Demand for energy grants is high, reports the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), but a survey suggests only one in five plan to upgrade their Building Energy Rating (BER).
Data shared by the SEAI with Selfbuild shows individual grant applications rose from 1,344 in January 2022 to 3,418 in February 2022 and 3,234 in March 2022.
The ROI government announced it would substantially increase grant amounts for home energy upgrades in February 2022.
But, despite those recent increases in grant incentives, more than half (54 per cent) of homeowners in ROI are not planning to undertake an energy upgrade, while 18 per cent are planning to invest in a project to improve their home’s BER.
That’s according to research carried out by the An Post Green Hub in partnership with iReach in March 2022.
The ROI government’s National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme is aiming for 500,000 homes to be upgraded to a B2 energy rating by 2030. The governments grant package has increased for deep retrofits up to 50 per cent of the overall cost. Grants used to be capped at 30 to 35 per cent.
Meanwhile, half of those surveyed said they didn’t know their home’s building energy rating. Energy ratings rate the energy efficiency of homes in the same way that ratings on appliances do; A being the best, G the worst.
For those respondents planning a retrofit, the average amount those surveyed were willing to spend was €8k. Government estimates show that it takes between €14k and €66k to retrofit a home to a B2 energy rating.
Among those who do know their energy rating, close to three in five believe they have a rating of C or worse. Just one in twenty homes in ROI have an A energy rating.
Of the 28 per cent who had completed a retrofit project in the past, 80 percent had installed attic, cavity wall or external wall insultation and over half had replaced windows and doors. Almost half had their gas boiler replaced and 15 per cent installed solar panels. Less than 5 per cent had installed a heat pump.
The An Post Green Hub offers free home energy assessments, in partnership with SSE Airtricity. The assessments provide recommendations on retrofitting needs, investigating likely upgrade costs and potential energy savings.
The Green Hub also allows homeowners to explore options for their homes based on their current BER rating. In the absence of a BER rating, they can get recommendations based on similar homes in their area.
SEAI call volumes
The SEAI received a large volume of calls in the wake of the government’s February announcement that grant amounts for energy upgrades had increased.
Calls in relation to the individual energy upgrades tripled, rising from 4,355 in January 2022 to 13,113 in February and 12,125 in March.
The volume of calls in relation to the free energy upgrades doubled from 1,088 calls in January to 2,307 calls in February.
Grant applications for free energy upgrades doubled from 286 in January to 474 in March 2022.