The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the Better Energy Homes Scheme under the Better Energy Programme. Better Energy Homes provides a financial incentive to private homeowners who wish to improve the energy performance of their homes. Fixed grants are provided towards the cost of a range of measures including attic insulation, wall insulation, heating systems upgrades, solar thermal panels and accompanying BER. By the end of February 2013 the Scheme had dispersed over €150 million in Exchequer funding, providing 353,232 energy efficiency measures to 138,970 homes.
The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and the Programme for Government include a commitment to roll out a Better Energy Financing (i.e. pay-as-you-save) energy retrofit scheme for domestic buildings after 2013. The Better Energy Financing (BEF) model proposes that the current suite of Exchequer funded grants for energy efficiency measures, excluding the low-income housing retrofit programme, will be replaced by a new financing scheme open to households and commercial operators.
The key benefit to the homeowner of such a financing mechanism is that the scheme will allow them to secure upfront financing for energy efficiency upgrades to their homes, and in the process remove one of the key energy efficiency barriers. The consumer will also benefit through the creation of a robust quality assurance process that will protect consumers and ensure high-quality workmanship.
My Department has put in place a project team to design a replacement retrofit financing scheme under the direction of a Project Board representing key state and industry stakeholders. Project resources have been drawn from industry experts and elsewhere in the public sector. It is planned that the design of the scheme will be developed over the coming months and that a public consultation process will be undertaken later this year.