Press Release – Low Cost Retrofit Loan Scheme

New survey reveals over two-thirds of homeowners seeking to retrofit their homes say they will need a loan

  • New research finds nearly half of homeowners (44%) are likely to carry out home energy improvements in their homes in the next two years
  • But two thirds (67%) say they will need a loan
  • The research comes as the Government today announces a new Retrofit Loan Scheme, allowing homeowners to borrow up to €75,000 for home retrofit upgrades at reduced rates

Wednesday, 24th April 2024: Homeowners considering retrofitting their houses for energy efficiency are presented with an unprecedented opportunity as the Government today announces the introduction of a groundbreaking Retrofit Loan Scheme.

This €500 million scheme is welcomed by Electric Ireland Superhomes as a significant step in helping homeowners afford to invest in energy efficiency measures by offering homeowners access to Government-backed, low-interest loans of up to €75,000.

PTSB is the first financial institution to offer the retrofit loan scheme, at an attractive rate of 3.55%. Other major lenders are set to follow. Such loans are designed to facilitate investments in retrofitting, ultimately making homes more energy-efficient, warmer, healthier and environmentally sustainable.

Homeowners can avail of the scheme subject to certain conditions. The works must be carried out by an SEAI registered ‘One Stop Shop’, energy partner, such as Electric Ireland Superhomes, or communities project coordinator. To avail of the loan any home energy upgrade must achieve a minimum 20% improvement in the energy performance of the building.

This comes at a crucial time, as recent Red C research commissioned by Electric Ireland Superhomes indicates that nearly half of homeowners (44%) are planning to carry out home energy improvements in their homes within the next two years. But two thirds (67%) of these homeowners say they are likely to need a loan to do these upgrades, underscoring the importance of this new loan scheme in overcoming financial barriers hindering progress towards energy-efficient homes.

“The new low-cost Retrofit Loan Scheme will be transformative for homeowners and for the entire retrofitting industry,” said Managing Director of Electric Ireland Superhomes, Stephen O’ Connor. “Everybody wants a comfortable warm home with low energy bills but despite the generous grants available from the SEAI, our research indicates that the upfront costs of a home energy upgrade is a significant barrier for homeowners who don’t have sufficient savings. This loan scheme will remove this barrier enabling more people to make their homes warmer, more comfortable, healthier, more sustainable and energy efficient,” he added.

Homeowners availing of this new retrofit loan scheme will have the opportunity to invest in home upgrades such as wall insulation, heat pump installation and correct air ventilation to achieve warmer and greener homes.

According to the Red C research, commissioned by Electric Ireland Superhomes, the most common energy upgrades are floor wall and roof insulations, followed by upgrades to windows and doors.

“Retrofitting more homes in Ireland is a key element of the Government’s plans for a transition to a low carbon society,” Mr. O’Connor continued Since it established in 2021, Electric Ireland Superhomes has carried out more than 900 deep retrofits in homes across Ireland, moving more than 90% of homes to an A BER rating. This new low-cost loan scheme will make a huge difference to many homeowners and will encourage more to carry out home energy upgrades,” he added.

Top five benefits to homeowners taking a low-cost loan to finance house retrofitting:

  1. Affordable Access to Retrofitting: The Retrofit Loan Scheme provides homeowners with affordable access to necessary upgrades, addressing the financial barrier faced by over half of homeowners who anticipate needing a loan for retrofitting.
  2. Energy Efficiency Savings: By investing in retrofitting measures with the help of low-cost loans, homeowners can realise savings on their energy bills over time, offsetting the cost of the loan.
  3. Increased Property Value: Retrofitting homes can potentially increase the value of the property, attracting environmentally conscious buyers. With a low-cost loan, homeowners can make these improvements with less financial strain.
  4. Environmental Impact: Retrofitting homes for energy efficiency contributes to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change. By utilising low-cost loans, homeowners can support environmental sustainability without funding the full upfront cost on their own.
  5. Improved Comfort and Health: Retrofitting measures such as better insulation and ventilation enhance indoor comfort and air quality, leading to a healthier living environment. By investing in these improvements through a low-cost loan, homeowners can improve their quality of life.

For more information on Electric Ireland Superhomes, visit electricirelandsuperhomes.ie, or follow us on Facebook, X, Instagram or LinkedIn.

 

How to know if your boiler needs replacing

Has the winter taken its toll on your boiler? Are you concerned about that strange noise or weird smell. It may be time to call the professionals. The team at Electric Ireland Superhomes tell us what to look out for and what to do.

