Help with finance and Finding Installers

Useful links

Cambridge City Council Information on grants etc for energy efficiency and low carbon heating for low income households (not necessarily on benefits.)

PECT website PECT offers friendly and helpful services to individual households

Trustmark website Advice and to locate certified advisers and installers

Simple Energy Advice Government endorsed advice.

Open Eco Homes Local advice from Cambridge Carbon Footprint, with details of events and tours coming up, seminars and the case study archive.

Big jobs cost money and you will probably need to find an installer to do the work as well. This page has some advice and links to other resources to help you.

Help with bills and general advice

Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) was formed in 1993 and has been an independent charity since 2012. They offer a range of services to individual households in Cambridge City, Fenland, Huntingdonshire and East Cambs including support with:

  • Fuel debt relief and emergency fuel top up (subject to limit and eligibility)
  • Problem solving with your energy supplier
  • Energy saving tips and advice
  • Solutions to damp and condensation
  • Switching supplier
  • Accessing local grants that you may be eligible for

To access this support please call 0800 8021773 or complete the referral form

Making a plan

Before you do anything significant to your home it makes sense to have a reasonably long term plan. Otherwise you may find yourself undoing some or all of what you have already done at a later stage, or missing opportunities. For example, if you need to replace windows and you intend to install external wall insulation make sure that you do the windows first, or better still at the same time.

Also, most changes carry an element of risk and some combinations of changes have additional risks. To get an idea of how complex this can be: see this interaction matrix from the National Housing Maintenance Forum.

To help you plan, most people need advice. In the past it was common for installers to sell energy efficiency measures piecemeal, without considering a whole house approach or attention to detail. This sometimes lead to problems with damp, mechanical failures (bits falling off!) or simply failing to achieve the expected efficiency savings. As a result, a new standard has been devised for professionals to follow and a certification scheme called Trustmark. We recommend you take a look at the Trustmark website here.

The new standard (called PAS 2035) requires that each project has a professional retrofit coordinator. Their job is to (amongst other things):

  • understand your requirements and priorities
  • help you make a realistic plan that takes a whole house approach
  • check to see if there is any repair work needed in advance
  • check to see if additional surveys are needed, or if there are any special issues with the site
  • ensure that the project is executed by people with an appropriate level of expertise

You can find out more about the background to this scheme from the British Standards Institute.

The trust mark site has a page to help you find retrofit coordinators but not everyone trained in PAS 2035 is listed there.

There are ballpark costs for the service on Check a trade. These charges do not include design work that may be needed for some jobs. For example solid wall insulation often needs design work for how to handle windows, doors, eaves and the wall/floor junction. For this you need a retrofit designer - who may or may not be the same person.

Grants and subsidies

At the moment the main sources of grants and subsidy are:

  • Boiler upgrade scheme provides 7,500 subsidy for heat pumps.
  • Great British Insulation Scheme (also called ECO+) provides subsidies for single measures. All types of insulation are in scope including solid wall insulation - though this may not be fully funded. To qualify you have to either be on a means tested benefit or have EPC rating D-G and council tax band A-D.
  • Your local council may have access to central government funding for energy efficiency programs - see here for Cambridge Currently (Dec 2022) there are grants available for energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating for people on low incomes or on benefits with and EPC of E or below, or in some cases D.
  • Simple Energy Advice has additional information on grants towards energy efficiency measures and renewable energy at the local and national level.

Checking costs

The government publishes some figures for costs for renewable energy systems and there are also some reasonably objective sources for costs online. You might find these useful.

Finding installers

Finding reliable installers who understand what you need to do is very important. Your retrofit coordinator will help if you have one. In addition:

Heat pump installers

As well as the installers mentioned in the Open Eco Homes resources, we suggest you look at Heat Geek and their certification scheme - see Heat Geek certified installers There are not many in this area but the number is increasing. Beware some of these are for gas boilers, not heat pumps.

In addition, we have had recommendations (but no guarantees) for these heat pump installers:

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