Around 250,000 homes have been upgraded in Ireland through the Government’s ‘Better Energy’ schemes that have been run by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for the past five years, Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, revealed this morning. The schemes are now set to continue in 2014.
Speaking this morning at the launch of a community energy project in Ballyfermot, Dublin, Rabbitte said the €600m retrograde and retrofitting projects have helped sustain an average of 3,800 full-time jobs in the small-buildings sector.
Free home energy upgrades have been completed in 100,000 homes via the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme, and about 150,000 homeowners have availed of the Better Energy Homes grants for insulation and heating upgrades.
"I am particularly pleased with the inroads our current programmes are making in respect of energy poverty, with more than one-quarter of eligible homes addressed to date," said Rabbitte.
The current Government, he said, has a "strong commitment" to energy efficiency.
Next year, it will continue to provide funds for the Better Energy Schemes.
“We recently commenced a separate programme of retrofit investment in the Local Authority housing stock.
“We have also created a new fund this year to boost activity in terms of public and commercial building energy-efficiency initiatives," said Rabbitte.
Community energy project in Ballyfermot, Dublin
In Ballyfermot, 77 homes will be on track to get wall and roof insulation, replacement windows and high efficiency heating systems and controls. This energy efficiency upgrading is being supported by NABCO, the co-operative housing provider.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), meanwhile, will be publishing a report tomorrow on energy efficiency and retrofitting schemes, and how such projects can help homeowners save money on their energy bills.
Rabbitte said the retrofitting of 250,000 homes out of 1.6m permanently occupied homes is a "huge achievement".
What he added, however, is the importance of looking forward and considering the economic and health benefits that people could realise if the rest of the inefficient housing stock is upgraded.
This could be particularly relevant to some of the houses and apartments that were built during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era.
“I encourage everyone to ‘get efficient’ and take advantage of the Better Energy grant programmes," said Rabbitte.