Polling from Ireland Thinks shows majority of public supports strong Government action on energy poverty and retrofitting ahead of National Economic Dialogue

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As the National Economic Dialogue approaches on Monday 27 May, new polling by Ireland Thinks shows large majorities of the public would support government initiatives to make retrofitting easier and cheaper, and to reduce energy poverty. 

The polling results show overwhelming support for measures like increasing funding to retrofit all social housing by 2030, introducing community energy advisors to support households to retrofit, and making sure renters can benefit from government retrofit schemes. It also shows the affordability of solutions like heat pumps in comparison with oil and gas boilers remains a significant barrier across all demographics.

The results underscore the need for Budget 2025 to focus on new, long-term measures to reduce fossil fuel dependence and deliver warmer, healthier homes for all.


*A slidedeck of the main findings in graphic form here*


Commenting on the polling results, Clare O’Connor, Energy Policy Officer at Friends of the Earth said:

“As the National Economic Dialogue approaches, these polling results provide a clear mandate for the government to prioritise energy efficiency and tackle energy poverty in the upcoming Budget. The public’s strong support for upgrading all social housing, introducing community energy advisors, and extending financial incentives for retrofitting underscores the urgency of these measures. 

“The polling results show a clear mandate from the Irish public for the government to take decisive action on energy savings, particularly for low-income households. Friends of the Earth calls on policymakers to prioritise and accelerate the upgrade of social housing and to provide robust financial incentives to support homeowners in making their homes more energy efficient and moving to renewable heating sources. Addressing the financial barriers and information gaps identified in the poll will be crucial in mobilising public participation and staying within Ireland’s carbon budgets.”


Key Findings:

  1. Support for Social Housing Energy Upgrades:

    • A large majority of respondents, 3 in 4 people (75%), support the idea of upgrading all social housing to be energy efficient by 2030. This support is consistent across demographics, with the highest backing from the 18-34 age group (79%) and residents of Dublin (76%). The Government currently only plans to upgrade a quarter of social housing by 2030.

  2. Switching to Renewable Heating Systems:

    • A majority (64%) do not plan to switch to electric heat pumps in the next 5 years, particularly among lower-income households and older adults, with financial constraints and uncertainty around the new technology cited as the main reasons.

  3. Prioritisation and Access to Home Renovation:

    • 61% of respondents support prioritising low-income households and those at risk of energy poverty for government grants for home insulation and electric heat pumps.

    • 74% agree on introducing local community energy advisors to support households with renovation grant applications.

  4. Barriers to Home Renovation:

    • The cost of renovation is identified as the most significant barrier, with 61.29% of respondents citing it as a major concern. This issue is particularly pronounced among younger respondents (70% for 18-34), and Dublin residents (64%).

    • 18.78% of respondents indicated a lack of information as a primary barrier to making their homes more energy efficient.

  5. Private Rental Sector:

    • 76% agree on introducing incentives for landlords to renovate their properties while protecting the rights of existing tenants.

  6. Energy Guarantee Scheme:

    • 78% of the public support guaranteeing every household a basic level of energy consumption free of charge, with charging only starting above a certain level of usage.

  7. Windfall Tax:

    • 78% support extending the windfall tax on increased energy company profits to fund state support for home renovations.

  8. Opposition and Uncertainty:

    • 16.8% of respondents would not consider renovating even with government grants.

    • 7.5% remain unsure about renovating their homes, highlighting the need for clear and accessible information about the benefits and processes of home energy upgrades.


Ms O’Connor concluded:

“It’s clear that cost and affordability remain a huge concern for Irish households when it comes to investing in home renovations to save energy and cut pollution. We urge policymakers to heed this call and provide significantly improved and tailored grants and zero-interest loans for retrofitting as part of budgetary decisions for next year. 

We’re also seeing overwhelming support for new policies to ensure all households can meet their basic energy needs, and long-term measures that address both energy affordability and energy efficiency must be a cornerstone of Budget 2025.”



  1. The fieldwork for the poll was carried out by Ireland Thinks from April 12 - 16 2024, with a nationally representative sample of 1,704 people. The margin of error is +/- 2.4 per cent.

  2. The Ireland Thinks report is online here: https://www.friendsoftheearth.ie/assets/files/pdf/ireland_thinks_april_2024_polling_on_home_heating.pdf