The Programme for Government 2020 set challenging and ambitious targets over the next ten years aimed at Ireland’s objective of reducing its carbon emissions by more than half. With approximately 40% of Ireland’s energy-related carbon emissions coming from buildings alone, one of the key objectives of the Programme is the target of retrofitting reaching over 500,000 homes by 2030, of which it is expected that approximately 36,500 of those with be local authority owned homes. In response to this commitment the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting programme has been revised and enhanced for 2021, homes retrofitted under this programme will benefit householders in many ways, they will be warmer, easier to heat and more comfortable homes, it will enhance air quality in the home and for those currently using oil or gas they will see savings on energy bills.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “The 2021 Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme is a newly revised programme designed around the Programme for Government commitment with an important increase in funding support of €65m, €20m of which has been allocated under the midlands retrofit programme.
“This revised programme will see a significant upscaling - from a ‘shallow’ to ‘deeper retrofit’ - on what has been completed by local authorities in previous years and will target 2,400 social homes in total for upgrade works in 2021.
“We are being realistic in our initial allocation and taking account of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the works which can take place. We are taking an equitable approach ensuring that allocations are calculated on the basis of the number of social housing units each local authority has, as a percentage of the overall national stock, as well as the ability of individual local authorities to complete the programme and draw down all funding in 2021. This also ensures that those local authorities who have the capacity to deliver more are facilitated so that the 2021 retrofitting target of 2,400 homes is reached and the budget is spent,” he said.
Minister of State Burke added, “Last year we allocated €20m from Carbon Tax to eight local authorities under the Midlands Retrofit Project. Along with the climate and indeed health benefits, this funding is helping provide an economic stimulus to the regions most affected by Bord na Móna and ESB closures.
“Retrofitting homes is a highly labour-intensive sector and can create high-quality, sustainable jobs in local communities throughout the country, and has the capacity to play an important role in our economic recovery.
“I am especially pleased to announce that in addition to the €65m funding available, funding of €5m is available in the Local Government Fund to help resource local authorities to respond to the new programme and deliver on the ambitious targets,” he said.
Minister of State Noonan said, “Since the original scheme began in 2013 over 73,500 local authority homes have undergone energy efficiency works, but this was, for the most part, wall and attic insulation works.
“This revised programme focuses on a much deeper retrofitting, ensuring that the fabric of the home is upgraded and an energy efficient heating system is provided.
“This will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the residential sector and help Ireland reach its greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, it will result in warmer, more comfortable homes which will benefit the health of all those living in them,” he concluded.