SEAI ENCOURAGES HOMEOWNERS TO AVAIL OF GRANTS FOR HOME ENERGY UPGRADES
As we enter the colder autumn months, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is encouraging homeowners to avail of Government funded grants for home energy upgrades. To date, almost 430,000 homes have already availed of these grants. These homeowners are living in more comfortable, healthier, energy efficient homes, while paying lower energy bills and reducing their climate impact.
SEAI has individual grants for insulation, renewable home heating, heating controls and solar PV. The grants are fixed amounts ranging from €400 up to €6000 depending on the works to be undertaken and the size of house, and typically cover 30% of the upgrade cost. Some works, such as roof insulation or cavity wall insulation, can typically pay for themselves through lower energy bills in as little as one to two years.
Encouraging homeowners to invest in their homes, Tom Halpin, Head of Communications with SEAI said: “The last six months has shown us that our homes really are our havens and something that we need to invest in and maintain. Homeowners who invest in home energy upgrades and avail of SEAI’s grants will feel the benefits of living in a warmer home almost instantly.
“The most common question SEAI is asked is – where do I start? We’d recommend starting with a BER assessment carried out by a SEAI registered BER assessor. The BER certificate and accompanying advisory report will set out what works you can undertake to improve the energy performance of your home and in what order these works should be prioritised.”
The Building Energy Rating (BER), indicates the energy performance of a home. Homes are placed on a scale from A to G, with A-rated homes being the best in terms of energy efficiency and climate impact and G being the lowest. The Government’s Climate Action Plan sets an ambitious target for 500,000 Irish homes to achieve a B2 building energy rating by 2030. By investing in home energy upgrades homeowners can bring a lower rated home up to a B2 energy rating or higher.
Tom Halpin continued: “For older homes, built more than thirty years ago, preventing heat escaping through the roof and walls by upgrading their insulation should be the priority. Windows and doors may need to be replaced too. After that, smart heating controls will improve the efficiency of an existing heating system. However if budget permits, we’d encourage homeowners to consider a renewable heating system such as a heat pump, which uses energy from the air, water or ground. This will significantly improve the BER, reduce costs and reduce your reliance on fossil fuels.”
Some energy suppliers and companies operating as energy partners with SEAI are now offering packages to manage the entire upgrade process, including grant application and works, on behalf of the homeowners. To help fund the cost of the upgrade investment, homeowners are advised to check what low interest green loans are available from their bank, local Credit Union and An Post.
Denise Maguire Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine