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Saving Energy in Europe: 15 Good Practice Case Studies - Financial Initiatives for Buildings: Warm Front Scheme, England

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The EEB has compiled a great showcase of different good practice case studies that will hopefully inspire similar projects all over Europe. In order to achieve our energy saving goals and reap the benefits that they offer, we can no longer afford to see these good practice schemes as isolated cases - as the ‘select exemplary few’. These case studies should be replicated, expanded, developed and deepened so that these approaches become the norm, every day practice - not the alternative. This Good Practise Case Study demonstrates how energy saving incentives/schemes introduced at different levels (state, borough, city etc.) can result in reduced energy use.


Aims and Objectives:   This Government scheme is targeted at combating fuel poverty inthe privately owned and rented property sector in England. It aims to make homes warmer, healthier and more energy efficient. The scheme consists of a grant developed as part of the UK’s Fuel Poverty Strategy (published in November 2001) through which up to £3,500 (€4107) is given per applicant for housing improvements related to insulation and heating.

Implementation Timeframe:

The scheme started in 2000 and ran until December 2010 when it was suspended. It reopened on 14 April 2011.

How it Works: 

The householder has first to apply for a grant. To be eligible to apply the applicant has to have a privately owned home or a rented household from a private landlord. The applicant also has to be over 60 and in receipt of certain state benefits or have a child under 16 or in receipt of state benefits.  After applying, a technical surveyor/assessor visits the household and assesses the condition of the boiler, central heating and insulation systems.  The householders select from a list of local registered installers accredited under the scheme for the improvement works to be carried out. The scheme is funded by the Government and managed through Eaga, an outsourcing company, which regularly checks that the installations (boilers, insulation, etc.) are of the required quality.


In terms of energy efficiency the results have been exceptional and on average in 2008/2009 each household saved between 5.2 and 6.6 tonnes of CO2 per year. Since the start of the scheme 1,950,437 households have been improved. In 12 months alone, between 2008 and 2009, 233,594 households received help from the scheme. Each of these households has the potential of saving £362.23 (€425.07) in energy bills each year. The maximum amount of money saved by one household has topped £700 (€821) per year. Calculating all the yearly savings, an estimate of around 3611kWh savings per household can be saved each year for the coming 20 years. 86% of the customers have been very satisfied with the scheme.

Key Benefits:

Number of households affected:  233,594

Tonnes of CO2 p.a reduced:  6.6 to 5.2


For further details and elaboration on any of the issues touched upon in this case study, please contact the European Environmental Bureau, by clicking here.

Contact information for UK Warm Front scheme, click here.


Author(s) information


The European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

Lessons learnt

A study by EuroAce reveals that schemes delivered by agencies other than central governments can be equally effective. In Europe an estimated 50 to 125 million people might be suffering from energy poverty. The Warm Front Scheme shows that grants for energy efficiency improvements in housing can bring relief to residents who are energy poor. However, the criteria for eligibility in the scheme have been shown to exclude some who are in fuel poverty.16 Therefore for future schemes the criteria of participation should be considered very carefully. In order to overcome this, and to help alleviate and eradicate fuel poverty, EU funding directed to energy efficiency schemes in Member States should contain a clause to encourage part of that funding to be targeted at renovations in homes of the fuel poor. The Energy Efficiency Plan (2011) Impact Assessment17 suggests that the energy efficiency improvements among the customers of the utility companies should require a given proportion of improvements to be targeted at ‘energy poor’ households. An important and urgent first step is to establish a common definition of ‘energy poverty’ in the EU, i.e. what it means to be energy poor.

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