Government ‘must intervene on energy costs’, says Cork expert

It comes as the Government was given a ‘C’ grade for its performance on climate and the environment
Government ‘must intervene on energy costs’, says Cork expert

Speaking to The Echo, energy specialist Michael O’Brien said that the Government should intervene in the current cost of electricity and offered suggestions as to ways in which people can be supported in upgrading their homes to become more environmentally friendly

An energy specialist from Cork has weighed in on ways in which the Government can intervene to improve the environment and help people with the cost of electricity.

It comes as the Government was given a ‘C’ grade for its performance on climate and the environment.

Academic experts who assessed performance against the promises made in the Programme for Government (PfG) awarded the coalition a C, down from a C+ last year.

The research, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, looked at how Ministers performed across nine categories, and found declines in climate, water and energy progress, but improvements on nature, biodiversity and transport.

Speaking to The Echo, energy specialist Michael O’Brien said that the Government should intervene in the current cost of electricity and offered suggestions as to ways in which people can be supported in upgrading their homes to become more environmentally friendly.

“It’s virtually impossible for someone to do a full upgrade of their house. It will cost about €50,000 and there are very few people who can come up with that kind of money.

“If you want to put in solar panels to save electricity and help the environment it would cost you about €15,000 and again, that’s beyond the reach of most people.

“The Government is not explaining how you could pay back for solar panels to generate electricity.

“I suggest that for people who want to upgrade the house who haven’t the money to do so there should be some sort of preferential loan put in place that they pay back over 10 or 15 years and it would reduce the burden of the cost and at the same time improve the environment by reducing the carbon footprint.” 

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Advising people on how best to make their homes more environmentally friendly while saving money on energy bills, Mr O’Brien said: “The first thing everyone has to look at with the house is to ensure it’s insulated properly, that the attic and walls are insulated.

“Anywhere where there is a draft you seal it off too. There’s no point in putting in the likes of solar panels to generate electricity and it all being wasted.

“Then people can upgrade the external fabrics of the house including windows and doors.

“Washing machines and dishwashers should also be at the top of the range from an energy point of view,” he said.

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