The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households vulnerable to energy poverty. To date over 135,000 homes have received free upgrades under the scheme, leaving the occupants better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level.
The aim of the scheme is to deliver a range of energy efficiency measures in a way which represents the best possible use of Exchequer funding. The rules of the Scheme stipulate that repeat upgrade visits are not provided. This rule is in place to ensure that the available Exchequer funding provides upgrades to as many eligible homes as possible and to prioritise eligible homes that have never had any work done under the scheme.
Last year, the scheme was expanded. Subject to a survey by SEAI and an assessment of potential for improved energy performance, the scheme can now, in certain circumstances, include internal or external wall insulation. This will permit the upgrade of more property types such as homes with solid walls, and also increase the energy savings and emissions reductions that the scheme can achieve. In addition, it will enable future fuel switching. Demand for the scheme is extremely high, reflecting the shift to deeper measures, and is impacted by longer delivery times associated with these type of works and the delivery capacity of SEAI’s contractor panel.
My Department is currently working with the SEAI to determine whether further changes to the scheme are required. It is expected that this review will be completed in the coming months.