Sustainability: Make the most of your home
We ask expert Tom Halpin about sustainable home improvements.
We’ve come to accept it in this country, feeling cold in our homes. Bare feet on cold floors in the morning, draughts howling through the hallway on a winter’s night, it’s almost a tradition in Ireland, feeling the cold at home.
It might be because of the generally mild winters we have in Ireland. The temperature rarely drops below freezing meaning that over the years we neglected to build homes with the proper insulation. On the continent, where summer is hot and winter is cold and spring and autumn are how they’re supposed to be, the more extreme temperatures mean the houses and apartments are built to withstand the effects of climate.
Here in Ireland all we were used to building homes that invite the outside in. We have often inadequate heating systems that are expensive to run and often difficult to operate. But most importantly, when we do heat our homes most of the warm air disappears through the walls, windows and ceiling leaving cold air rushing in in its place.
It wasn’t until 1981 that any regulation came into effect regarding the insulation in our homes, so anything built before then likely has inadequate thermal insulation. Things have improved in recent years and new builds are completely different but that remains a fraction of the homes in Ireland. We spoke to Tom Halpin of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) about making your home more sustainable with the help of SEAI grants:
The modern need to reduce emissions, save energy and find more sustainable energy sources means that technology in the field of energy efficiency has improved drastically in recent years. There are whole host of measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient but fixing the insulation in your home is probably the most important.
It is so important that we make our homes more energy efficient, that the SEAI is providing grants to those who undertake work on their homes. The SEAI Home Energy Grant is there to make sure you can claim money back on work you do to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient whether that be filling the cavities in your home’s walls or applying an external wall insulation to the outside of your home. It could be upgrading your boiler and controls or it could be insulating the attic to stop heat from escaping.
It’s really easy to apply, you can do it online or through the post. Finding a contractor to do the work shouldn’t be difficult. SEAI have a list of registered contractors (which you must use). A great place to start is to ask around family, friends and colleagues to see if anyone had their homes done under the scheme.
Over 350,000 homes have availed of the grant so far so everyone should know someone who’s been through the process. Spring and summer are the ideal times to get this work done too. You’re not so reliant on the heating, you might have the doors open while people are working on the home, and we all have a little bit more time. We tend to forget about our home’s heating in the summer months but a bit of work now can mean that your home and lifestyle could be completely transformed and we need no longer dread the onset of winter.
While we traditionally have come to accept the cold in our homes, thankfully we don’t have to any more. No more excuses so. Home energy grants are available from SEAI. Grants, which cover up to 30% of a typical upgrade, are available for roof and wall insulation, heating system upgrades and solar panels, helping to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Works are carried out by registered contractors to guarantee the quality of the work.
Why not join the 350,000 households around Ireland who have already got grants for home energy improvements?
Apply for your home energy grant today. Visit seai.ie/homenergygrants or call 1850 927 000.