€30m of Energy Grants available to homes and businesses through ‘Better Energy – The National Upgrade Programme’
Better Energy is a major step forward in Government’s retrofitting programme. As part of the Jobs Initiative, the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources has announced:
– An additional €30M in Government funding in 2011
– The streamlining of programmes to offer a more accessible experience for consumers
– The involvement of the energy companies as partners
– The start of the process of moving to new financial models such as pay as you save
What is Better Energy?
Put simply, Better Energy is a programme designed to ensure that there are more opportunities for householders and businesses to reduce their energy consumption leading to real and lasting cost savings.
Better Energy builds upon what was good about the existing grant schemes and adds a role for energy suppliers, a transition to an upfront discount rather than a retrospective grant and a national pay-as-you-save scheme.
Better Energy will replace the three existing programme: Home Energy Saving Scheme (HES), Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS) and Greener Homes Scheme (GHS), under one umbrella.
What benefits will the changes bring?
The extra money given to the programme will support an additional 2,000 jobs in 2011, and deliver an extra 20,000 home upgrades. The €30M will leverage at least another €30M in private investment, and bring total energy savings worth €200M over their lifetime.
Better Energy is a major step forward as it brings all energy companies in as partners. All sellers of energy (over a minimum size) will be involved: ESB, Bord Gais, Airtricity, to oil companies and solid fuel suppliers. These companies will now have formal targets to deliver energy efficiency upgrades, the size of their target being linked to their share of the market
What does this mean for me?
Most people could improve their comfort and reduce their energy bills by upgrading the energy efficiency of their home. Actions include improving insulation, upgrading the boiler or installing better heating controls.
Upgrades make economic sense given that heating bills can often be halved and so over a number of years the savings add up to more than the initial outlay.
Government grants cover about one third of the cost of typical upgrade measures, and are proving very popular. More than 1,000 upgrades are being carried out every single week.
A typical family, spending €1,000 every year to heat the home, can choose from a range of measures, from attic or wall insulation, to upgrading the boiler and heating controls. The cost of the work will range from €2,000 for a simple upgrade to more than €15,000 for a comprehensive package. Grants of up to €5,560 are available. The family can shop around among contractors to get the best price. Their home will be noticeably more comfortable as soon as the work is complete, and they will also save as much as half of their annual heating bill.