My Department funds a number of home energy efficiency schemes that are administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The aim of the schemes is to improve the energy efficiency of our built environment, in a way which represents the best possible use of Exchequer funding. This involves making difficult decisions and targeting supports in particular ways such as by limiting certain grants to homes built before 2006. As new homes are already required to meet specific energy performance standards and to incorporate renewables under Building Regulations, grant support is currently focussed on improving the condition of existing dwellings. Grant funding further works in more recently built homes that already meet certain levels of energy performance would not represent a cost-effective use of Exchequer funds.
However, grant funding for renewable measures under the Better Energy Homes Scheme is available to homes built before 2011. Additionally, the year of build is not considered as part of the application process for the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme. This pilot, which provides 50% funding for deep energy upgrades, instead assess the energy uplift that can be achieved.
The recently published Climate Action Plan commits Government to developing a new retrofitting delivery model, which will group retrofits together to achieve economies of scale, leverage private finance, and ensure easy pay-back methods. The area based retrofit programme will seek to capitalise on critical mass that will benefit both householders and the supply chain. This programme will focus on designated areas in both rural and urban environments and could be designed and delivered to include local authorities, approved housing bodies or other strategic delivery partners.