If your home is a draughty, damp spot, you might reap big financial – and health – benefits from a deep retrofit, writes John Hearne
Deep retrofits, as they’re known, customise measures to bring a house from a sub-C BER up to an A rating. Whether it’s installing external insulation and mechanical heat recovery ventilation or pumping the walls and adding electricity generating photovoltaic (PV) panels to the roof, you’re looking at an investment in the order of €40,000 to €50,000. The good news is that the SEAI will grant aid 50pc of the cost.
The authority says that service providers upgraded 195 homes last year, with 39 done so far in 2019. That mightn’t sound like much, but we’re still at the pilot stage. All works to be completed this year are already scheduled. Applications are still being taken however, and there are no plans to discontinue the scheme.
So who is it aimed at? Fergal Cantwell, of Three Counties Energy Agency (3CEA) in Kilkenny, says that any property can be brought up to an A3 rating, which is the minimum aim of all works. For a small minority of property types however, the costs may be prohibitive. Cantwell puts old stone cottages in this category, noting that external wall insulation – one of the more expensive measures – may be the only way to effectively insulate.
For the vast majority of Irish homes, however, deep retrofits will transform comfort, deliver substantial savings and go a long way towards reducing our emissions.
“We take a ‘fabric first’ approach,” says Cantwell. “The first priority is getting your walls and attic insulated, and your windows and doors upgraded to improve your building envelope. Fossil fuels are not supported in the scheme, so in terms of heating systems, the most popular choice is a heat pump.”
This technology extracts latent solar heat from the air or the ground and uses electricity to boost that heat to a usable temperature.
3CEA team are currently accepting homeowners for Deep Retrofit Applications 2020. To express your interest, please complete our questionnaire and a member of our team will be in contact http://3cea.ie/deep-retrofit-programme/