Clean tech home clusters could create ‘thousands of jobs’

2 Jun 2009

A scheme aimed at enabling thousands of home owners across Ireland to upgrade their homes to use energy-efficient green technologies has the potential to create 4,000 jobs in the clean-tech sector over the coming year.

Over 250 clusters comprising thousands of homeowners in all 26 counties have already been created under the Greenloan Home Energy Savers Scheme, which was originally piloted in 2008 as part of the pilot phase of the Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) Home Energy Saving Scheme (HES).

The main focus of the scheme is to create significant employment opportunities in local communities throughout Ireland by grouping homeowners to avail of large discounts in upgrading their properties.

“My department has made available almost €50m to the HES for 2009,” said the Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources, Conor Lenihan TD, this morning.

“This is expected to fund in excess of 30,000 home energy upgrades this year alone and generate a large amount of much-needed employment in the current economic circumstances,” Minister Lenihan said.

According to scheme administrator Mary Stewart: “The Greenloan Scheme enables homeowners to renovate their homes in an organised cluster, save money, help protect the environment, and support Irish employment and Irish manufacturers.

“We believe clean-tech and construction workers will benefit from the thousands of jobs created by this scheme over the next year, as people look to renovate their homes with new wood pellet boilers, solar hot water systems, and attic and cavity wall insulation.

“The primary focus of the pilot scheme was efficiency and carbon reduction, all based on clustering works to achieve a significant cost reduction for the householder. The national scheme is different in that its primary focus is on job creation,” she added.

Stewart pointed out that an estimated €800,000 was injected into the Co Mayo economy during the eight-week pilot scheme.

“Over 115 homes with an average investment of €7,500 underwent upgrades, which were carried out by 40 separate contractors throughout Co Mayo. If the same numbers occur on the national scheme as on the pilot, we can expect to create in excess of 4,000 jobs in the next year,” she explained.

By John Kennedy