The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) operates a number of schemes on behalf of my Department that promote the retrofitting of homes. The Better Energy Homes scheme provides support to homeowners towards the installation of attic and wall insulation, and heating system upgrades, including solar thermal, with the works being undertaken by privately appointed contractors. Applications to the scheme are made by submitting a completed application form either online or by post. The grants fund a portion of the total cost of the upgrade works. Full details on the various grant levels are available at:http://www.seai.ie/Grants/Better_energy_homes/Better_Energy_FAQ/Homeowner%20FAQ/. The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures to households that are vulnerable to energy poverty and who live in privately owned dwellings. The upgrades are delivered free of charge to the customer. Applications can be made by calling a freephone number or online. SEAI periodically promotes the scheme through direct marketing to those households in receipt of the Fuel Allowance.
The Better Energy Communities and the Better Energy Areas schemes assist in upgrading the energy efficiency of existing clusters of buildings, homes and community facilities. The schemes are delivered by partnerships and community based organisations who must bid for funding from SEAI.
In total, €57 million has been provided to SEAI in 2014 to operate these retrofit schemes. I understand that a further €30 million will be made available by my colleague the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government to support the upgrade of local authority homes.
In addition, this year I have introduced mandatory efficiency savings targets for energy suppliers by way of the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme. To meet these challenging targets, energy suppliers will have to work with their customers to deliver efficiency gains through measures such as the retrofitting of homes and businesses. To date, nearly one sixth of the homes in Ireland have received some form of Government assisted energy efficiency upgrade.