Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Questions (15, 39)

Barry Cowen

Question:

15. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a timeframe for the retrofitting of 14,100 social housing units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44855/13]

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Michael Colreavy

Question:

39. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the way in which funding for the €25 million investment in housing energy efficiency in the recent budget announcements has been sourced; how it will be allocated; the criteria for persons seeking funding from this initiative; and if there are any short, medium and longer-term deadlines for implementation. [44839/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 39 together.

The €25 million investment in energy efficiency forms part of a €50 million three-year energy efficiency investment programme for local authority homes, under my Department's Social Housing Investment Programme. It is a key part of the Government's €150 million capital investment in the economy over 2013-14. This three-year programme will target the 25,000 least energy efficient local authority homes. Some €25 million will be provided in 2014 and it is expected that 12,500 homes will be retrofitted in the course of the year. This will result in warmer homes and lower energy bills for the families concerned and will also create around 1,000 jobs in the sector. A further €5 million is being provided where a more substantial suite of energy efficiency works are needed, such as the replacement of windows and doors or the installation of high-efficiency central heating boilers. Taking both measures together, it is estimated that some 14,110 households will benefit from this €30 million investment in 2014.

It will be a matter for the local authorities to determine the individual houses and estates that will be retrofitted under this programme. My Department will be requesting local authorities to submit details of their energy retrofitting work programmes for 2014 in due course. Capital allocations in 2014 will reflect the level of contractual commitments of works under way at end 2013, the scope and extent of the programmes submitted and the capacity to deliver these programmes in terms of frameworks in place for the taking on of contractors.

I expect these works will be undertaken by small, locally-based contractors for the most part and will provide job opportunities for the long-term unemployed. I have asked local authorities to ensure that the potential to employ local labour is exploited to the fullest extent possible, having regard to public procurement rules.