Grants prompted most home energy upgrades
The vast bulk of homeowners need grant aid to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat.
A new study from the ESRI says that just 15pc of 28,000 households studied would have completed works if no grants or a lower subsidy was available. This cohort, described as 'free riders', was lower in Ireland than in other jurisdictions where the number rose to between 40pc and 96pc.
The study looked at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's 'Better Energy Homes' scheme, which provided grants to upgrade heating controls, install solar panels and upgrade boilers. It did not examine grants for home insulation and other efficiency measures.
It found that most homeowners needed financial help, with more affluent households likely to be free riders because they had the financial means to complete retrofits.
Those who completed one upgrade were likely to complete further works.
The ESRI said the scheme appeared to be cost-effective and that grants for heating controls - where 60pc of households were considered free riders - could perhaps be reduced.
It also found that more information was needed to encourage owners to complete work on their homes.