Tuesday 25 June 2019

Plan for low-cost loans to help climate-proof your home

Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A new scheme of low-cost loans for retrofitting is set to feature in the Government's Climate Action Plan, the Irish Independent understands.

Minister Richard Bruton is exploring fresh ways of encourage homeowners to invest in improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

He is believed to want to copy the Dutch model, which sees builders blitz entire housing estates or streets in one go rather than target individual properties.

The plan, which is due to be published in the coming weeks, will include a broad range of commitments in the areas of transport and agriculture.

A number of initiatives, including grants, are already in place to increase the awareness of homes retro-fitting.

But sources say the Climate Action plan will acknowledge that the current approach is not delivering the step-change required to meet the current target of 45,000 homes a year to be retro-fitted over the next decade.

In basic terms, retro-fitting involves improving home insulation so that they are warmer and require less heating.

While renovations can be costly, proponents argue that homeowners will make long-term savings on their energy bills.

It's understood Mr Bruton is minded to base a new scheme on Dutch projected called 'Energiesprong', which aggregated demand from an area for retrofits before deploying builders to complete the work at pace.

Builders were given incentives to improve efficiency and speed, and got the turnaround time to retrofit a house down to three days.

The initiative used social housing as a launch pad before being rolled out across the private sector. It was financed by housing companies, which achieved savings on energy costs and maintenance.

In order to offset some of the upfront costs for homeowners, the Government is considering a 'pay and save' model. It will allow people pay back the cost of their retrofitting in low cost loans through their energy bills over 10 to 20 years.

Irish Independent

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