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We’ve provided answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions about energy efficiency, retrofitting and money saving measures you can do at home

Questions and answers

Questions and answers

Have a question? We’ve provided answers below to some of the most commonly-asked questions about energy efficiency, retrofitting and money saving measures you can do at home.

What is retrofitting?

Retrofitting is adding measures and systems to your home that were not there when it was first built. This could mean altering your property to improve its energy efficiency through measures such as insulation, draft proofing or double/triple glazed windows.

What are the benefits of retrofitting my property?

Retrofitting your home has a wide range of benefits. Depending on the measure, you can significantly cut your energy bills. It will also make your home a more comfortable and warmer place to live and can help reduce your carbon footprint.

How do I save money on my energy bills?

There are many things you can do to save money on your energy bills. Our free to do and low cost measures pages contain advice on what you can do for free or a small amount of money. Our bigger changes page goes into more detail on the larger scale measures you can implement to save money. Finally, check out our financial assistance page for more information on what help is available and what you could apply for.

What is an EPC

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a review of your home’s current level of energy efficiency – from the type of walls you have, to how your home is heated. EPCs produce a rating from A to G based on how well your home is insulated, how cost-effective and how environmentally friendly your heating system is.

An EPC will also provide a list of recommendations that could be taken to improve your home’s score. Since 2008, all property sales and leases require an up-to-date EPC. Find out if your home has an EPC by visiting the UK Government website.

You can learn more about EPCs by getting in contact with the Centre for Sustainable Energy’s home energy advice service.

How do I know if I am eligible for grant funding?

The Centre for Sustainable Energy or Somerset Council’s Housing team will be able to help you determine what financial assistance you are eligible for. Visit our financial assistance page to find out more.

How do I go about finding a contractor to do the work?

The Somerset Green Directory will help you find local businesses and services to support you with your retrofit project.  The Centre for Sustainable Energy and TrustMark can also assist in finding someone to carry out the works in an environmentally friendly manner, thanks to their approved list of contractors which you can search for depending on the retrofit measure you’re interested in.

What can I do if I am renting my property?

There’s plenty of support available for landlords and tenants. If you’re renting, speak to your landlord and get them to contact either the Centre for Sustainable Energy or our Housing team.

From 2025, it’s anticipated that newly rented properties will need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least C. All existing tenancies will have until 2028 to make these changes.

How long will the work take?

This will depend on what work you’re having done. Simple, quick measures can be done in minutes or hours. Larger retrofitting measures (such as External Wall Insulation (EWI)) could take between three and four weeks. It’s best to check with your installer on the estimated time frame for the works you’re interested in.

How much money could I save?

This depends on the measures you choose, as well as on current energy prices. Low cost measures will deliver smaller savings, however multiple changes can add up quickly. Larger measures will have a bigger impact on your energy bills but require a larger upfront investment. We recommend insulating your home first and then looking at other measures from there. With prices for energy on the rise, the potential savings are only getting bigger.

Will I have to pay anything towards these measures?

If you’re eligible for the grants available, you shouldn’t need to pay anything. If there’s any requirement for you to invest any money, this will be made clear before applying for any funding. In some cases where you need to make a contribution, top-up grants are available to cover this.

Contact the Centre for Sustainable Energy to find out more.

What kind of measures can I get with grant funding?

The measures depend on the grant you apply for. In general, grants will cover installing insulation for lofts, external, internal or cavity walls. Grants could also cover the cost of providing and installing heat pumps and installing solar panels to offset your home’s electrical consumption.

What is the goal of grants?

The goal of grants is to improve the insulation and the energy efficiency of your home. This is measured through your EPC rating and we aim to help improve this as much as possible with the funding available to reduce your bills.

Why have I been contacted about this scheme?

Somerset Council has identified households who could benefit the most from a reduction in their energy bills. From this, we have reached out to these residents to let them know what help and support is available. If you know anyone else that may benefit from the grants, please do share this information with them.

If I were to have a new heating system installed, how would I know how to operate it?

You’ll be provided with a user guide for the system and instructions in person to demonstrate how the systems operate. Any manuals will also be provided as part of a handover pack.

What does ‘decarbonisation’ mean?

Decarbonisation is the reduction in the carbon intensity or ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions of an activity. In the case of houses, this means the reduction in the emissions of your home through reducing the amount of energy you use to heat and power your home.

What is PAS 2035?

PAS 2035 is a standard set by the UK Government that contractors must be accredited to when completing retrofit works as part of any grant funded programme. It takes the whole building into account to ensure that the works are designed and carried out to the correct standard and don’t cause any harm to your home.

PAS 2035 and PAS 2030 are closely aligned. PAS 2030: 2019 is a certification for installers of energy measures to show that they have installed energy measures in line with the required specification and standards.

For more information on retrofitting guidelines including PAS 2035, visit the Trustmark website.

What if I live in a listed building and/or conservation area?

There are many listed buildings and localised conservation areas in Somerset that may place restrictions on work that can be completed. Whereas the restrictions do not necessarily prevent retrofitting measures, they need to be considered in keeping with the individual characteristics of the building, especially when dealing with solid walls and avoiding concerns with breathability and damp which could significantly affect the historic fabric of the building as well as the people living inside.

Somerset Council has produced a Planning Guide to Installing Renewable Energy on Domestic Premises, providing advice to property owners considering making improvements. Historic England also provides detailed guidance and information on retrofitting historic buildings.

More information on conservation areas can be found here: Conservation Areas

Where I can I get further help and advice?

The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is supported by Somerset Council and provides a free home energy advice line to people across Somerset. The CSE provides expert help on energy efficiency improvements, improving heating, lowering fuel bills and financial assistance that’s available. You can get in touch with them by emailing, or by calling 0800 038 5730. Alternatively, you can visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy website for more information.

Last reviewed: September 1, 2023 by Daniel

Next review due: March 1, 2024

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