What grants are available to help you with energy efficiency home improvements?
1. What energy efficiency grants are available in Ireland?
Grants for energy-efficient home improvements are available in Ireland through the government-funded SEAI. With mounting pressure to tackle climate change, the Government is keen to encourage homeowners to reduce carbon emissions and, as a result, the grants have become increasingly generous. For example, grants of up to €8,000 are available to homeowners wishing to improve insulation. The amount you can claim depends upon the size of your property and your overall outlay – the grants are only intended to cover a proportion of your spending. However, homeowners living on islands that are not connected by bridge to the mainland may be entitled to 50% higher grants. And wherever you live, if you receive welfare payments, you may be eligible for a Fully Funded Energy Upgrade (see 1.4).
1.1 What are Individual Energy Upgrade Grants?
Individual Energy Upgrade Grants apply to individual home improvement projects that will improve energy efficiency. There are grants available to help fund the following:
- Attic insulation
- Wall insulation
- Heating controls
- Heat pumps
- Solar water heating
- Solar PV panels
In order to qualify, you must be a landlord or homeowner and your home must have been built or occupied before 2011 (or before 2021 in the case of heat pumps). However, the SEAI may also deem that some houses built before 1940 are ineligible. You must also ensure that your grant claim is approved before commencing work, manage the project yourself and payfor the full cost of the work. The grant then follows 4-6 weeks afterwards. Alternatively, you can apply for the grant via the contractor that is going to carry the work out (see 1.2).
1.2 Can the company carrying out my home improvements apply for the grant on my behalf?
Yes. Go Green partners can apply for Individual Energy Upgrade Grants on your behalf. It’s a process they are used to managing and it can save you time and hassle. The grant goes directly to them and is then passed on to you as a discount on your final bill. There may be a small charge for this service.
1.3 What is the SEAI One Stop Shop Service?
The SEAI also has a directory of ‘one-stop’ contractors who can provide a wide package of energy upgrades and manage the process (and the grant applications) for you. A broader range of grants is available if you take this route, and the grant value is simply deducted from the total cost of works. However, to be eligible, you must be looking to make what the SEAI describes as “substantial energy upgrades to your home... perhaps costing in the range €30,000-€60,000”. You must also be committed to attaining a minimum BER of B2.
1.4 What are Fully Funded Energy Upgrades?
For those who qualify, this is a fully funded and managed service to upgrade your home. It can include attic insulation, wall insulation (cavity, external and internal), secondary work such as lagging jackets, draught proofing and energy-efficient lighting, plus (occasionally) new heating systems and windows.The service is open to homeowners whose home was built and occupied before 2006. However, homes built and occupied before 1993 with an existing BER of E-G are currently being prioritised. Also, to qualify you must receive one of the following welfare payments: Fuel Allowance (as part of the National Fuel Scheme), Job Seekers Allowance, Working Family Payment, One-Parent Family Payment, Domiciliary Care Allowance, Carers Allowance (and live with the person you are caring for) or Disability Allowance (for over six months and have a child under seven years of age).
2. How much can I claim?
There is a huge variety in the sums that you can apply for – see the SEAI website for full details (and terms & conditions). If your property has already been the subject of an energy improvement grant, you may not be eligible.
Here are some examples of what is available. Attic insulation ranges from €800 for an apartment to €1,500 for a detached house. Wall insulation varies according to the size of property and whether it’s cavity internal or external insulation, and ranges from €700 to €8,000.
Solar PV grants are awarded according to the kWp of the system that you install. kWp means ‘kilowatt peak’ and specifies the amount of kilowatts that will be generated when the panel is working at maximum capacity. You can currently claim €900 per kWp up to 2kWp, then €300 for every additional kWp up to 4kWp. The total Solar PV grant is capped at €2,400.
Grants for heat pumps vary according to the type of pump and the size of property. The funds available range from £3,500 to £6,500.
Fixed grants are available for solar water heating (€1,200) and heating control upgrades (€700).
If you’re carrying out insulation work, you may also be able to apply for tax relief on costs not covered by the grant. Find out more here.
3. How do I apply for an SEAI home improvement grant?
If you decide to manage your own home energy upgrade, you can apply for grants directly through the SEAI website or by post. As covered in 1.2, you can also arrange for your works contractor to apply for the grant on your behalf.If you choose to apply via the SEAI website, these are the steps you will go through. It’s a relatively simple process.
3.1 Choose your options
Decide which energy upgrades and grants you want to apply for. If grants have previously been granted to your property, you may not eligible. If you are unsure, you can check by calling the SEAI helpdesk on 01808 2004. You will need to provide your Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) – an 11-digit number found in the top-right-hand corner of your electricity bill. At this stage, you should also carry out a BER assessment and use the Advisory Report attached to the BER report as the energy upgrade plan for your home.
3.2 Select your contractor
Your contractor must be SEAI-registered (which all Go Green partners are) – but also ensure they are registered for the specific service you require of them. Check out the Go Green partner directory. You must have a contract in place before advancing with the application.
3.3 Submit your grant application
Again, you will need your MPRN number and the name of your contractor. According to the SEAI website, you will be approved (or otherwise) “in minutes”. If you apply by post, you should receive an offer within five working days. Either way, you then have 30 days to accept the offer. You must do this before commencing the work.
3.4 Get the work done
You have eight months from the date of the grant offer to get the work completed by your designated SEAI-registered contractor and complete the paperwork. Within this period, you must also pay the contractor or have a financial agreement in place, as well as arranging for a registered BER Assessor to complete your post-works assessment and publish your certification.
3.5 Request payment
You will receive a form in the post called a Declaration Of Works – one for each energy grant you’re claiming. This needs to be completed by yourself, your contractor and the BER Assessor. You also need to complete a Request for Payment form. Alternatively, these forms can now be completed online. In some cases, the SEAI may check that the specified work has been carried out correctly. Payments are generally provided 4-6 weeks after application.