My Department funds a number of grant schemes to support homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. These are administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Since 2000, around 450,000 homeowners have upgraded their homes with support from these schemes, representing nearly one home in four across the country. This has resulted in warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes that are easier and cheaper to heat and light. This year, €221.5 million in capital funding has been provided for SEAI residential and community retrofit programmes. This represents an 82% increase on the 2020 allocation and is the largest amount ever for the schemes. SEAI offers grants of up to 35% of the cost of home energy upgrades to homeowners as well as free home energy upgrades to people at risk of energy poverty.
In the case of deep retrofits, improving insulation will be just one measure in a suite of upgrades. There has been an increase in the cost of insulation materials in the last 12 months. This is largely as a result of disruptions to the supply chain and impact of Covid globally. This increase is not limited to the retrofitting sector.
SEAI is currently reviewing the existing grant incentives available for homeowners in order to ensure that retrofit schemes encourage sufficient uptake and achieve the highest reduction of emissions while offering value for money. In addition, my Department is currently identifying best ways of bringing to the market affordable financing solutions to complement grants and support deeper home energy upgrades at scale.