We’ve put together some frequently asked questions to help you work out if your application will be eligible. If you’re still unsure if your community or project meets the required criteria, please get in touch with your local development officer.
Organisations that are unincorporated may also apply, but must provide the following.
- A minute of a board/general meeting approving their intention to apply for CARES funding. This must be submitted with the funding application form.
- A completed CARES declaration confirming that any liability risks are understood related to the organisations unincorporated status. We will give you a declaration form to complete if your funding application is approved.
If you are unsure as to whether your community group is incorporated or not, visit the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)’s website.
In most cases you will need to install additional radiators and increase the size of existing radiators to ensure that the heat pump works effectively. Your Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) contractor will calculate the heat emitter requirements as part of the design and these costs which are part of the heat pump installation can be grant funded. In most cases, it is expected that CARES will fund additional and larger radiators as these will be more cost effective.
Underfloor heating works very well with heat pumps and will be considered for CARES funding where it is cost effective to install and is a minority portion of the overall costs.
All renewable energy and energy storage installations funded by CARES through the community buildings fund must use an MCS-certified installer. MCS is targeted at micro-renewables and whilst some systems installed with funding from the community building fund might require systems larger than the micro-definition, we still require applicants to use an installer which focuses professionally on installing renewable installations and is MCS certified.
For maximum protection we would recommend that you use MCS-accredited products, and this will be required where there are sufficient suitable products available that are MCS accredited. We are aware that might be exceptions to this. For example:
- there are currently very few accredited air-to-air heat pumps which means an exception can be requested on a case-by-case basis. This will require an explanation by the manufacturer as to why the product isn’t accredited through MCS. It will also require your contractor to set out why the product is the most suitable for your project and address the issues of cost, efficiency and carbon savings in relation to that project.
- larger heat pumps (greater than 45kWth) may not be accredited through MCS.
Where CARES funding is limited, we will prioritise funds to be used for retrofitting existing buildings.
Improvements which are required to meet the building regulations or other required standards, are not eligible for CARES funding because you are required to meet these standards.
CARES can fund measures that exceed all regulatory requirements, but it is the responsibility of the applicant’s professional design team to have a robust method that shows the extra measures going beyond any regulatory requirements and explains the rationale for these. They must also have a method to evidence costs related to the difference between compliant installations and the additional measures – ie be listed on a bill of quantities or verified by the design team etc.
Where your project is part of a larger renovation or new build, you are likely to be supported by a design team of professional advisors, for example an architect, M&E consultant, Structural & Civil Engineer, Quantity Surveyor and/or Project Manager.
Your design team will help manage the project for you including choice of sustainability measures, procurement, quality monitoring and signing off on claims and invoices. Where possible, we are keen to align with the processes you have in place to maximise efficiencies, but we need to ensure there is robust evidence to support CARES-funded activity.
- Measure choice evidence – applicants must be able to show a clear rationale for the choice and scale of technology supported through CARES. Written advice from one of the project’s professional advisors confirming the rationale for the technology choice can meet this requirement. We would expect this advice to be from a professional advisor, for example your architect, who should be able to confirm suitability of measures within buildings they are responsible for. We’d expect your professional advisor to be a member of a professional body (ie RIAS, CIBSE) and to hold professional indemnity insurance.
- Procurement – your design team may manage the tender process. Subject to Local Energy Scotland approval, this is acceptable, but you must provide details of the tendering process including the contractors invited to bid or details of where the tender was advertised and the rational for contractor choice.
- Main contractor – the low carbon measures funded by CARES may be part of the main contract. This is acceptable, but at a minimum you must evidence that the contractors or subcontractors have been appropriately procured by your main contractor and, where required, are MCS-certified. We will need to see a schedule of priced works, or bill of quantities, that shows the budget costs allocated to CARES funding and you’ll need to set out your valuation process that approves contractor claims submitted.
We are keen that CARES funding makes the biggest environmental and financial impacts possible. This is achieved though reducing the amount of energy used in the building. If the building is only used once a week or is closed for long periods of the year, these benefits will be reduced.
CARES will not fund buildings that do not have good utilisation rates, and this will be assessed as part of our review of your application. Further guidance will be added soon which indicates minimum usage levels. Current assessments will be made on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of Local Energy Scotland.
Corrosion protection in coastal areas must be added for air source heat pumps that are on islands or are situated 1km or less from the coast. This requirement must be stated in your request for quotes.
CARES is designed to support communities and charities to decarbonise their buildings. For larger organisations with multiple buildings across a region or the country, there may be a more strategic approach to decarbonising your portfolio of buildings. You can, however, apply to CARES for up to three individual buildings to develop your approach. You must complete a separate application for each site. Individual charities will be treated as such for the purposes of the call and will also be limited to three applications for three individual buildings.
Large historic buildings that are hard to insulate and are only used a few times a week are unlikely to suit typical heat pump solutions. A higher temperature or warm air heating may provide a more responsive solution, especially where the ambition is to ensure building users are comfortable rather than heating the building fabric.
A report from Business Energy Scotland might help to understand the best solutions available.
We also recommend contacting Historic Environment Scotland for further advice, as they have detailed information tailored towards hard-to-treat buildings.
It’s unlikely that buildings of this type will be a good fit for CARES funding which prioritises heat pumps and funding buildings that have high utilisation rates.
