With energy costs rising and climate scientists arguing for drastic reductions in fossil fuel use, the case for retrofitting homes has never been stronger.
Unprecedented funding is available for retrofits, with grants at the highest level and promises that paperwork and access to contractors have been simplified, so timing has also been better than ever.
So what do you need to know if you’re thinking of taking the plunge? Some questions are answered here.
Q. Where can I get information?
A The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is responsible for the National Retrofitting Scheme, which is actually a collection of schemes.
There is a lot of information on the www.seai.ie website, although it does take a bit of searching.
If you are a municipal renter, your municipality is responsible for retrofitting your home. If you are a low-income homeowner, you may qualify for free energy upgrades.
Details and application forms are available on the SEAI website.
Otherwise, you can apply for grants under the new National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme.
Q. What scholarships are available?
A There are individual grants to carry out the retrofit step by step. Grants for roof insulation, wall insulation, heat pumps, new heating controls, solar thermal for hot water and solar PV for electricity can be applied for separately.
You can apply yourself, but some contractors will do it for you. The contractor must be SEAI registered.
The alternative is to do it all and have a wider range of work done simultaneously by one contractor.
Q. How does this work?
A A new one-stop-shop system will be put in place, with companies committing to take care of everything the homeowner needs, from an initial assessment of the home, to discussions about what work is needed, to all grant applications and recruiting specialized subcontractors for the various tasks to be completed and supervising the entire project.
Q. How do I contact a one stop shop?
A SEAI says details of four one-stop-shop providers will be available on the site from mid-next week and a further 15, which are going through an assessment process, will be added once approved.
Q. Will it still cost a lot?
A Grants cover up to 50 percent of costs, but that leaves a conservative estimate of €25,000 for an average home.
Q. Are there cheap loans to cover my half?
A It is planned that it will be ready by the end of this year. The government supports banks and other lenders in providing low-interest loans specifically for retrofitting.
Q. Do I need a building permit?
A It’s unlikely unless there is a preservation order for your home or neighborhood. If it is a retirement home, you should check with your municipality.
Q. Are there no additional costs if I need to rent while the work is going on?
A The SEAI says that in most cases all work can be completed without anyone having to move out.
It is important that renters know this so that they do not become victims of so-called “follow-up claims”.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/where-to-start-with-retrofitting-key-questions-answered-on-options-available-to-homeowners-41524029.html Where do I start with the retrofit? Answers to key questions about homeowner options