Making energy-efficiency home improvements can be a big investment and it may be hard to know where to start. Herefordshire Council is working with climate-action charity Severn Wye Energy Agency to provide local residents with practical help with their energy costs through the Home Upgrade Grant scheme – reducing their carbon footprint in the process.

Herefordshire residents John and Kay Coles received free energy advice and home improvements worth over £14,000 and would encourage anyone with a cold home and high energy bills to apply.

Available until March 2025, this government-funded grant provides access to energy-saving home improvements for low-income households who:

1. Live in Herefordshire.

2. Have no mains gas heating in their home.

3. Live in an inefficient home, with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of D, E, F or G.

4. Have a total household income of under £36,000 per year or are in receipt of means-tested benefits.

Since January 2021, Severn Wye has supported 186 households to access the grant and seen over 400 energy efficiency home improvements installed as a result.

Mrs & Mrs Coles had already put in loft insulation and upgraded their radiators but their 1800s stone cottage was still proving hard to heat and the cost of running their oil-fired boiler left little money for further improvements.

‘Our initial interest was to get an up-to-date energy performance certificate and a property survey to see what was possible,’ says Kay. ‘As the upgrade grant seemed to offer these we decided to apply and were delighted to be accepted onto the scheme.’

One of Severn Wye’s home energy experts carried out their EPC survey, then a thorough evaluation was completed to advise which energy upgrade measures would work best for the Coles’ cottage. Their south-facing roof was ideal for solar panels, and cavity wall insulation for newer parts of the property as well as a doubling of their existing loft insulation were all suggested as measures that would substantially reduce the couple’s fuel use and carbon footprint.

‘In the first few days following the install we already noticed the difference in warmth in the house, continues Kay. ‘In two dull days at the beginning of spring we halved our electricity use, and as the days lengthen the solar panels will make a substantial reduction in our energy use.’

Mr and Mrs Coles are already seeing cost savings and greater comfort and have been recommending the Home Upgrade Grant scheme to their neighbours. Four more households in their road are already benefiting from measures funded by HUG – perhaps you or someone you know could too? To check your eligibility for the Home Upgrade Grant, visit -> Home Upgrade Grant – Severn Wye to complete the online form.