By Cate McCurry, PA
Homeowners will be able to apply for grants to cover up to half of the cost for deep retrofit of their homes under plans rubberstamped by the Government.
The Cabinet signed off on plans for the home insulation scheme on Tuesday.
The National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme aims to retrofit 500,000 homes to B2 Building Energy Rating (BER) standard by 2030, representing almost a third of the country’s housing stock.
The scheme also has a target of installing 400,000 heat pumps.
Government officials have described it as one of the biggest and most challenging capital infrastructure projects in the state.
Under Government plans, householders can apply for grants over more than €25,000 to help pay towards increasing their home’s energy efficiency.
The scheme will cover almost half the cost – of around 45 to 51 per cent – to complete a deep retrofit of a house to bring it to a B2 rating.
The Government hopes the package of supports will make it easier and more affordable for homeowners to upgrade their homes.
The measures are also aimed to address barriers to undertake energy upgrades.
The scheme is being delivered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Under the plans, there will be an increase in the number of free energy upgrades for those at risk of energy poverty, up to 400 per month from an average of 177 per month.
There are also plans to create “one stop shops”, which allow people to upgrade their homes all in one go.
Government officials say it is a simplified process for homeowners.
Other homeowners can opt to have individual measures carried out. In these cases, people pay the contractor the full amount for the works and claim the grant back from SEAI.
It is expected that the grants would be paid out a couple of weeks after the works are completed.
There are also grants of up to 80 per cent for those who want minor works completed, including insulating attics. .
The retrofit scheme is part of the Government plans to cut emissions from the sector in half.
However, there are concerns supply chain skills will not be sufficient to deliver on the level of activity needed.
The Government has acknowledged there needs to be a rapid increase in the number of firms that can carry out the retrofits, as well as an increase in skilled workers, contractors and trades people.
The individual measures will available via the SEAI website on Tuesday evening.
Applications are expected to go live by the end of the week.