Grants of more than $25,000 will be offered to individual households to help pay for deep renovations to their homes under the largest home insulation program ever offered in the state.
Environment Minister Eamon Ryan will announce details of a new home energy upgrade program for private homes on Tuesday which will cover almost half the cost (45-51%) of a deep renovation which would improve the energy efficiency of a dwelling to a high level. B2 classification.
One of the biggest hurdles for households so far has been the high upfront construction costs associated with upgrading poorly insulated buildings.
Senior sources in government have confirmed that under Mr Ryan’s flagship scheme, significant grants will be available to eligible households. For example, the State will contribute €26,000 out of the €53,000 for major renovation work on an average semi-detached house with hollow buildings classified as E2. Upgrading the rating from E to B would reduce heating bills by up to two-thirds, resulting in substantial savings each year.
The government program has set ambitious targets to modernize 500,000 homes to B2 standard by 2030 and install 400,000 heat pumps. Nearly 5 billion euros of the 9.5 billion euros of additional funds raised by carbon taxes will be targeted on domestic efficiency.
A key part of the plan will be a network of “one-stop shops” across the state that will provide streamlined end-to-end service to homeowners. It would cover the application process, access to finance and construction work.
In addition to grants, it is understood that the government will also provide low-interest loans to homeowners.
Although the government is mainly focusing on deep renovations, 80% grants will also be available for households that opt for more minor works, such as insulating attics or cavity walls, reducing the overall cost of these. works at a few hundred euros.
The new program will be presented to cabinet by Mr Ryan, the leader of the Green Party, on Tuesday for approval by ministers.
The program will pay fixed subsidies for each measure carried out, such as the installation of heat pumps, insulation of ceilings and walls, work on doors and exterior openings.
The Irish Times understands that an expanded scheme of free energy upgrades will also be available to low-income households who are at risk of energy poverty.
“The level of subsidies we are talking about here is unprecedented. We are not just talking about cutting heating bills this year, but every year in the future,” a Green Party source in government said on Sunday.
A total of €352 million has been allocated this year for energy upgrade programs, but funding will be increased over the next few years as deployment ramps up. In total, 8 billion euros have been allocated within the framework of the National Development Plan until 2030 with the objective of carrying out 500,000 energy renovations of housing. However, the overall renovation bill for this number of dwellings would amount to 25 billion euros, based on an average of 20,000 euros per dwelling.
“The certainty around NDP funding will give the construction industry the confidence to really support this. They can hire additional staff knowing the money is there for the future,” the source added.
“Low-interest loans for this work will also be announced later this year. Coupled with the higher subsidies on offer, loan repayments are likely to be similar to the savings people will see on their bills. This will give people warmer homes at very little cost.
In addition, Taoiseach Micheál Martin insisted that there will be no “mini-budget” to meet the challenge of soaring fuel and energy prices, effectively excluding any reduction in VAT or increase in social protection. He said a government program to mitigate rising costs for families would be announced by the end of the week and would focus on possible reductions in charges for utilities or other services.
He said there had to be “a balance between targeting and speed, because we understand that people are suffering the impact of inflation at the moment.”
“We’re going to look at a range of charges that impact people, particularly healthcare costs, transport costs to see what we can do quickly. Some may be one-off, others may be more sustainable in terms of reducing burdens on people,” he told RTÉ Radio 1’s This Week program.