Your boiler is a fundamental part of your home; however you’ve started to notice that it isn’t as efficient as it used to be and frequent boiler breakdowns have become a problem. We know boilers have a lifespan of 10–15 years, but how do you know if you need to replace yours? With the help from Electric Ireland Superhomes, we have listed the five signs and what you should do when it is time to replace your boiler with a new heating system.

⦁ Leaks or dripping pipes 
Your boiler should never leak. If there is a leak and your boiler is reaching its lifespan, you should consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient heating system.

⦁ Odd Smells 
If you smell a sulphurous, eggy odour something is wrong with your boiler and there’s probably a gas leak. What you first need to do is turn off your boiler and call the emergency gas line on 1800 20 5050.

⦁ Poor performance
You notice that your boiler isn’t behaving as it used to. If it takes a long time to heat up, or you’re continually adjusting the pressure, it’s time to get it checked and consider replacing it with a more sustainable and greener option.

 Frequent breakdowns
A freezing house is not something anyone wants to experience. If you have experienced this after a boiler breakdown, which probably also caused a lot of stress and added cost to your energy bills, you might need to consider a new heating system.

⦁ Banging or gurgling noises 
Boilers are noisy and most of the time the sounds and noises are nothing to worry about. However, if you notice your boiler making a kettling, banging, gurgling or clunking sound, this can be a sign of a more serious problem.

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Electric Ireland Superhomes secures research project funding under the SEAI (RD&D) Funding Programme.

Electric Ireland Superhomes is delighted to announce that our collaborative research project, BRIGHT (Behavioural Research to Inform Green Home Transformations), has been awarded funding under the SEAI RD&D Funding Programme.

The awards were unveiled by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), as part of grants totalling €20 million in Government funding for Energy Research and Development Projects.

In partnership with UCD and the ESRI, BRIGHT will leverage methods of behavioural science to inform the consumer retrofit journey. The projects will focus on:

i. identifying behavioural barriers to retrofitting with a focus on heat pumps,

ii. developing behavioural interventions, tools, and strategies to overcome these barriers, and

iii. testing the effectiveness of these approaches.

The ultimate aim of BRIGHT is to increase the number of retrofit projects, with a focus on heat pump adoption, aligned with our commitment to delivering over 30,000 home retrofits by 2030, and the National Energy & Climate Plan.

Commenting on the announcement Stephen O’Connor, Managing Director, Electric Ireland Superhomes, said: 

“We’re delighted to conduct this research alongside our partners, Dr. Leo Lades (UCD) and Dr. Shane Timmons (ESRI). While retrofitting homes makes economic and environmental sense, barriers still remain to mass adoption. The BRIGHT research will help us to better understand these barriers and to develop practical solutions to overcome them. Electric Ireland Superhomes is targeting 30,000 Heat Pump led Retrofits by 2030 and BRIGHT will inform our customer and roll out strategies”

Speaking about the SEAI Funding Programme, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, said: 

“I am delighted to see such a vast range of energy research projects awarded funding to explore new and innovative ways to lead Ireland’s energy transition. These projects will help us to continue working towards meeting the targets set out in the Climate Action Plan and help build a better, cleaner future for everyone.”

Margie McCarthy, Director of Research and Policy Insights at the SEAI added: 

“Investing in research and innovation is crucial to allow Ireland to transition to a clean and secure energy future and is one of the most important ways to develop new insights and extend our knowledge to overcome associated challenges. In supporting these projects, SEAI is excited to be contributing to new opportunities for knowledge generation, technological breakthroughs, process and product innovations, behavioural changes, and guidance for public policy makers.”

 

Retrofitting Benefits for Your Home with Electric Ireland Superhomes 

We often hear from clients that they are confused about the potential benefits of a retrofitted home as well as what exactly is involved during the retrofit process. Which is very understandable as beginning the process can be quite complex! At Electric Ireland Superhomes, we aim to provide comprehensive information as a reliable and registered SEAI One Stop Shop for a heat pump-led home retrofits. 

Comfort 

When we guide customers through their energy retrofit journey, we often hear one resounding benefit: comfort. The constant temperature and cosiness of the house are common feedback we get from customers after they have experienced the benefit of a home energy retrofit. Never again will you walk into a cold home at the end of the workday or need to worry about boiling water for the hot water bottles before bed.  

Property Value 

In a recent study conducted by the SCSI (Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland), 69% of agents said they believed BER ratings are an important or very important influence on the level of offer made on a property.  John O’Sullivan, Chair of the SCSI Practice and Policy Committee said that while they started out initially as a mere footnote on property brochures, they were now front and center in buyers’ thoughts. 

Constant Ventilation 

Our approach at Electric Ireland Superhomes, with a focus on heat pump-led retrofitting, ensures customers not only benefit from improved energy efficiency but also enjoy constant ventilation in their homes. While manual ventilation by opening your windows remains an option, the automatic and continuous ventilation through advanced ventilation systems provided by a heat pump-led retrofit adds to the home’s comfort and efficiency. 

Electric Ireland Superhomes 

As a One Stop Shop, Electric Ireland Superhomes’ experienced team looks after all the key stages of a home energy retrofit, from retrofit design, through to contractor selection, project completion and management of SEAI grant funding. Their aim is to provide quality assurance, peace of mind, and, when the retrofit is complete, the best home possible.   

Not only are you reducing your carbon footprint with a home retrofit, other benefits to your home’s energy efficiency include a warmer, cosier, healthier home with a consistent temperature, instant hot water and increasing the property’s value.  

Future proofing your home is easier than ever with Electric Ireland Superhomes and the significant grant funding available through SEAI.
 

For more information on Electric Ireland Superhomes and retrofitting, visit www.electricirelandsuperhomes.ie 

Make Your Home Energy Efficient with Electric Ireland Superhomes

Get ready for winter with Hugh Wallace’s energy-saving solutions. Hear more of his insights at the PTSB Ideal Home Show.

As winter approaches, there’s nothing quite like the cosy feeling of being wrapped up in a warm blanket, sipping on a hot cup of tea, and enjoying the comfort of your home. However, with the dropping temperatures, our homes can become cold and uncomfortable, prompting us to wonder how we can enhance home comfort while also being environmentally conscious.

As a Brand Ambassador for Electric Ireland Superhomes, I will introduce you to the home energy solutions I’ve explored and learned about through their fantastic team of experts, while work continues on my own home renovation.

Why Does Retrofitting Matter?

Retrofitting involves carrying out a number of energy upgrade measures in one installation to achieve a warmer, more comfortable, energy-efficient home with a BER rating of between B2 and A1. With Electric Ireland Superhomes, a home energy upgrade is done by looking at the overall effect of a combination of energy measures, which are designed in such a way that they work together successfully.

Each type of house requires a unique approach. In my case, I am renovating an old home with sustainability in mind, but there are tailored solutions for different types of houses based on your specific needs. I would say that the key to successful retrofitting is identifying areas of improvement to your home. Electric Ireland Superhomes, a heat pump-led home retrofit One Stop Shop, provides expert advice that can help you understand where your home could benefit from retrofitting.

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Our biggest bill was €11.50 on Christmas Eve. My entire bill is just a bit more than that this month’: Meet the home energy savers

Credit: Irish Times, Journalist Joanne Hunt

Summer is here, and with it hopefully some respite for those worried about energy costs. For others, the longer days mean monitoring solar panel apps, timing laundry and guessing their payout from selling electricity back to the grid.

Wexford homeowner Barry Glynn is a big fan of solar panels. Sixteen panels on his southeast-facing roof have grown to 20. “It’s an addiction. You just want more power. I didn’t actually need it, but you just want more.”

Retrofitting his home in Castletown, Co Wexford, wasn’t planned. When, post-honeymoon, he returned to a house flooded by a failed attic water tank, he decided to put the insurance money to good use. It paid to internally insulate the entire house bringing it up to a building energy rating (Ber) of C3. The solar panels from Clover Energy Systems added four years ago brought the house up to a B2.

“It was an investment in the future and in this current environment. By God, for once my decision was correct,” says Glynn.

His numbers are impressive. Along with the panels, Glynn invested in a battery that stores 10kW of solar power. “When the sun sets, the battery kicks in and runs everything in the house,” he says. “We’re in the good months now so from March to October I will buy no electricity.” He and his wife now plan their energy usage around the system. “We do certain things at certain times, it sounds onerous but it’s not. If you do that, you reap the rewards.”

How does it feel knowing his dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, fridge, showers and lighting are all running for free? “It gives you a feeling of being cutting edge. I look at every roof I see now and go, you need to have panels on that.”

Empowering Homeowners Towards a Sustainable Future: A Visit from Minister Eamon Ryan

We were delighted to have had the honour of hosting Minister Eamon Ryan on-site at one of Electric Ireland Superhomes retrofit projects in Galway. As a registered One Stop Shop under the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), our mission is crystal clear: to empower our customers in achieving warmer, healthier, and low-carbon homes. This vision is at the heart of everything we do.

At Electric Ireland, we are committed to making a positive impact on the environment and the lives of homeowners. Our whole house solution is a testament to that commitment. Our approach is simple yet revolutionary: we embrace fossil fuel-free, renewable energy technologies with a primary focus on heat pumps. This way, we can significantly reduce carbon emissions while providing the utmost comfort for our valued customers.

