Affordable Warmth Scheme

The Affordable Warmth Scheme addresses the effects of fuel poverty and energy inefficiency. The scheme is directed at low income households.

It is a targeted scheme aimed at those areas where levels of fuel poverty are highest. 

The scheme may be available to you if you:

  • live in Northern Ireland
  • own and occupy your property as your main home
  • have your day / life interest in the house
  • rent from a private landlord, and
  • have a total annual gross income of less than £23,000

It is not available for tenants living in social housing; you are not eligible if you are a Housing Executive or housing association tenant. 

The Scheme provides grant aid to improve energy efficiency measures within your home.  

The property must not be a

  • holiday home
  • bed & breakfast
  • commercial establishment

We work with local Councils to deliver the Scheme throughout Northern Ireland. 

Grants are subject to the availability of funding.

Council staff will visit homes in their area. They will help householders to take part in the scheme.

Council staff will:

  • make contact with households likely affected by fuel poverty

  • check eligibility

  • advise on available energy efficiency measures

  • ask residents to complete an application form

  • send completed application forms to us and, if necessary

  • contact the Social Security Agency (SSA) to request a Benefit Entitlement Check* for the householder

*You can also check this entitlement by using SSA's:

Speak to your local council to see if you might qualify for help.

You can find contact details for councils in Northern Ireland from NI Direct at:

Our Technical Officer will arrange to visit your home. They will assess what energy efficiency measures would be suitable for your property.

During the visit they will assess if those measures offered by the scheme (see below) are required.

The technical assessment may take up to 60 minutes. The time taken depends on your property’s size, type, location and application needs.

Our Technical Officer may need access to all areas and rooms. This may include:

  • bedrooms

  • hot press

  • roof space

  • boiler location

  • oil tank location

If you have cavity walls in your home, we may have to drill a number of small holes in the outside walls to insert a camera.

This lets us identify the property’s cavity walls and insulation needs. This is called a "borescope inspection".

We will need your permission to carry out this assessment of your cavity wall. You must provide a signature to confirm this.

These inspections may be affected by issues with access and safe working practices.

Subject to funding being available and you qualifying for help you will be sent an ‘Approval Pack’.

This approval confirms:

  • how much grant aid you will get
  • what energy efficiency measures you are to carry out and the order of priority (see below)
  • that you can start the work
  • the date by which you must complete the work

You must not start work until you receive confirmation, in writing, that you qualify for grant-aid.

We will not pay for any work started or finished in your home before you receive written permission for it.

Our approval of application will tell you what measures your property qualifies for and explain how much grant-aid you will receive

We usually expect you to complete grant-aid work within three months of the date of approval.

We may cancel the grant if the work is not completed within the timescale given.

Your circumstances may change - such as your income, tenancy, or property ownership. This may affect your eligibility if we have awarded you grand-aid.

You must tell us as soon as a change has occurred.

If you qualify for help, the Scheme offers a range of energy efficiency measures. These must be completed in the order of priority given.

Priority 1 – Insulation / Ventilation / Draught-proofing

  • installation or topping up of loft insulation to 300mm
  • roof/loft/eaves ventilation
  • providing a hot water cylinder jacket
  • providing cavity wall insulation (if suitable for the property)
  • draught proofing doors and/or windows
  • removal and replacement of ineffective cavity wall insulation

Priority 2 – Heating

  • replace solid fuel, LPG or Economy 7  by providing natural gas or oil central heating
  • converting Economy 7 to high efficiency electrical storage system:
    • this applies only where gas and oil are not available
  • boiler replacement / system upgrade for homes.
    • This applies where with a boiler at least 15 years old and the householder:
      • is over 65
      • has a child in receipt of child benefit or Kinship payments
      • receives disability living allowance (DLA) / Personal Independence Payment (PIP) / Attendance Allowance/Industrial Injuries Benefit

Priority 3 - Windows

  • replace single glazed windows

Priority 4 – Solid Wall Measures

  • provide solid wall insulation

Insulating solid wall properties is expensive. So we will expect you to complete the other measures first.

We may offer you energy efficiency measures from more than one of the priority groups listed; this scheme should not be considered ‘windows only’.  

A whole house approach is taken and you must complete each measure in the order of priority.

You may decide not to carry out one or more of the energy efficiency measures we awarded grant-aid for. You must tell us this in writing. 

You cannot move grant monies to another measure(s).  You will lose this part of the grant-aid awarded.

You may receive up to £7,500 through the Affordable Warmth Scheme. The grant will depend on the energy efficiency measures our Technical Officer recommends.

Your home may be of solid wall construction and it may need insulation. In these cases we may pay grant-aid up to £10,000.

You should not have to contribute to the work agreed through the Scheme. 

Your contractor may give you an estimate that is higher than the grant-aid amount we give you. You should then get estimates for the work from other local builders or contractors. We recommend at least three.  This will help you complete the work at the best price possible.

Your contractor may tell you that you need extra work. You must explain the reasons for this and send us details of the work.

You must provide this information before you start any work.

The Grants Office will consider the request and in some cases may agree to pay for the extra items of work.  But, if they do not and you still wish to go ahead you must pay the difference.

You should also contact the Housing Executive if you’re finding it difficult to get the work done.

It is your responsibility to appoint a contractor(s) you believe is competent to carry out the work at your home.

You and your contractor(s) must ensure that all work carried out in your home follows:

  • all building regulations and
  • any other statutory requirements

You may have concerns about the standard of work to your property. Or damage may occur to your home while the work is being carried out. You should raise your concerns with your contractor(s). 

We are not responsible for contractors. You employ the contractors.

You may be installing or replacing a central heating system in your home. You must make sure that you are using a competent installer.

Where you are having a gas boiler installed you must use a registered Gas Safe Engineer.

NI Direct have more information about the Gas Safe Register. You can read more about this at:

If you are awarded grant-aid for solid wall insulation the installer you employ must be in a position to provide a minimum 25-year guarantee for the work.

You may rent your property from a private landlord and qualify for help through the Scheme. But your landlord must:

  • agree to the energy efficiency measures being carried out
  • be registered with the Department for Communities' Landlord Registration Scheme* and
  • pay 50% of the total cost of the energy efficiency measures to improve their property.

*NI Direct has more information about the Landlord Registration Scheme. You can read more about this at:

Boiler Replacement Scheme