Mr Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, today marked the significant milestone of 250,000 homes upgraded in Ireland through the highly successful Better Energy schemes. Free home energy upgrades have been completed in 100,000 homes through Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme. A further 150,000 homeowners have availed of the popular Better Energy Homes grants for insulation and heating upgrades.
Minister Rabbitte said: “The scale of this achievement is immense, amounting to €600m investment in the small buildings sector and an average of 3,800 full time jobs over the last five years. I am particularly pleased with the inroads our current programmes are making in respect of energy poverty, with more than one quarter of eligible homes addressed to date. This Government has a strong commitment to energy efficiency. We will continue to provide funds for the Better Energy Schemes next year. We recently commenced a separate programme of retrofit investment in the Local Authority housing stock. We have also created a new fund this year to boost activity in terms of public and commercial building energy efficiency initiatives.”
The Minister marked the milestone at the launch of a community energy project at Ballyfermot, Dublin where 77 homes, supported by NABCO, the co-operative housing provider, will receive wall and roof insulation, replacement windows and high efficiency heating systems and controls.
A report to be published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) tomorrow shows the hugely positive impact to the housing stock in Ireland of our successful energy efficiency and retrofitting schemes. These homeowners have already made energy savings of €150m over the past few years, and will continue to save €60m annually.
The Minister further commented: “The significance of reaching this milestone should not be underestimated – retrofitting 250,000 homes out of 1.6m permanently occupied homes is a huge achievement. However, it’s also appropriate to look forward and consider the economic and health benefits that we could realise if the rest of the inefficient housing stock was upgraded. I encourage everyone to ‘get efficient’ and take advantage of the Better Energy grant programmes.”
Commenting at the same event, Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI said: “Retrofit is now a healthy and important sector in Ireland, worth hundreds of millions of Euro and providing thousands of jobs. Investing in retrofit means money previously spent on expensive imported fossil fuels is now being spent on valuable jobs and making homes more comfortable and affordable.”