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Warmer healthier homes on the horizon with new Retrofit Scheme

8 Feb 2022

Friends of the Earth welcomes the range of supports in the Government’s new National Retrofitting Scheme [1] which was launched today as a major step in ridding Ireland’s housing stock of polluting expensive fossil fuels. However, it is essential that the new measures and funding have a laser focus on those on lower incomes and on those at risk of fuel poverty. Additional supports are also be needed to make sure renters are fully protected.

Clare O’Connor, Policy Analyst, at Friends of the Earth said:

“ The National Retrofit Scheme is a positive step towards getting households off fossil fuels while bringing down our energy costs and making homes warmer and healthier. Friends of the Earth welcome progressive measures such as grants of between 50% and 80% for home upgradesand expansion of the Warmer Homes scheme which covers 100% of costs for low-income households.

Incentives for landlords to undertake minor energy efficient projects are in the scheme. However explicit protections for tenants are neededto make sure they are not unfairly impacted while building work is undertaken. Minimum energy performance ratings on rental properties must be provided for so renters are not left behind in the transition away from fossil fuel dependency.

Jerry Mac Evilly, Head of Policy, at Friends of the Earth said:

We welcome the announcement ofnew grantsto cover up to 50% for a full retrofit, and 80% for smaller projects like attic and wall cavity insulation. However, lack of detail on the proposed low-cost loans still leaves uncertainty on the affordability of the remaining upfront costs for the majority of households. We also need to make sure that upgrades are prioritised for the most energy inefficient homes so we reach those most in need first.

The One Stop Shop service for homeowners to manage all aspects of the retrofit process - from grant application to delivery, is a very welcome step and could make energy efficiency upgrades more accessible and remove obstacles from households.

ENDS

Notes for Editor:

1. The key measures include:

  • A new National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme providing increased grant levels of up to 50% of the cost of a typical deep retrofit to a B2 BER standard (up from 30%-35% grants currently)
  • One Stop Shops to offer a hassle-free, start-to-finish project management service, including access to financing, for home energy upgrades
  • A significant increase in the number of free energy upgrades for those at risk of energy poverty (400 per month – up from an average of 177 per month in 2021)
  • A special enhanced grant rate, equivalent to 80% of the typical cost, for attic and cavity wall insulation for all households, to urgently reduce energy use as part of the Government’s response to current exceptionally high energy prices
  • An Exchequer investment of €8 billion to 2030 will enable the supply chain to scale up, creating thousands of high quality jobs and delivering on this critical national objective.
  • The Schemes will be administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland(SEAI)..

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