Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Energy Schemes Data
1014. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of households that have benefitted from the warmth and well-being pilot scheme; the average cost per home; and his plans to expand the pilot scheme to areas outside of Dublin 8, 10, 12, 22 and 24. [3492/20]
1015. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of households that have benefitted from the SEAI deep retrofit pilot scheme; and the average cost per home. [3493/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1013 to 1015, inclusive, together.
The Government’s Climate Action Plan commits to reviewing and redesigning the existing grant schemes to ensure alignment with Government climate objectives and value for money. The Plan also sets an ambitious target of 500,000 energy efficiency retrofits by 2030. Achievement of this target will be supported by the Project Ireland 2040 allocation of €3.7 billion as well as the range of measures identified in the Plan.
To deliver our Climate Action Plan target of 500,000 housing upgrades by 2030, we will develop a new retrofitting delivery model. Our plan will:
- Group homes in the same area together to drive down cost
- Start with social homes owned by the local authorities, but will embrace privately owned homes in the wider community
- Develop smart finance options (e.g. loan guarantee models)
- Introduce easy pay back models (e.g. through your utility bill)
Budget 2020 provided €20 million to commence this process, starting with groups of social homes in the Midlands to be upgraded at the same time. Private homeowners will be encouraged to participate through the provision of SEAI grants. The selection of the Midlands to start rolling out this plan is ideal because of the structural changes occurring there.
A cross-Departmental Taskforce that will drive the achievement of the Climate Action Plan target has been established. Development of the new model is being informed by the experience from existing schemes in Ireland including the Warmth and Wellbeing and Deep Retrofit Pilot schemes as well as best practice in other jurisdictions and extensive stakeholder consultation and engagement.
Government currently funds a number of grants and support schemes that are helping homeowners and businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. The budget for these schemes in 2020 is €146 million (capital and current), which is a record level of funding.
The Better Energy Homes Scheme provides fixed grants covering approximately 30% of the cost of works being carried out by a homeowner. Grants are provided for a range of measures including attic insulation, wall insulation, heat pumps, heating controls, solar thermal panels and accompanying Building Energy Rating (BER). Grants range from €300 for attic insulation up to €6,000 for external insulation of a detached home. Full details of the amounts available towards each measure are available on SEAI’s website: . In 2019, 18,531 homes received energy efficiency grants through this scheme with an average grant amount per home of €1,238.
The Warmth and Wellbeing pilot scheme is aiming to objectively measure and validate the health and wellbeing impacts of improving the living conditions of vulnerable people living in energy poverty with chronic respiratory conditions. Since 2016 1,244 homes have received free upgrades to their homes, including attic and wall insulation, window and door replacement and heating system upgrades where needed. According to SEAI, the average cost per home completed to date is €22,800. An independent analysis is being carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with the Health Service Executive.
The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme was launched in 2017 as a time bound pilot to investigate the challenges and opportunities of deep retrofit in Ireland. The scheme closed for applications in July 2019. To date 325 homes have all been upgraded to an A3 Building Energy Rating. According to SEAI, the average capital cost of works per home completed to date is €54,047. Government funding of 50% of the cost (including project management and consultancy costs) was made available (with uplift to 95% of the cost for those at risk of energy poverty). The average grant paid was therefore €31,778 per home completed. Initial findings from the pilot are available on SEAI's website: