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How can you make your home more energy efficient and what grants are available to the general household?

Jul 8, 2019

There has been a lot of talk about the Irish climate change action strategy, and it’s focus on renewable energy to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gases emissions. These 183 actions outlined in the CAP (climate action strategy) will affect the built environment of Ireland in some form or another. With the government’s ambitious plan to meet the EU’s targets and cut emissions by greenhouse gases by 2030, and there focus on renewable energy to do so, the question remains how is the average household in Ireland going to adapt to these changes in the future?

According to the building energy regulations (BER) all homes have an energy rating from A – G. A being the home with the best energy efficiency and the lowest electricity bill. In Ireland a BER certificate is compulsory for all homes and must be displayed when selling or renting a home. To get a BER rating click here for more info.

How to improve your BER rating and energy efficiency.

In Ireland we spend 60% more on electricity than the EU average per year, but there are many simple ways in which you can make your home more energy efficient.

Insulation

Simple but very effective insulating your home will increase its energy efficiency dramatically.

Types of insulation include;  

Attic insulation – 25% of the heat is lost through the roof of your home.

Cavity wall insulation – Quick, effective and simple to install. 35 % of the heat is lost through gaps and walls of the home.

Internal wall/ dry line insulation –   Ideal for most homes built before 1930, with a 9-inch solid brick.

External wall insulation – This does not change the internal appearance of the home, therefore may be of preference when choosing a type of insulation.

Change the windows and doors

After we take away the 25% heat loss from the roof and the 35% from the walls, the remaining 40% of heat loss comes from the windows, doors and floors in your home.

Updating your windows and doors can have a positive effect on its energy efficiency. Alternatively, you can draft proof around these areas with DIY products like filler, weather and brush strips. These simple and quick changes can save you energy and money.

Install a heating timer switch

One of the easiest changes you could make is to use a heating timer switch in your home.  Control both the time and temperature and program it to your daily routine to optimise your heating usage.  

Cover your water heater

Minimise heat loss in domestic hot water tanks. Ensure you have hot water for longer by covering your water heater with a type of installation. This helps the boiler to retain the tempature of the water and therefore less energy will be used.

Make sure your boiler is efficient

Most new boilers have a 90+ energy efficiency rating, older boilers sit around the 65+ mark. You do not have to replace your boiler but getting It checked and serviced will maximum its energy efficiency.

LED bulbs

Yes, it can be as simple as changing a light bulb. Changing inefficient bulbs to LED’s can save as much as 90% of energy costs

Solar panels

Since you will be meeting some of your energy needs with the electricity your solar system has generated, your energy bills will reduce. How much you save will be dependent on the size of the solar system you install.  Furthermore, in the future you may not only be saving on your electricity bills, there is also a possibility you will receive payments for the surplus energy that you export back to the grid.

Install a heat pump

As this is considered a renewable heat source, not only is it more environmentally friendly it will save you money as they are less costly to run and provide a comfortable living temperature. Heat pumps are up to 30pc cheaper to run than gas or oil boilers.

What grants are available?

SEAI GRANTS     

What grants are available?

SEAI Grants

Other grants Available to Homeowners;

Super Homes Retro Fit grant

This grant is available to all homeowners wishing to improve the BER rating and energy efficiency of their home. This grant is for houses rated D1 or below (some C3 homes may also be eligible).

There are three Minimum Mandatory Measures to be undertaken when availing of this grant.

  1. Renewable Primary heating system (air source heat pump)
  2. Advanced ventilation (heat recovery or demand controlled ventilation)
  3. Air permeability reduction.

Other relevant energy efficient measures may apply.

The overall costs will vary depending on the works required and the house size, but the average cost is between €40’000 – €60’000.

The full cost of works will be revealed in the Energy Report after the Home Survey is complete. The fee for the survey and report is €475 minimum. This grant offers 50% financial support toward the retro fit. The project will need to be completed from start to finish in less than 3 months from date of commencement.

To find out more about the Super Homes Retro Fit grant click here.

Better Energy Community grant (BEC)

This grant is for a larger scale retro fit project.

It is for larger scale projects where a group of homes/buildings constructed after 2006, look to make their community more energy efficient. Partnership among the community is essential for a successful application, this grant can be beneficial for many people in the community.

The BEC grant offers 30% financial support for upgrades across all building types. In a bid to reduce energy use and costs throughout the area. This grant is available to everyone, with a €31 million grant support available for community energy projects.To find out more please Click here.

If you found this article informative please check out our other articles – 7 essentials of a healthy home