I propose to take Questions Nos. 56 and 70 together.
My Department has operated an Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme for local authority social housing since 2013, under which close to 70,000 social homes have been insulated to date with funding support of some €134 million. The programme improves the insulation standards and overall energy performance of local authority housing stock, which can benefit those at risk of fuel poverty, as well as contributing to Ireland’s carbon emissions reduction and energy reduction targets.
Support under this Programme is continuing in 2019, with €25 million available in grant aid to the local authorities. It is the local authorities' own responsibility to select properties for inclusion in the programme and to determine the level of works; accordingly, pending their decisions on 2019 activity, my Department does not have detailed information at this stage on the number of homes that will be retrofitted in all 31 Council areas.
The Programme is being implemented in two phases: Phase 1 is classed as a shallow retrofit and aims to ensure that the entire social housing stock has, as a minimum, cavity wall and attic insulation. Phase 2 focuses on the fabric upgrade works to those dwellings with solid/hollow block wall construction and includes the provision of heating upgrades; this is deemed to be a more deep retrofit. In transitioning to the deep retrofit implementation, my Department has requested local authorities to achieve a 'B2' or equivalent building energy rating for their housing stock.
In addition to the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme, energy efficiency improvements have also been incorporated into the approximately 11,000 vacant social housing homes that have been returned to productive use under the Voids Programme since 2014.
Policy and programmes in relation to supports for insulation of privately owned homes falls within the remit of the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.