The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 or cost optimal and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings over the next 10 years. A new National Retrofit Plan will be published in quarter 4 of this year. The plan is designed to address barriers to energy efficiency investments in four key areas: customer proposition and demand generation, financing and affordability, supplier capacity, and governance. Improving the energy efficiency of our homes is a critical climate priority and a major focus of the funding provided in the NDP Review. €5 billion of the expected €9.5 billion in additional carbon tax receipts will be invested in energy efficiency and will underpin the forthcoming National Retrofit Plan.
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, over 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 to heat and light. The position in relation to home previously upgraded under SEAI schemes is set out below:
- Under the Community Energy Grant Scheme and the National Home Retrofit (One Stop Shop Development) Scheme, grants may be claimed for additional measures to increase the energy efficiency of a home as part of an overall project to achieve a specified target. For example, external wall insulation can be supported in homes that previously received cavity wall insulation where it is determined that it is an appropriate intervention as part of an overall upgrade project to attain B2 or cost optimal and meet the minimum BER uplift.
- The Warmer Homes Scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to lower income homeowners vulnerable to energy poverty. There are currently over 7,000 homeowners on the Warmer Homes Scheme work programme. Revisits under this scheme are currently not available. This enables the work programme to prioritise eligible homes that have not previously received free upgrades under the scheme. Recommendations on the implementation of changes to the scheme to better target those most in need will be finalised and published shortly.
- The Better Energy Homes scheme aims to improve energy efficiency by providing grant support for energy efficiency upgrades to homeowners whose homes were built and occupied prior to 2006 for insulation and heating control systems and 2011 for heat pump and solar thermal grants. Under the scheme a home cannot receive grant funding twice for the same energy efficiency measure.
It is important to note that the grants available through SEAI aim to maximise emission reductions and deliver energy savings for the widest range of homeowners possible. The grants which are available, and their respective eligibility criteria, were selected as the most likely to deliver significant energy savings to homeowners as well as the best value for money for the Exchequer. The grant schemes provided by SEAI are however reviewed on a regular basis.