Its about my thoughts feelings on just about everything, from Advertising to Zoology ..ok haven't gotten that far yet

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Irish Government announces national insulation programme for economic recovery

The Irish Governement today 8th February 2009, announced a new €100 million investment program to assist home owners to increase the energy efficiency of their homes through insulation.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley today launched the national insulation programme for economic recovery. The three-strand insulation programme will cut heating bills for householders, reduce carbon emissions and create thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly over the course of 2009.

Announcing the investment Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said, “This programme will provide a welcome boost to the economy. Central to Government spending in sustainable energy is to get the economy back on track. We need to replace the spending and lending that has contracted and re-focus our public and private investment.

Insulation makes homes warmer and more comfortable. Householders can expect to have their heating bills with reductions of €700 per annum. This means more money in their pockets. Construction workers will benefit from the thousands of jobs these measures we create. These will be jobs for trades-people throughout the country.

In our current economic climate we need direction and radical thinking. This insulation programme saves energy, saves money and creates jobs. This is what our people, our homes and our economy need at this time”

This is an excellent program, infact I was thinking about getting further insulation in my home this year, but was worried as I work for myself that the money put in would take several years to pay for itself. And with the current economic conditions and the "fear" (I am not too worried but...) that money will be a bit slower in collecting this year any investment with several years of return is more risky. But with this new initative it is now a no brainer for me and hopefully I will qualify, then its straight to BER Ratings company Ber Necessties for my BER Assesment. Hopefully I will score enough to get a reasonable grant. >:¬}

It will also help reduce my monthly heating bill which is now over €200 per month during winter thanks to the Mad gas prices.. Ok I would say a lot of these grants are been funded by the extra monies the Irish Government has taken in from the fuel pumps these last few months now that the price per barrell has reduced to something akin to what it was almost 4 years ago but the price at the pump is almost 60% that what it was then... but thats just the cynical part of me thinking that. Atleast they are givining it back in some form. So this kind of taxation I do not mind.

The programme will consist of a number of grant schemes:

The Home Energy Saving Scheme (private middle income homes) - €50 million

Warmer Homes Scheme and Local Authority housing (low income private homes and rented local authority housing) - €50 million

Grants to support a range of improvements will be available.

The Home Energy Saving Scheme (middle income private homes):

Application process:

  • It is expected that the scheme will open for homeowner applications in March 2009. At that time, applications can be made through Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), online at or by post on forms which will be available on request by ringing 1890 927 000.
  • SEI are now accepting expressions of interest in participating in the scheme. Homeowners who have expressed an interest in the scheme will be advised when the formal application process is available.
  • After registering with SEI, homeowners can immediately arrange for a BER assessment to be carried out, if they wish, without awaiting from grant approval. However, the grant for the BER will only be payable after upgrade measures and follow up BER are completed. Applicants must complete the formal application form and await written grant approval before having upgrade measures carried out.


  • The scheme is aimed at older houses that would not typically have the energy efficiency features of recently built homes. The scheme is open to all houses built prior to 2006. Houses built from 2006 onwards should be built to the Building Regulations 2002 standard, which specifies high quality insulation and heating controls


The objectives of the Home Energy Saving Scheme are:

(1) To reduce energy use and CO2 emissions from the existing housing stock, and

(2) To support the development of the energy services industry in Ireland.

Eligible measures:

The table below sets out:

· the eligible measures and the set grant amounts available.

· the typical improvement in BER rating that could be expected from each individual measure, done in isolation. Note that in estimating the total potential BER improvement, if the full range of measures is installed, the potential BER improvements for each measure should not be added together.

· the typical payback period for each measure, arising from energy saved.


Grant rate

Typical net BER improvement

Typical payback (years)

Roof Insulation




Cavity Wall Insulation




Internal Wall Insulation




External Wall Insulation




High efficiency boiler plus heating control upgrade




Heating control upgrade only


15 -25%


Building Energy Rating


Minimum investment:

  • A minimum level of investment is required of householders to participate in the scheme. Householders must avail of measures (excluding BER) involving a minimum grant payment of €500 for a first application. This means that householders cannot avail of a grant for roof insulation or cavity wall insulation only. These low cost measures must be undertaken together or with another measure.

Heating controls and boilers

  • To avail of the €500 grant for heating controls, a homeowner must install a range of time, temperature and zone controls on their heating system and electric immersion water cylinder. This low cost measure can improve a home’s BER rating by up to 25%, yet has a payback of only 4 to 5 years.
  • While heating controls can be added to an existing heating system, it is particularly attractive to any homeowner replacing their boiler to also install heating controls at that time. Under the Building Regulations 2008, anybody replacing an existing oil or gas boiler must install a condensing boiler with a minimum seasonal efficiency of 86%. Condensing boilers with an efficiency of up to 95% are available on the market. This additional efficiency can lead to significant savings. A grant of €200 towards the cost of these higher efficiency boilers is available to any homeowner who is also installing heating controls.

Wall insulation options

  • To insulate the walls of their home, owners may have a choice of cavity wall, internal or external insulation, depending on the construction of their home. Homeowners should seek professional advice on which option is most suitable for their home.
  • Where a house has a suitable cavity, then cavity wall insulation is the most economical investment. Where this is not possible the options are either internal dry lining or external insulation. Internal dry lining, while considerably less expensive than external insulation, will ultimately reduce somewhat the internal habitable space of the home and may not be practical where there is decorative internal plasterwork. External wall insulation may prove preferable where a significant upgrade to the external facade is already envisaged. Both may result in additional works in order to reinstate electrical, plumbing and glazing fixtures.

Building Energy Rating

  • A BER assessment is not required for participation in the scheme. However, a BER carried out prior to works can provide useful advice to a homeowner on the upgrade measures he or she needs to take to improve the home’s energy efficiency. A BER conducted after the measures are finished can establish the impact of the works and give the homeowner comfort regarding their investment.
  • To avail of the BER grant of €200, a homeowner must have a BER assessment conducted before and after works. Anybody wishing to secure the services of a registered BER assessor can find details at Homeowners should shop around for the best price.


  • SEI will be registering contractors for participation in the scheme on the basis of commitments to a range of Terms and Conditions, including specified competence and experience requirements, as well as specified tax and insurance criteria. Contractors should contact SEI on 1850-927000 or at for further details and to receive application forms. Alternatively, log onto

The Warmer Homes Scheme (low income or for those on a social welfare allowance):

The Warmer Homes Scheme is part of the Low Income Housing Programme, administered by SEI. The Scheme was introduced in 2002 and provides funding, through community based organisations, to those on low income for the installation of energy efficiency measures in their homes. Already, up to 9,750 energy efficiency improvements have been made including upgrading the fabric of the building with attic insulation, cavity wall insulation, draught proofing the home and provision of lagging jackets. Homes that receive the full suite of available measures under the current scheme will have the potential to achieve energy savings of up to 50%.

There are currently twenty community based organisations involved in the Scheme. All homes will receive a “Keep Well, Keep Warm” booklet shortly and a website will be available. Applicants should see for further detail on how to apply to community groups involved.

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