My Department funds a number of grant schemes to support people to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. These are administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Grants for insulation and heating control systems are available to homes built and occupied prior to 2006. Heat pump and solar grants are available to homes built and occupied prior to 2011. The schemes offer partial grants for individuals who can afford to contribute to the cost of upgrades as well as free energy efficiency improvements for people at risk of energy poverty.
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. Full details on the application processes for all schemes operated by the SEAI are available at www.seai.ie
My Department has no plans to introduce a specific 100% grant for the retrofit scheme for first-time buyers of vacant properties to incentivise them to live in towns and villages. However, Government is funding the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, administered through the Local Authorities. The scheme is designed to breathe new life into rural communities - making them more attractive places to live, work, socialise and raise a family. The Minister for Rural and Community Development recently announced €15 million in funding for the scheme. The Programme for Government commits to bringing forward an expanded Town and Village Renewal Scheme to bring vacant and derelict buildings back into use and promote residential occupancy. Further details are available from the Department of Rural and Community Development: https://www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/01125e-town-and-village-renewal-scheme/