I propose to take Questions Nos. 507 and 508 together.
The Warmth & Wellbeing Scheme is a joint policy initiative between my Department and the Department of Health under the Government’s Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty and the Healthy Ireland Framework. The main aim of the Scheme is to validate, in an Irish context, the strong international evidence that making homes warmer, drier and more energy efficient can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with chronic respiratory conditions. The Scheme is being delivered by a team comprising officials from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Health Service Executive (HSE). A total of €20m was invested between 2016 and 2018 resulting in upgrades to almost 900 homes. It is expected that 280 houses will be upgraded in 2019.
The process of evaluating the Scheme is ongoing and is being overseen by a Steering Group comprised of my Department, the Department of Health, SEAI and HSE. Initial reports from the HSE have indicated that the upgrades are delivering benefits to the health and wellbeing of participants. Results from the energy aspects of the Scheme has shown that the average Building Energy Rating of participating homes improved from a D2 to a B3 with carbon emissions reducing by on average 2.2 t CO2/year.
It is expected that the full interim evaluation of the Scheme being undertaken by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will be completed in Q3 this year with the final evaluation scheduled for completion in 2021. The interim report will inform decisions in relation to the future expansion of the Scheme.