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31/07/2021

Only 16% of Kilkenny homes reach high energy rating as Credit Unions on target to retrofit 2,000 homes

Only 16% of Kilkenny homes reach A or B energy rating as Credit Unions on target to retrofit 2,000 homes

Only 16% of Kilkenny homes reach A or B energy rating as Irish Credit Unions remain on target to retrofit 2,000 homes in 2021.

The Credit Union Development Association [CUDA], which currently runs Ireland’s first end-to-end home retrofit scheme – ProEnergy Homes, has partnered with Retrofit Energy Ireland (REIL) to secure grant funding support from the SEAI and has announced an expansion of the popular scheme, opening it up to all other credit unions.

Kevin Johnson, CEO of CUDA explained why the scheme is so popular with homeowners,

“As the trusted provider of financial services in communities throughout Ireland, credit unions are uniquely positioned to support the delivery of a one-stop-shop model for home energy retrofits. Recent CSO figures indicate that just 16% of dwellings in Kilkenny have a BER of either A or B, leaving a large percentage of the existing housing stock that would benefit from a home retrofit.

"A national project management firm (REIL) is appointed to oversee all surveys and works, grant funding of up to 35% is available from SEAI for all qualifying works and low-rate financing is made available for the balance of costs through the applicant’s local credit union.  To-date public demand for the scheme through participating credit unions has been strong, demonstrating people’s appetite for a ‘one-stop-shop’ model," he said.

The average amount spent is about €14,000 made up of grant, savings and borrowings. The most popular measures undertaken in 2020 were external wall insulation, new glazing. Multi zone boiler controls also proved very popular. The scheme covers retrofits to a range of energy systems, including attic insulation, external wall insulation, the installation of solar panels, and upgrades to windows, among others.

Mr Johnson added, “Presently, SEAI grants will fund up to 35% of the cost of your retrofit. In our experience of running the scheme, the cost to the average household of bringing their home up to the recommended B2 level rating will cost approximately €30,000 - €40,000. So, just accounting for 35% of that cost through grant aid will leave a bill of roughly €26,000 for works. We recommend homeowners to use some saving to help lower the cost of any additional borrowing to cover the remaining bill, or indeed to cover the full cost of works, depending on how much they have saved. For example, take a cost of €40,000 to get a home to a B2 rating – the 35% grant will cover €14,000, which leaves €26,000 for the homeowner to cover. If they have €10,000 saved – this reduces the amount to be financed by a ProEnergy loan to €16,000.”

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