Being a SEAI-registered One Stop Shop is not just a label; it represents a seal of trust and quality. It demonstrates our dedication to meeting the highest standards set forth by the authority. When homeowners choose Electric Ireland for their retrofit project, they can rest assured that they are in capable hands.

Retrofitting a home is more than just an upgrade; it is a journey towards a brighter, eco-friendly future. Our team of experts is passionate about making this journey an enjoyable one for homeowners. From the initial assessment to the final installation, we are with you every step of the way. Your satisfaction and comfort are our top priorities.

We want to extend our gratitude to Minister Eamon Ryan for honouring us with his presence. His dedication to promoting sustainable energy aligns perfectly with our values at Electric Ireland Superhomes.

If you are considering a home retrofit or simply want to learn more about how you can make your home more sustainable, get in touch with us today! Together, we can build a greener, healthier, and more sustainable Ireland for generations to come.

Retrofitting your home: ‘The heat is retained for up to three days’

Credit: Irish Times, Journalist Colette Sheridan

 

Whether basic or more elaborate, getting work done on your house such as insulation, solar panels, a heat pump and an energy-efficient zoned heating boiler is environmental and cosy

Daniel Wyse and his partner live in a four-bed bungalow in Crosshaven, Co Cork. The house was built by Wyse’s partner’s father in 1999. It was always a cold house but, now that the attic and cavity walls have been insulated, the building energy rating (BER) has gone from D2 to B3. A new boiler with energy-efficient zoned heating was also installed.

The basic retrofit cost €2,750. Wyse says a grant of €300 was given for the attic and another €300 for the insulation of the walls. This work was done last August by Envirobead, an insulation contractor in Cork. Now, grants covering 80 per cent of the cost of minor works such as those carried out in his house are available. The new boiler cost €2,500 after a grant of €700 was awarded.

Wyse was spending a lot of money on coal for the back boiler. The new boiler uses oil. Ultimately, Wyse and his partner, who plan to move at sometime in the future, want a self-sufficient house. “But that won’t happen until there’s better technology. I’d love to have solar panels fuelling a heat pump, keeping the house warm at all times. We’ll see in years to come how much electricity the panels can gather.”

Describing himself as very environmentally conscious, Wyse studied environmental engineering at the former Cork Institute of Technology. He works in a pharmaceutical company.

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How to stop expensive heat leaking out your walls, windows and roof

Credit: Irish Times, Journalist Joanne Hunt

 

“If you’ve got savings, the SEAI’s One Stop Shop service brings bigger grants than if you were to complete upgrades one by one over time. Take the example of a semi-detached house built in 1981 with a Ber rating of E2. Using the SEAI’s One Stop Shop service, works including roof insulation, external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, new double-glazed windows, high performing doors, a heat pump, new radiators, solar PV and mechanical ventilation will bring it up to a B2 energy rating. The approximate cost would be €50,000-€69,000 depending on the size of the house, according to SEAI estimates. The One Stop Shop grant will cover about €27,300. If the homeowner had gone the individual energy upgrade grant route, the total value of the grant would be much less at €15,600. Bringing a E2-rated home up to a B2 could cut annual energy usage by about a third.”

“For anyone looking for that generational change or transformational change, the One Stop Shop, whole-house approach is going to suit them best. It isn’t cheap. It’s an investment, but that payback will last decades,” says Flannery.

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A retrofit one stop shop for AHBs and local authorities

Credit: Eolas Magazine,

Electric Ireland Superhomes is an SEAI registered one stop shop looking after all the key stages of a home energy retrofit, from design, contractor selection, project completion and management of SEAI grant funding to bring houses and apartments to a minimum of a B2 BER standard.

Electric Ireland Superhomes is a joint venture between Tipperary Energy Agency and ESB (Electric Ireland) established in 2021, with a vision ‘to empower our customers to achieve warmer, healthier, low-carbon homes with a renewable energy focused approach’. We are currently on track to achieve our target of retrofitting 35,000 homes by 2030.

Electric Ireland Superhomes delivers retrofit solutions with the support of a multi-disciplined staff of over 40 people comprising of retrofit advisors, energy engineers, surveyors, and BER assessors. We now have a dedicated team that specifically focuses on the multiples sector including housing owned and managed by local authorities, approved housing bodies, and non-corporate landlords. This team is led by Mike O’Rourke, who has over 28 years’ experience in building services engineering, with the last six years in the housing retrofit sector.

Electric Ireland Superhomes is currently involved in the retrofit of homes up to a minimum B2 BER rating for Carlow County Council, helping to achieve their targets as part of the Energy Efficiency Retrofit Programme. Stage one is near completion with 22 homes retrofitted, while stage two with 37 homes is scheduled to commence shortly.

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