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State housing stock to be refitted under insulation plan

Source: Irish Times

THE STATE’S entire housing stock of more than a million homes will be retro-fitted within a decade under an ambitious new Government home insulation scheme which is set to be introduced next year.

Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan and officials have been working on a “save as you pay” home insulation scheme for the budget on December 9th. The scheme is included as a policy objective in the new Programme for Government.

The scheme, if given the go- ahead by the Cabinet, will mean a vast scaling up of the Government’s insulation plans with a policy it hopes will encourage one million householders to retro-fit by 2020. That would also greatly help Ireland to reach the EU target for that year of a cut of 20 per cent in greenhouse emissions compared to 2005 levels.

It would also form the core of the Government’s plans to stimulate jobs in the economy, providing thousands of technical and construction jobs.

Under the current scheme, introduced early this year, 33,000 households have applied for grants worth €38 million towards assessments and remedial work on their homes, including attic insulation. There are also schemes for local authority houses and social housing, including the warmer homes scheme.

However, the new scheme would vastly accelerate the retro-fitting of the national housing stock, with upwards of 90,000 dwellings a year being retro-fitted over a period of 10 to 12 years.

The funding model would also radically alter in order for change of that magnitude to be achieved. Officials believe that extending the grant scheme would not be feasible or realistic.

Instead, electricity and energy utility companies would be given new obligations to reduce progressively the amount of energy they generate each year.

Their roles would change to allow them to offer retro-fitting services and financing. Homeowners would get an assessment carried out by the utility. After completion, the cost would then form part of the utility bill, to be paid off over a long period of time.

Costs of retro-fitting vary, but some estimates put the average cost at €15,000 for each dwelling, or €18 billion for the national housing stock.

According to a Government source: “What puts most people off is the up-front cost of the work. This will allow them to pay the cost over a long period.”

The scheme, if approved in that form, will form a major stimulus element of the budget.






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