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Midlands Retrofit Programme for Local Authority Homes 2020

The Government is funding a 20 million euro scheme of energy upgrade (retrofit) works to houses owned by local authorities (that is, councils) in the Midlands. The scheme aims to make these homes warmer, more comfortable and more efficient to heat. The works will also help protect householders’ health. The retrofit programme is part of the Government’s Climate Action Plan. The scheme is being directly funded by the Carbon Tax.

Under the programme, selected council-owned houses in the Midlands region will be retrofitted to a Building Energy Rating (BER) of “B2” (or to a cost-optimal level). These retrofits’ aim to improve the heating and comfort of the whole home. Works typically involve insulation of attics, walls and roofs; upgrading of windows and doors; replacement of heating systems; and the installation of LED lighting. They usually result in the Building Energy Rating (BER) of a house improving from a D- or E-rating to a B2.

The benefits include:

  • It becomes easier to heat all rooms in a house.
  • There is improved comfort through the elimination of cold draughts and dampness.
  • With no ash from solid fuel boilers, indoor air quality is improved. This benefits householders’ health.
  • Outdoor air quality is improved, benefiting the community’s health. 
  • Efficient heating systems are more convenient to use. They end the need to remove ash from solid fuel fires. When warming a home, there is no longer the need to regularly feed a solid fuel boiler or open fireplace with fuel.
  • Houses with heat pumps release less carbon dioxide from heating than those heated by fossil fuels (like peat, coal or oil). This helps combat climate change. About 40% of Ireland’s energy-related carbon emissions are from buildings.     

These works are particularly beneficial for those in low-income households, which often spend a higher proportion of income on fuel than an average household. The transition to low-carbon living is often a greater challenge for low-income households.

What homes will be chosen for ‘retrofitting’?

Each of the councils involved in the programme will chose groups of houses (‘clusters’) in certain areas to be retrofitted’. This ‘clustering’ will help to ensure that the scheme is cost efficient and has greater impact.

When will the works be done?

In the second half of 2020, the councils will survey selected houses to see what works are needed. After surveying a house, the council will plan the works and inform the householder when works will begin. 

The councils will give householders as much advance notice and information as possible about planned surveys and works. The councils will try and make the works as convenient as possible for householders. To minimise the risk of COVID-19, councils have revised their standard operating procedures for carrying out maintenance and inspections of local authority homes. These guidelines are in line with public health advice.

Social housing tenants do not need to contact their council. Any household chosen for works will be contacted.

People can get more information about retrofitting on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website.