'Warmer homes are better homes': Welcome for allocation of over €4m to retrofit social housing in Cork 

'Warmer homes are better homes': Welcome for allocation of over €4m to retrofit social housing in Cork 

Cork Greens have welcomed news that €4.3m of funding will be allocated to Cork city and Cork County Council, with a target of 162 social homes to be retrofitted in the area. Picture: iStock

Over 1,200 homes nationwide will be part of a retrofitting programme to cut carbon emissions this year, after local authorities received a €45m cash injection.

The allocations and targets under the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme for Social Housing were unveiled by the Department of Housing.

An initial allocation of €35m will be distributed for 1,293 homes, while the balance will be allocated to authorities that can complete additional work.

Cork Greens have welcomed that €4.3m of the funding will be allocated to Cork city and Cork County Council, with a target of 162 social homes to be retrofitted in the area.

Councillor Dan Boyle welcomed the investment to improved social housing in Cork City South Central as a key commitment in the programme for government.

“I’m delighted to see this being announced today. A further 96 Cork City Council housing units will be deep retrofitted for better heat and energy efficiency. There is ready to go retrofitting about to happen on Pearse Road in my electoral area and I welcome the additional money being given for more retrofitting of local authority housing,” he said.

Councillor Oliver Moran sees the investment as contributing greatly to increased quality of life for many in social housing.

“Warmer homes are better homes to live in and cheaper to heat. One of the most frequent issues raised by tenants are poor conditions because of cold, drafts, and damp. Local authorities can lead the way in both in climate action and improving living conditions for all,” he said.

The funding comes following an announcement from the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, the Minister for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke, and the Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan.

The programme for government 2020 set targets over the next 10 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, one of the key objectives is retrofitting over 500,000 homes by 2030, with 36,500 to be local authority-owned homes.

The Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme has been revised and enhanced for this year.

A spokesman for the department said homes will be made warmer, easier to heat as well as enhancing air quality.

People using oil or gas will see savings on energy bills.

Mr 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.”

Mr Burke said: “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.”

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