The Government invests €120 million annually in sustainable energy upgrades and actions through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The grants promote a fabric first approach – advising people to first reduce heat losses by installing insulation and ventilation, making it easier to keep a home warmer and more comfortable for longer periods, before moving to installation of new or renewable heating systems. The individual measures that are currently funded were selected for inclusion as they were deemed most likely to deliver significant energy savings to homeowners, at least relative cost, and would thereby optimise the use of Exchequer funds while at the same time maximising the opportunities for homeowner participation.
The installation of wood burning stoves can be funded as part of a deeper energy efficiency upgrade – achieving an A3 Building Energy Rating - via the Deep Retrofit Programme or the Better Energy Communities scheme. Stoves installed must meet certain requirements and the specification is available on SEAI’s website.
In addition, the Energy Efficiency Obligation scheme requires all energy suppliers above a certain threshold to work with their customers to deliver energy savings. The replacement of an open fire with a solid fuel, biomass or gas fired room heater can save homeowners money and is an eligible measure under this scheme. Some suppliers offer their customers rebates for replacing open fires in their homes. If a customer would like to pursue this option they will need to contact their energy supplier directly or they can obtain more information from the SEAI.