Government Home Energy Upgrade Loan Scheme

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An initial but partial step in ending household dependency on expensive, polluting fossil fuels

On Wed 24 April, the Government launched their new low-cost Home Energy Upgrade Loan Scheme. The purpose of the scheme is to enable homeowners who receive SEAI home energy upgrade grants to avail of low-interest loans to cover the remainder of the costs. The government will fund subsidised interest rates, with the first provider announcing rates of 3.55%.

Commenting on the new scheme, Clare O’Connor, Energy Policy Officer in Friends of the Earth said:

“Friends of the Earth has been campaigning for the Government to make retrofitting and heat pump grants more accessible, so all households regardless of their income levels or home ownership status feel the benefits of warmer homes, lower energy bills and reduced pollution. We welcome the government's new low-cost loan scheme as a positive step towards making this a reality.

“This loan scheme gives households agency to retrofit in stages and at a pace that works for them, taking some pressure off to undertake a more costly deep retrofit. We're also happy to see this loan scheme being provided by certain credit unions, as trusted local finance institutions in communities across Ireland, and we hope to see more provide this service in the coming months and years.

“There is still scope for this loan scheme to better target families on lower incomes by following the lead of the Dutch government, who offer a zero-interest retrofit loan for households with an income under €60,000.  And to reach people struggling the most with meeting their energy needs, we will still need targeted action from the government to expand the Warmer Homes (free energy upgrade) Scheme to include HAP tenants and those on disability allowance at a minimum.

“It's good that this scheme is open to small landlords to incentivise them to retrofit their rental properties, but the government still needs to drive greater action by delivering on their commitment to set minimum energy performance standards in the private rental sector.”

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Energy Poverty retrofitting