€5 million Scheme to Deep Retrofit Homes announced. Is enough being done for Ireland to reach its 2030 targets?

6th April 2017

€5 million has been allocated to the deep retrofit homes scheme this year to fund major energy efficiency upgrades to homes and low carbon heating system.

The new multi-annual scheme scheme was launched today at the 2017 SEAI roadshow by Minister of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Denis Naughten.

The scheme will be managed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and is expected to cover up to half the cost of upgrades for individual householders looking to upgrade their homes to an ‘A’ rating on the Building Energy Rating (BER) scale.

Fifty per cent of Ireland’s housing stock were estimated to have a BER of D or lower in 2014.

According to Minister Naughten, there will be no grants for fossil fuel under the scheme with Ireland as Ireland move to an age of renewable heating technology.

A report by the EPA called for replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources to power and heat our homes and drive Ireland toward decarbonisation by 2050.

By deep retrofitting buildings, it is argued that large energy savings can be made while bringing a home as close as possible to Nearly Zero Energy Building standards.

Data from the European Environment Agency had shown that daily household energy use in Ireland is the second-highest in Europe at just under 50kWh daily.

“We need to develop a range of solutions that will work for everyone,” stated Minister Naughten, adding that  “we need to develop, from the bottom up, a range of solutions to create the evidence base for what really works in Ireland”. 

It comes a month after the announcement of a draft version of Ireland’s National Climate Mitigation Plan. 

While Minister Naughten sees the deep retrofit initiative as a further chance “to convince people of the urgency of climate change,” some feel the government should be showing real leadership on environmental issues.

Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan previously criticized Ireland for not having climate ambition and for a lack of meaningful effort.

Minister Ryan pointed out that there is €200 billion fund for clean energy from the European Commission that Ireland can avail of which could encourage investment in renewable energy, charging networks for cars and investment in both solar and wind energy.

Minister Naughten’s speech attempted dispel doubts surrounding his department’s climate action plans claiming they would endeavor “to bridge the chasm between global challenge and national responsibility”.

Image result for friends of the earth irelandSome environmentalists feel the department’s overall plans and schemes may not be enough. Friends of the Earth director, Oisin Coghlan, said that there has been a lack of urgency to bring in the Mitigation Plan, with the  first consultation on the plan held in 2012.

Details of the retrofit scheme can be found by clicking here

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