Solid fuel use still high despite rating
Homeowners in the Midlands are up to four times more likely to heat their homes using coal, peat or wood than those living in other counties.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) says an analysis of properties which underwent a Building Energy Rating (BER) audit shows that 24pc in Offaly rely on these solid fuels for heating, followed by 15pc in Westmeath and 14pc in Longford.
This compares with the national average of 6pc.
A BER is a measure of how energy efficient a property is, and all new homes or dwellings offered for sale or rent must have a rating. Last year, a record number of audits were carried out, with 105,539 completed. This brings the total number of audits to 544,621.
The ratings range from 'G' for the most inefficient homes, rising to 'A' across 15 scales. The figures show the highest number of 'A' rated homes are in Co Dublin, where 3pc of the 35,386 audited received this rating - or just over 1,000 properties.
The highest number of 'G' rated homes are in Offaly, Leitrim and Roscommon, where 12pc of the total stock audited fell into this bracket. The figures also show that energy consumption fell in houses which underwent retrofits, where insulation and more efficient heating systems were installed.
Almost 30,000 homes underwent two BER audits. Some 70pc of the older ratings were classified as D, E or F, whereas 64pc of the most recent audits conducted on the same buildings were rated B or C. The data also reveals:
l The average age of homes across the State is 30 years.
l In the capital, the highest number of homes with an average 'G' rating are in Dublin 6 and Dublin 7.
l The most efficient homes are heated with wood pellets and wood chips, with 48pc in the top 'A' and 'B' bands using this fuel source. No homes heated with coal, smokeless fuel, turf or solid multi-fuels achieve this rating.