The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is an energy efficiency programme that was introduced into Great Britain at the beginning of 2013.

What is the ECO?

ECO places legal obligations and targets on the larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic energy users.

It is in place to support retrofit efficiency works in the domestic sector, with a particular focus on vulnerable consumer groups and hard-to-treat homes.

Under the rules of ECO, energy suppliers are obliged to help improve the energy efficiency of their domestic customers’ buildings in three distinct areas; Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO), Community Obligation (CSCO), and Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHRCO).


Under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO), energy companies must concentrate efforts on hard-to-treat homes.

Solid wall insulation and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation, and connections to heat networks (also known as district heating systems), are the primary areas for focus under this target.


Under the Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO), energy companies must focus on the provision of insulation measures and connections to domestic heat networks (district heating) in areas of low income.

There are sub-targets for rural and deprived areas. Because the criteria for these sub-targets are harder to meet energy suppliers are especially keen to look at projects within these categories.


Under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHRCO), energy suppliers are required to provide measures which improve the ability of low income and vulnerable households (the ‘Affordable Warmth Group’) to heat their homes. This includes actions that result in heating savings, such as the replacement or repair of a boiler for example.

Social housing providers are not eligible under the HHRCO element of ECO.

Related Content

Heat Networks

Kensa’s innovative approach to communal heating allows social landlords and developers to realise the full potential of ground source heat pumps and receive Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments in both new builds and existing housing stock, without the drawbacks of traditional district heating systems.

The Non-Domestic RHI

The purpose of the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is to compensate for the cost of installing ground source heat pumps in commercial applications, providing a long term rate of return and fast payback for business owners, developers and social housing providers.

Blog: Innovative solutions for renewable heat: Making the most of ECO & RHI

Fuel poverty is high on the agenda for most Housing Associations, particularly those with homes in rural areas;  yet finding affordable, efficient, and long-lasting solutions can be a challenge. The recently launched “domestic” stream of the RHI has proven unappealing to many social housing providers, however Kensa has developed an innovative solution adopting ground source…

News: EDF Energy funds energy efficiency scheme with Kensa Heat Pumps

EDF Energy has signed an agreement with UK-based ground source heat pump manufacturer and installer Kensa Heat Pumps to fund vital energy saving measures for social housing providers and their residents. The industry first commitment sees a unique partnership that will provide funding support to housing associations and other registered social landlords across the UK…

News: Kensa Heat Pumps & EDF Energy award-winning partnership cuts bills by £25,000

A unique partnership between EDF Energy and Kensa Heat Pumps has won a major National award following the reduction of 75 homes’ annual energy bills by 50% and CO2 emissions by 65%, in just 18 months.

News: Coastline & Kensa Deliver ‘Best Renewable Energy Scheme of the Year’

Cornish manufacturer Kensa Heat Pumps and Coastline Housing have received industry acclaim with an award for their recent renewable heating upgrade project in Constantine, the first of its kind in Cornwall.