Saturday, 14 February 2009


New Grants Available to Help Insulate Local Homes

INISHOWEN'S Green Party candidate, Sheenagh McMahon welcomed the announcement made earlier this month by the Energy Minister, Eamon Ryan that €100 million in new grants are available to make homes more energy efficient. This eco-friendly scheme will not only help local economies, through creating jobs but will also make homes warmer, more comfortable and cheaper to heat.

Sheenagh urges local homeowners to take up the new grants that are going to be split evenly between public and private householders and will target homes built before 2006. National Insulation Programme

"The new national insulation programme has the potential to create hundreds of lasting, local jobs. Householders who take advantage of the scheme can expect to reduce their heating bills by up to €700 per year," said Ms McMahon. "The scheme will open to the public in March, and I urge homeowners particularly those with older homes and big energy bills to register their interest now with Sustainable Energy Ireland. Householders should also think about arranging a Building Energy Rating Assessment, which will highlight the type of work that will bring about the best cost and energy savings," she continued adding that the measures make "total sense" in the current economic climate.

"The refurbishment of our local authority housing will also tackle the scourge of fuel poverty, particularly during cold weather. Heating will not be wasted going out the roof or up the chimney. Reducing energy use and CO2 emissions will also help us meet our climate change targets. This is a programme that benefits our economy, the environment and the householder at the same time," added the Buncrana-based candidate.

The national insulation programme, administered through Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) hope to benefit 50,000 homes throughout the country.

The money is being split in half with €50 million a piece for private and council housing. Under the home energy scheme, targeted at private middle-income homes, householders will get grant aid of between €500 and about €5,000 for improvements carried out on the insulation of their homes. The lowest grant available is €250 for improved attic insulation, which will provide 30% of the cost for a typical suburban house for the work. The largest single grant is a €4,000 contribution to work on external wall insulation. This will contribute an estimated 21% for the €19,000 cost for a typical home. Householders are entitled to avail of all the grants that are applicable to their own situation. Between €500 - €700 will be available for heating control upgrades and €200 will be paid towards the building energy rating assessment.

Estimates provided by the Department say that most of the investments can be fully recouped within six years, save for wall insulation, which will take between seven and 20 years, depending on the house.
The Green Party Energy Minister, Eamon Ryan has already spoken to four of the main banks to persuade them to lend to homeowners getting involved in the programme and has received positive feedback.
“There is a lot of support. They see that it makes sense. It’s an attractive prospect. Banks have a real opportunity and role here to make up the amount. This is the best lending that you can do,” he said.

Professor Wilson from Sustainable Energy Ireland said that they would begin a registration programme immediately for contractors with the required competence to carry out such works.
The other €50 million will expand the existing Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS) for low income households and a scheme aimed at social housing. WHS is currently being locally administered by Action Inishowen. Upgrades available include the provision of lagging jackets, attic insulation, cavity wall insulation and draught-proofing.

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