Credit Union Community Energy Loans Scheme & BEC 2015 Workshop for Contractors and Suppliers

Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency, 25/06/2015 – Venue: Hotel Kilkenny

25th June Workshop CELSCarlow Kilkenny Energy Agency in partnership with SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) and St Canice’s Credit Union Kilkenny hosted a conference on the Community Energy Loan Scheme. The conference was attended by many local building contractors to gain knowledge on the scheme from the guest speakers from CKEA, SEAI Ireland and the Credit Union. While Fintan O’Hora from Limerick Institute of Technology spoke about improving the quality of building work through a new pilot initiative “Qualibuild” designed to educate and inform all workers in the building sector.

  • The conference opened with an introduction from Paddy Phelan (CKEA) on the benefits that the scheme could bring to the local community by creating business and improving energy awareness and output. If credit union members need finance for their home to pass the energy test & want to be part of the Kilkenny Community Home Energy Scheme all they need to do is apply through St Canice’s CU.
    • Loan Rate is 6.4% (APR 6.6%)
    • SEAI grant value is 30% of the costs of the works
    • Grant administration is managed for you by CKEA (Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency)
  • Richard O’Connor (St Canice’s CU) stated that the scheme is a pilot for Kilkenny – 80 houses approx. (but not limited to) and if it is successful that the scheme will be implemented countrywide. Energy saving 977,150 kWh (.08c sale price to energy market). €1 million to lend before 23rd Oct 2015; when it’s gone: it’s gone. The loan rate is (APR 6.6%) Interest Rate and 30% grant rebate (25% SEAI & 5% from the sale of energy credits). The Member’s Property must be built in or before 2006 and can be for home or a property that is rented out. The types of work that are covered include but not exclusive to:
    • Attic or Wall Insulation
    • New boiler
    • Heating Controls
    • Stove without a back boiler
    • New Windows
    • External Door Replacement
    • Solar Panels

Full list of work covered can be found

  • Eddie Beer (SEAI) spoke about the role of SEAI within the Better Energy Finance programme. That they seek to develop options of financial solutions most appropriate for consumers wanting to upgrade their homes and avail of the resulting energy efficiency saving and organisations wanting to reap the rewards of increased energy efficiency in their business. CKEA/St. Canice’s pilot to be prototype, while contractors are expected to complete works to high quality assurance standards and that all contractors are to be approved SEAI registered.
  • Gary O’Connor (KSN Energy) highlighted the importance to ensure that all contractors carried out their work to the highest standards and followed the SEAI regulations to pass the Better Energy Homes Scheme – Inspection Process.

The objectives of the scheme are to:

  • Support homeowners in making intelligent choices to improve the energy performance of their home
  • Reduce energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Build market capacity and competence by driving contractor standards and quality
  • Stimulating market innovation

It was noted that many of the contractors attending the conference were unaware of the scheme and they found the presentations very insightful. Many were also positive that the conference would kick start the retrofits for homeowners through the favourable funding scheme.

  • The final speaker on the day was Fintan O’Hora from Limerick Institute of Technology Renewable Energy and Sustainable Building Research and Development. This pilot programme “Qualibuild” which aims to Upskill, Train and Improve the quality of building work throughout sites by improving energy awareness. The main areas to be targeted include
    • Mapping of existing workforce and existing qualification programs.
    • Identification of future needs for 2020
    • Analysis of which gaps and barriers must be overcome in order to train the workforce and reach the 2020 targets

The training pilot programme will comprehensively develop specialist training for each relevant craft. Develop specialist training for arising technician roles. Review, update and develop if needed new programmes for construction managers and site supervisors that will equip them with the necessary skills to manage the implementation of low energy buildings. Train the Trainers.

Fintan’s presentation was received favourably by the contractors and it was stated that such a programme would increase the quality of work throughout the industry and minimise low standards.



By Jonathan Griffin