The Donegal Greens have welcomed the new Home Energy Upgrade launched yesterday, in what is the biggest home insulation and retrofit scheme ever offered in the State.
The scheme makes it much easier for homeowners to carry out home energy upgrades, from small improvements like attic insulation to a full-scale home energy retrofit.
For private homes, new grants will cover 80% of smaller improvements and close to half the cost (45-51%) of a deep retrofit that will bring the energy efficiency of a house up to a B2 rating. Grants of more than €25,000 are available to individual householders to help pay for deep retrofits of their homes.
There will be a 100% grant available to homeowners at risk of energy poverty, including those on Carer’s Allowance, Fuel Allowance, Working Family Payment and other low-income families.
Donegal Green Party Chairperson Michael White said: “The biggest barrier to retrofitting has always been the high upfront cost. This scheme fixes that, with good grants that are easy to access and open to all homeowners. You can start with attic insulation or go straight to getting a full house retrofit. It’s an easy process with someone helping you each step of the way, from applying for a grant to overseeing the work being done.”
“The local benefit is that it will make sure that people in Donegal have warmer homes and lower fuel bills, and that those on low incomes get the improvements for free – that is how the Greens want to fight fuel poverty. The national benefit is that over 8 years it should reduce our residential carbon emissions by half, as well as delivering better homes and new jobs. Households generate a big percentage of our carbon emissions – this program should reduce Ireland’s total emissions by over 10% by 2030”.
Approximately half the homes in the country need upgraded insulation in their attic, which can lower the cost of heating the family home by 25% every year or between €400 and €500.
The new scheme includes a network of ‘one-stop-shops’ created to help people at each stage, from preparing their grant application, applying for funding, and delivering the actual retrofit itself.
€5 billion has been allocated to energy efficiency in the National Development Plan. This is being funded from the Carbon Tax, which is also funding the free home energy improvements to low-income families and increases to the Fuel Allowance payments.
The Home Energy Upgrade Scheme announced by Minister Ryan follows from the Programme for Government commitment to retrofit 500,000 homes to B2 standard and to install 400,000 heat pumps by 2030.
The Department of Further and Higher Education has also allocated €22m this year to the Green Skills Programme, to help train workers in retrofit and NZEB (near zero energy building) skills. The money brings the total number of places to 4,550 by the end of 2022.