Funding should only be requested where the project could not proceed as planned without support from CARES. Please note that 80% funding is only available for those who can demonstrate need. If you have already earmarked funds for energy efficiency upgrades, have your own resources, or can access funds from elsewhere (for example, from community benefit funds), you should only apply for the amount you require from CARES to progress your project.
This will allow as many projects as possible to be supported it is hoped applicants will only apply for what they need. However, Local Energy Scotland reserves the right to request additional information and to reject applications where need is not demonstrated.
Yes. Because you already meet the heating requirement, you can apply for funding to install the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and the add-on measure of LED lightbulbs. Both should be recommended in the evidence you supply with your application form.
No. Because your project does not meet the heating requirement, we cannot provide funding support. If your organisation qualifies, we suggest that you contact Business Energy Scotland for advice as they may be able to provide financial support through the Scottish Government’s SME loan.
Yes. Because you meet the heating requirement (installing a heat pump) it’s a core measure you can add-on loft insulation and your project is eligible for funding support.
No. Although you meet the heating requirement, you are not installing any core measures and therefore your project is not eligible for funding. If your organisation qualifies, we suggest you contact Business Energy Scotland as they may be able to provide support through the Scottish Government’s SME loan.
Your project may be eligible for funding as you meet the heating requirement. However, please bear in mind that the cost of the energy efficiency measures must be a minor part of the overall project costs.
CARES funding can support reduction in energy consumption from lighting. Therefore, it can be used to purchase LED bulbs to replace existing higher energy consuming bulbs.
If changes to existing fittings are required to make them compatible with LED bulbs, this can be supported by CARES. Given limitations on CARES budget, changes to existing light fittings needed for LED/low energy consuming bulbs should be minimal in cost and modest in type. Significant changes in lighting infrastructure, such as relocations or to upgrade fixtures to change lighting conditions/ambience, would be considered to be part of a refurbishment works and out with scope of CARES support.
Three quotes for the light bulbs and requisite fittings will need to be sought; including when they are being procured by a contractor.
Where new fittings are required, then a rationale for their replacement and suitable illustrations (spec, brochure) should be provided, along with photos of the existing lighting arrangements.
No, you can’t retain a fossil fuel boiler on the same system as a heat pump and be eligible for CARES funding. The exception to this would be where two or more distinctly separate heating systems supply different parts of a building. In this case, the part of the building exclusively supplied by the heat pump can be eligible for CARES funding.
No. Hybrid heat pump systems that include a fossil fuel boiler, sometimes referred to as bi-valent heating systems, are not eligible for CARES funding.
Yes. Heat pump systems that include a small proportion of supplementary direct electric heating, for example through an electric boiler, are acceptable where this has been recommended to you in a specific report or study, and you are aware of the impact this might have on your energy bills.
Where your heat pump is broken beyond repair and needs to be replaced you can apply for CARES funding. The maximum intervention rate for replacement heat pumps is up to 40%. To be eligible you are required to have explored all avenues of repair and redress for your current system and provide evidence from your contractor concerning the need for replacement. Please contact the team at Local Energy Scotland for additional information.
Heat pump repairs are not eligible for CARES funding. Applicants are recommended to seek repair redress through their manufacture and/or installer warranties.
Replacing a biomass heating system with a heat pump can be eligible for CARES support.
Although the existing biomass system does not need to be broken beyond repair, a detailed rationale must be provided for each replacement.
We would anticipate that the existing biomass system would either be at end of life, a minimum of 10 years old, or non operational, however, specific circumstances can also be provided.
There should be no outstanding debt or obligations on the existing biomass system, such as an existing loan, outstanding payments or being in receipt of RHI payments.
CARES will only support a replacement heat pump system or connection to a heat network, and are not able to support the repair or replacement of the biomass system.
The maximum CARES grant intervention rate for a heat pump replacing a biomass system is 40%.
Yes, providing your existing electric heating is either broken or ineffective in providing the heating required for the comfortable and effective use of the community building.
Where broken you’ll be asked to provide evidence of this, for example a photograph or statement from a qualified independent electrician/engineer.
Where you state the current direct electric system is ineffective you must set out why at least two of the criteria below are met:
- The current system must be over ten years old – evidenced through installation documentation, dates etc.
- Your system is unable to adequately heat the whole building to a comfortable temperature – evidenced by a statement from applicant with examples of situations where its inadequate and/or confirmation from a qualified independent electrician/engineer.
- Your heating is ineffective due to the prohibitive cost to run it which is impacting on service delivery – evidenced through energy bills and/or a statement from the applicant with examples of where it’s not affordable to adequately heat the building and/or an energy advice report.
- You have inadequate controls, for example you are unable to programme the heating or there is inadequate thermostatic control – evidenced through photos of the controls and/or confirmation from a qualified independent electrician/engineer.
- Your heating equipment is no longer supported with spare parts to ensure it can be repaired/replaced if there is a fault – evidenced through manufacturers website and/or confirmation from a qualified independent electrician/engineer.
Local Energy Scotland cannot approve applications to replace direct electric heating with a heat pump where the applicant does not provide details that allow us to assess if the system is either broken or ineffective. Contact the team at Local Energy Scotland with any questions.