be eligible to apply for RHI . The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (DRHI) in Great Britain will close to new applicants on 31 March 2022.

Clean Heat Grant

The Clean Heat Grant is a UK Government-run scheme to help homeowners transition to low-carbon heating systems to heat their homes. It will cover part of the cost of installing heat pumps or biomass boilers. The scheme will come into effect from April 2022 and is expected to replace the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) when it ends in March 2022. Vouchers of £5,000 or £7,000 will be available depending on the type of installation.

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

The Smart Export Guarantee incentivises homeowners to install renewable energy technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines to generate electricity and heat their homes. With SEG, you can sell any surplus energy generated back to the grid and earn money.

Find out which technologies are eligible here: Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) – Generators | Ofgem.

Suppliers have to offer you a tariff, but they can decide what sort of tariff they offer so it is best to shop around. The Solar Trade Association provides a comparison league table of the best SEG tariffs available Smart Export Guarantee • Solar Energy UK

Energy Company Obligation (ECO)

The ECO is a Government energy-efficiency initiative to lower carbon emissions by supporting low income and vulnerable households to heat their homes. Energy suppliers fund the installation of energy-efficiency measures such as insulation and new heating measures. You will be eligible for ECO if you receive a qualifying benefit.

Find out if you are eligible here: Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – Support for improving your home | Ofgem.

VAT Reduction

With this scheme, certain households can get a 5% tax reduction under the new VAT
pricing system for the installation of energy-saving technologies such as insulation, solar panels and heat pumps. To qualify, you must be over 60 and in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

Click here for further information Tax on shopping and services: VAT on energy-saving products – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

You can find out more about the grants available from the UK Government here: Find energy grants and ways to save energy in your home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) me newsletters are created as money-making ventures and sold directly to subscribers. Sending newsletters to customers and prospects is a common marketing strategy, which can have benefits and drawbacks. Public organisations emit newsletters in order to improve or maintain their reputation in society. General attributes of newsletters include news and upcoming events of the related organisation, as well as contact information. According to Wikipedia, a newsletter is a regularly distributed publication.

Regional arrangements

As well as national grants, the devolved nations also offer regional assistance:


The Welsh Government offers NEST, providing a range of free, impartial advice and if you are eligible, a package of free home energy-efficiency improvements such as a new boiler, central heating, or insulation. To qualify, you must be in receipt of a means-tested benefit or qualify under certain health criteria. Check your eligibility here: Nest | Eligibility (gov.wales)

The Arbed scheme offers energy-efficiency improvements in targeted locations. Your local authority will contact you if your property is in one of these areas.


Local authorities will be able to access the Home Upgrade Grant to support low-income households to upgrade their properties. The funding aims to support the installation of multiple measures to improve the energy efficiency of properties.


Home Energy Scotland helps homeowners who live in Scotland and you can find out what assistance is available here: Funding Finder – Home Energy Scotland HUB (est.org.uk)

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, we’d recommend contacting NI Energy Advice for signposting to applicable available grants Energy saving grants in your area | nidirect

Finally, the Government-endorsed website Simple Energy Advice has a search option for finding localised grants which is helpful as a first port of call: Home energy grants — Simple Energy Advice