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There are several retrofit measures you can make to your home to get it ready for a zero carbon future.

Changing your heating system 

Most homes in Islington are heated by gas boilers, which generate high levels of carbon emissions. One of the best zero carbon options is switching to electric-based heating and installing a heat pump. This may be an air source heat pump, which absorbs heat from the outside air to heat your home and hot water, or, if you have space in your garden to install one, a ground source heat pump.

There are many different types of heat pumps that can help to reduce your bills. The Government currently runs the Boiler Upgrade Scheme which provides financial support to people installing heat pumps.  Some homeowners may qualify for a heat pump under the Connected for Warmth scheme.  You can also look into the Home Upgrade Grant Phase 2 to find out if you qualify for funded energy upgrades to your property, including low carbon heating.


One of the most effective ways to reduce your energy use for heating is to insulate your home. If you want to install a heat pump, it’s also important to make sure your home is well insulated, as heat pumps operate most efficiently with well-insulated buildings:

  • Loft or roof insulation – it’s recommended that you have at least 270mm (10 inches) of loft insulation, so it’s worth checking whether you can top up your current insulation levels. If you insulate a loft that has no existing insulation you could save up to £180. If you top up existing insulation by over 150mm, you could save £25 a year.  If you are a homeowner or privately rented property and in council tax bands A to D, you could qualify for free loft insulation through the Connected for Warmth scheme.  You may also be able to get free or cheaper insulation through the Great British Insulation Scheme if your home has an energy performance certificate of D to G.
  • Cavity wall insulation – most homes built after 1930 have cavity walls, which is a gap between the inside and outside walls. Insulation can be pumped into the cavity, making your home instantly warmer and saving you money on your bills. Contact your energy supplier to see if you qualify for free insulation measures.
  • Solid wall insulation – if your home was built before 1920, you probably have solid walls – just a double layer of bricks with no cavity. Solid wall insulation can be installed either externally or internally. External wall insulation is usually more effective and is also less disruptive than having it installed internally; however, you are likely to need planning permission.
  • Underfloor insulation – if the ground floor of your home has a suspended wooden floor with a gap beneath it, you can have insulation installed underneath the flooring to reduce heat loss and keep your floor warmer. Insulation can be sprayed on the underneath of your floorboards by remote-controlled robots. 

Other measures

As well as changing your heating system and insulating in your home, there are a few other measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient:

  • Upgrade your windows to double or triple glazing, or if your home has restrictions on what can be done, consider secondary glazing
  • Upgrade your external doors to well-insulated and well-fitting ones to reduce heat loss and eliminate draughts
  • Install solar panels

You might be able to get help for energy-saving improvements to your home if you claim certain benefits and live in private housing (for example if you own your home or rent from a private landlord). See if you are eligible for the Energy Company Obligation scheme.  If so, please apply through SHINE at Islington council.

Help to create a low carbon home

Knowing where to start on creating a low carbon home can be difficult, as can finding a trustworthy installer.

You can get recommendations for home improvements via the Government energy efficiency website.  You'll need to enter some details of the property and the website will help you to find solutions to making your home more energy efficient.  You can ask for a report to be sent to you for future.

You can use Ecofurb, an end-to-end retrofit scheme. Their free online Plan Builder contains details of all properties in Islington and recommends measures you can take for your home, as well as providing estimates for costs and savings. Ecofurb also offers residents the opportunity to have a dedicated retrofit coordinator who will help organise the works needed and sort out the installers.

You can also get advice on local planning requirements at Islington Planning and Building Control Guidelines. We have also produced a Permitted Development Guide for residents explaining when planning permission would be required for retrofit works.