Social housing upgrades are primarily a matter for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. A budget of €25 million has been allocated to that Department for the social housing energy efficiency retrofit programme in both 2019 and 2020. Although Local Authorities have in recent years received some limited funding through the Better Energy Communities and Warmth and Wellbeing Pilot Schemes, the SEAI does not have a ring-fenced allocation for local authorities.
The Warmth & Wellbeing Pilot 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.
Since 2016, approximately €26.3 million has been invested under the Scheme in upgrading over 1,200 homes in the pilot areas of Dublin 8, 10, 12, 22 and 24. The SEAI estimate approximately 15% of this amount has been spent on local authority homes.
It is expected that an interim report on the health impacts of the scheme, which is being undertaken by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will be completed in the coming months with the final evaluation scheduled for completion in 2021. A process for determining the next steps for the Scheme is nearing completion.