As part of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, 500,000 homes need to be retrofitted by 2030. Grants and schemes bridge the gap to support homeowners in increasing their energy efficiency.

According to Susan Andrews, marketing campaigns manager with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), many homeowners are engaged and aware of available grants and the benefits of home energy upgrades but there is still a lot of confusion.

“The most common question asked is ‘where do I start?’,” she says. “People know they have a cold and drafty house, but might not know what they need to do to address that. We give independent advice to help homeowners start their journey.”

So whether you’re living in an old farmhouse and want to fix a draft or you have a bunglaow needing a full upgrade, there are a plethora of supports available.

Susan Andrews, Marketing Campaigns Manager, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Where to start?

It is important to lead with efficiency. There is no point investing thousands on upgrading your system if you won’t see and feel the results. Every house is different, so you need to ascertain how your house is performing. Start by getting a Building Energy Rating (BER), to pinpoint the inefficiencies and areas that need improvement.

BER assessments are carried out by independent registered assessors. The SEAI National Register of BER Assessors helps consumers find someone local. The cost varies depending on the size of the house and location. BER assessments start at €120. Your retrofitting budget, wants and needs will determine the type of assessment you should get.

Home energy assessment

A home energy assessment is a detailed report on the energy performance of your home. It will provide a list of recommended energy upgrades to bring your home to a B2 rating and an estimate of the likely costs, helping you decide what approach is best for you. These start at €620 but it will depend on the size of your home.

SEAI offers a grant of €350 for a home energy assessment which you can claim yourself.

There is also a one stop shop service available where a private contractor manages the whole job (as explained below). In this situation, the homeowner only pays the net cost. So, if your home energy assessment costs €600, you pay the contractor €250 and they claim the €350 from SEAI.

For homes that were built before 2007, a technical assessment is also required if you are applying for a heat pump. A grant of €200 is available for this.

There are a number of ways to plan and manage your home energy upgrade and grant applications. The SEAI offers three main pathways for grant applications.

1. Individual energy grants

Whether you are a homeowner or a private landlord, you select the individual grants you want to avail of. You manage the project including contractor selection, grant application, contractor works and there is no minimum BER required. Next week we will be exploring the full grants available; they include €1,200 for solar water heating and €700 to upgrade your heating control.

2. One stop shop service

If you are looking at carrying out multiple energy upgrades at once, a registered private operator will manage the project from start to finish under the one stop shop service. For those who want to include windows and floor insulation in their retrofit, this is the only way you can avail of the grants.

By the end of the process, your home must be upgraded to a minimum B2 BER. You don’t have to worry about organising an energy assessment or grant applications as all services will be arranged for you.

Figures from SEAI show that in 2023, the average service costs through the one stop shop for detached homes was €64,507. The average grant was worth €24,098 which resulted in homeowners paying an average of €40,408.

3. Fully funded energy upgrade

If you are in receipt of certain welfare payments, you may be entitled to a fully funded energy upgrade. It is worth checking the criteria if you think you would qualify. It is important to be aware that due to demand and subsequent waiting lists, it may take two years for your home to be complete. Applications are dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis.

Managing the process yourself

If you decide to manage the upgrades to your home yourself, you will need to:

•Decide the energy upgrades you want to do

•Apply to the SEAI for the grants yourself

•Choose and pay a contractor from the SEAI’s registered list

•Get a final BER using a BER assessor from SEAI’s national register

Barriers to home energy upgrades

The main hurdle for homeowners is deciding who to go with, according to Susan.

“People tend to think the application process is daunting, then when they engage, particularly with the one stop shops, they’ll find that they will handhold them throughout the process.

“The thing with any home renovation, even outside energy upgrades and grants, it’s always the part of choosing your contractor who’s going to do the work that is difficult. We always say, get your references, get a minimum of three quotes and be happy with who you choose.”

Next week we explore the specific retrofitting upgrades and the financial options to help pay for this investment.

Farmers Journal Renewable Roadshow

The upcoming Irish Farmers Journal Renewables Roadshow will provide an overview of the grant aid options available for retrofitting your home, including SEAI individual energy upgrade grants, one-stop shop services and fully funded energy upgrades. We’ll also run through what you need to know about the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant.

The events will take place between 7.30pm and 10pm on 9 April at the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs, Cork; 16 April at the Newpark Hotel Kilkenny; 23 April at the Errigal Country House Hotel, Cavan; and 30 April at the Athlone Springs Hotel, Athlone. To register, log on to

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