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Monday 25 March 2019

Homeowners urged to take up efficiency grants to 'lower their energy bills substantially'

Stock photo
Stock photo
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

HOMEOWNERS are losing out by failing to take advantage of Government grants to help them make their homes more energy efficient.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) said grants of up to half the cost for home energy improvement works are available.

Upgrades can help meeting climate change targets.

The SEAI said 300,000 existing homes could be suitable for low-cost heat pumps.

Heat pumps are an environmentally friendly and efficient alternative to oil, gas, solid fuel home-heating systems. They work by converting energy from the air outside the home into heat inside, in the same way a fridge extracts heat from its inside.

For a home to be compatible for a heat pump it needs to meet certain energy ratings.

The SEAI and the Government introduced grants for heat pumps last year.

Grants of up to €3,500 are available for ground-source and water-to-water heat pump systems, with €300 for air-to-air pump systems, the SEAI said.

Some 410,000 homeowners have already benefited from SEAI grants over the last decade. The grants are not means tested.

SEAI chief executive Jim Gannon said thousands more are losing out by failing to have works done.

He said homeowners typically recoup cost of works in as little as three to four years.

“Homeowners who are taking action now to reduce energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuels in their homes will lower their energy bills substantially,” he said.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton encouraged homeowners to avail of the potential savings.

“Not only will the upgrades save you money on your energy bills, but they will help you play your part in making Ireland a leader in climate change, by reducing your emissions.”

This country is struggling to meet its climate change targets.

Mr Bruton said Irish homes use 60pc more energy than our European neighbours and only a tiny element of this is accounted for by the weather.

Some 80pc of energy used in Ireland’s homes is for heating and hot water.

Grants for 50pc of the costs are available for homeowners who are doing a deep retrofit of their whole home and want to significantly improve the energy rating up to an A-rating.

SEAI has individual grants for smaller works such as insulation, renewable home heating, heating controls, and solar panels. These grants range in amount from €400 to €6,000 and typically cover around a third of the cost of the works in an average home.

Mr Bruton added: “These supports will help make homes warmer, cheaper to run and help reduce carbon emissions.

“Improving your insulation should be your first priority – it ensures you keep in all your valuable heat.”

He said that once a home is well insulated then it is time to think about improving the heating system.

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