Wednesday 17 July 2019

Retrofitting homes could 'provide significant bundles of work' amid fears up to 60,000 jobs could be lost in no-deal Brexit

CIF director general Tom Parlon
CIF director general Tom Parlon
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has suggested that retrofitting homes for energy efficiency could help mitigate the job losses caused by a hard Brexit.

Director general Tom Parlon pointed to fears that up to 60,000 jobs will be lost in a no-deal Brexit.

He said there’s scope for retro-fitting scheme in the government’s Climate Action Plan to “provide significant bundles of work” for construction companies in such a scenario.

Mr Parlon also said the scheme has the potential to underpin efforts to build a stable and sustainable construction industry and - given that its needed around the county - could “provide an economic lifeblood to rural and regional towns and villages”.

The Oireachtas Climate Action Committee today discussed plans to retrofit houses as part of efforts to reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions.

Climate Action Department assistant secretary general Michael Manley told the committee that the buildings sector accounts for around 10pc of overall greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency in the housing stock is a main area of focus.

He said the Climate Action Plan has identified a target of upgrading 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating (BER) of B2 by 2030 as well as the installation of 400,000 heat pumps, to replace older heating systems.

Mr Manley outlined energy efficiency grant schemes administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

These include free upgrades for households in energy poverty; fixed grants for certain energy efficiency measures covering; and a pilot scheme offering 50pc grants for people who want to upgrade to  an A3 deep –retro-fit rating.

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley asked Mr Manley if he could give an indication of the level of support that would be available to homeowners for retrofitting.

Mr Dooley said it can cost €50,000 to retro-fit a house and “It’s not that people don’t want to do it but I certainly get the sense that people in general terms can’t or won’t be able to afford it.”

Mr Manley said that under the Climate Action Plan a taskforce is to be set up to look at “how we design models of financing”.

He said: “That’s obviously going to have to involve a grant level support.

“It’s going to involve a level of very low-cost financing.”

He said: “we have to bring the cost of financing down to as near to zero as humanly possible.”

Mr Manley also said there would be “long-term financing so people could phase it over time.”

He added: “It’s not going to be easy to do it but we have to do it.”

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