The new venture between Electric Ireland and retrofit experts Tipperary Energy Agency aims to deliver up to 35,000 home retrofits over the coming years.
Home retrofits are all the talk these days as Ireland seeks to meet its lofty climate targets.
Under the Government’s Climate Action Plan, 500,000 deep retrofits are envisaged by 2030, which will require a rapid scaling up in retrofit activity.
A retrofit seeks to improve the energy efficiency of a home through things like better insulation or the installation of more energy-efficient heating systems.
The objectives are usually twofold: to help households use less energy and thereby save money on their gas and electricity bills, and to reduce our carbon footprint. Additional benefits are a warmer and more comfortable home and even an increase in the price of your property.
Most newer homes built from 2010 or so onwards shouldn't have to worry about a retrofit as they’ll already have a super-efficient Building Energy Rating (BER) of at least B.
However figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the average BER of homes constructed during the 70s, all the way up to the early 00s, have a much lower rating of C or below. These homes are often poorly insulated, subject to draughts, have inefficient heating systems and are expensive to heat.
But when it comes to carrying out a retrofit, homeowners often don’t know where to start and are faced with two main issues: how to finance it and how to manage it - which is what today’s announcement from Electric Ireland and Tipperary Energy Agency seeks to address.
Electric Ireland SuperHomes
Electric Ireland and Tipperary Energy Agency have teamed up today to create a new joint venture called "Electric Ireland SuperHomes’'.
Tipperary Energy Agency is an independent social enterprise that has huge experience in the area of energy transition and retrofitting and says it has advised on 30% of the deep retrofits delivered in Ireland to date.
The new venture aims to advise homeowners throughout all stages of their energy retrofit project by offering a so-called “one-stop-shop” service.
The service will cover:
- An independent, in-depth energy survey of your home
- A retrofit design
- The selection, appointment and supervision of a qualified building contractor for the works needed in your home
- The management of grants from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) including application and any related paperwork
Electric Ireland says it aims to deliver 35,000 deep retrofits by 2030 while the partnership will also directly create 200 jobs over the next five years as well as supporting the development of hundreds more jobs indirectly through building contractors and other partners.
What’s included in a retrofit?
The focus of Electric Ireland SuperHomes is on multi-measure retrofits throughout the entire home, rather than individual energy upgrades, with the aim of bringing homes up to a minimum BER of B2.
The main measures carried out in a SuperHomes retrofit are:
- The installation of an air-to-water heat pump as the primary heating system
- Airtightness improvements (reducing draughts, replacing windows and managing heat loss)
- Advanced ventilation for healthy air quality
- Wall and attic insulation to a high standard
Depending on the project and grants available, solar electricity panels (solar PV) may also be installed which will generate almost free electricity for use around the home.
What’s the cost of a retrofit?
A SuperHomes retrofit starts from around €30,000 and in 2020 the average cost of a full scale ‘deep’ retrofit was €56,000 according to Tipperary Energy Agency.
However a range of grants are available from the SEAI to help towards the cost, which you can read more about here.
According to Tipperary Energy Agency it secured grant funding for 100% of its customers in 2020, ranging from a minimum of €13,000 to a high of €22,000. The average grant was €17,300.
Commenting on the launch, Stephen O’Connor, Managing Director of Electric Ireland SuperHomes, said:
To meet Ireland’s ambitious climate aims we need to radically improve the energy performance of our built environment. Domestic heating accounts for 6 MT (million tonnes) of CO2 every year or about 10% of Ireland’s total emissions while 80% of our housing stock has a BER energy rating of “C” or worse. Living in a warm, healthy, energy efficient home is the aspiration of everyone but a retrofit project can be daunting and complex. Electric Ireland SuperHomes will be a trusted adviser to homeowners nationwide embarking on this journey.
Also welcoming the news was Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, who said:
I welcome today’s announcement by Tipperary Energy Agency and Electric Ireland to form Electric Ireland SuperHomes. Retrofitting Ireland’s housing stock is not only key to reaching climate neutrality, but it can also improve quality of life for homeowners and create high-quality, sustainable jobs in local communities throughout the country.
Your retrofit finance options
A deep retrofit isn't cheap of course and if you're considering one for your home you'll need to be able to finance any costs not covered by a grant.