Minister Naughten announces increased funding for home and community energy upgrades
- Naughten secures Cabinet approval for increased funding for home and community energy upgrades
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten secured Cabinet approval for the introduction of new measures and increased funding for home and community energy efficiency schemes.
- Minister Naughten is pleased to announce that he is extending the Government’s free ‘Warmer Home Scheme’ to families in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance from January 1st 2018.
The Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment made to the family or guardian of a child under 16 with a severe disability.
The Warmer Home Scheme is currently open to people in receipt of:
- Fuel allowance;
- Job Seekers Allowance for more than six months;
- Family Income Supplement;
- One-Parent Family Payment.
The Warmer Home Energy scheme offers a broad package of measures free to householders in need of energy efficiency upgrades worth an average of €3,000. Some of the measures include attic and cavity wall insulation, draught proofing, lagging jackets, low energy light bulbs etc.
The Minister has secured an incentive for people who want to move away from using fossil fuels to heat their home through a significant new grant of €3,500 for heat pumps with effect from April 2018. This will be accompanied by a 33% increase in the grant for external wall insulation and the removal of a grant for fossil fuel boiler replacement to be replaced by a higher grant for heating controls.
Heat pumps are electrical appliances that can transfer heat from the outside into a building to heat it. With a heat pump installed a home does not need a backup immersion, boiler or any other heating appliances. Heat pumps keep buildings heated to a constant temperature.
Minister Naughten is announcing that the grant for a heating controls system is being increased from €600 to €700, regardless of the home’s heating system. Heating controls control a household’s energy usage and improve comfort. What this means in practical terms is that €700 will be available to householders who want to replace their boiler and install heating controls. Since the grant will now be for heating controls only, it demonstrates that the Government is moving away from supporting fossil fuel technologies with SEAI grants.
- Minister Naughten is also announcing that the funding available for external wall insulation will be significantly increased, with grant levels ranging from €2,750 to €6,000. This will encourage even more homeowners to invest in the energy efficiency of their homes stated Minister Naughten. The most cost effective way for most householders to reduce on-going energy bills is by investing in upgrades such as roof and wall insulation, draught proofing, and heating controls.
- For communities Minister Naughten has announced a new guaranteed funding commitment for smaller community energy projects. €28million worth of grants will be awarded in 2018 which will include a transition away from fossil fuel support.
The Minister has given a guaranteed funding commitment for every community group, subject to partnering with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and meeting certain quality standards. This guaranteed funding can provide a powerful incentive for community groups to grow and develop projects in their local area.
Minister Naughten stated: “It is time to start to move away from using fossil fuels to heat our homes. The expansion of current schemes and increased funding for appliances such as heating controls and heat pumps that control a household’s energy usage, particularly when combined with deeper measures like external wall insulation, will make a real difference in our homes, in our communities and for our environment. By increasing the funding available and expanding current schemes I hope that even more people will be encouraged to invest in the energy efficiency of their homes.”
All of these grant schemes are funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE) and operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
The SEAI’s CEO Jim Gannon said: “SEAI are very supportive of the decision made today regarding the range of technologies supported in the retrofit programmes. Re-focusing available funds on more impactful measures, and moving the supports away from more carbon intensive technologies, is a significant step and a further signal to homeowners and the supply chain as to Ireland’s direction of travel. We welcome the increased investment in these measures by DCCAE, and the exchequer, and will continue to seek more impactful and efficient ways of delivering on our mandate.”
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