Latest Laois News: Laois leads way in retrofitting social housing

Latest Laois News: Laois leads way in retrofitting social housing

Retrofitting Programme for Social Housing announced

€45m investment in Local Authority Homes

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke TD, and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan have today (18 February) announced allocations and targets under the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme for Social Housing.

Big Investment for Retrofitting Laois Homes

  • An initial allocation of €35m for the retrofitting of 1,293 homes
  • The balance of funding (€10m) will then be allocated to LAs who demonstrate an ability to complete additional work and spend their full allocation in 2021
  • The Programme for Government (PfG) commits to retrofitting 500,000 homes to a B2/Cost Optimal Equivalent BER standard by 2030. It is expected that approximately 36,500 of those with be local authority owned homes

The Programme for Government 2020 set challenging and ambitious targets over the next ten years aimed at Ireland’s objective of reducing its carbon emissions by more than half. With approximately 40% of Ireland’s energy-related carbon emissions coming from buildings alone, one of the key objectives of the Programme is the target of retrofitting reaching over 500,000 homes by 2030, of which it is expected that approximately 36,500 of those with be local authority owned homes. In response to this commitment the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting programme has been revised and enhanced for 2021, homes retrofitted under this programme will benefit householders in many ways, they will be warmer, easier to heat and more comfortable homes, it will enhance air quality in the home and for those currently using oil or gas they will see savings on energy bills.

Leading the way in retrofitting our housing 📷 Laois County Council

Laois among first counties to get retrofit funding

Minister Hackett commented on the announcement as follows:

“Laois was among the first counties to get fund to retrofit social houses under the Midlands Pilot. Last year, €3.3 million was allocated to Laois County Council for the retrofitting of 160 local authority-owned houses in the county. Now a further €552,572 is being made available for 20 more houses, as part of the national Retrofitting Programme. This is great news for the county. Our most vulnerable people will have warmer homes and cheaper heating bills.”

Commenting Minister O’Brien said, 

“The 2021 Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme is a newly revised programme designed around the Programme for Government commitment with an important increase in funding support of €65m, €20m of which has been allocated under the midlands retrofit programme.

Emphasis shifts from ‘Shallow’ to ‘Deeper Retrofit’

“This revised programme will see a significant upscaling – from a ‘shallow’ to ‘deeper retrofit’ – on what has been completed by local authorities in previous years and will target 2,400 social homes in total for upgrade works in 2021.

“We are being realistic in our initial allocation and taking account of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the works which can take place. We are taking an equitable approach ensuring that allocations are calculated on the basis of the number of social housing units each local authority has, as a percentage of the overall national stock, as well as the ability of individual local authorities to complete the programme and draw down all funding in 2021. This also ensures that those local authorities who have the capacity to deliver more are facilitated so that the 2021 retrofitting target of 2,400 homes is reached and the budget is spent,” he said.

Laois County Council has given priority to retrofitting our social housing stock Photo: Patrick Murphy/Laois County Council

Minister of State Burke added, 

“Last year we allocated €20m from Carbon Tax to eight local authorities under the Midlands Retrofit Project. Along with the climate and indeed health benefits, this funding is helping provide an economic stimulus to the regions most affected by Bord na Móna and ESB closures.

“Retrofitting homes is a highly labour-intensive sector and can create high-quality, sustainable jobs in local communities throughout the country, and has the capacity to play an important role in our economic recovery.

“I am especially pleased to announce that in addition to the €65m funding available, funding of €5m is available in the Local Government Fund to help resource local authorities to respond to the new programme and deliver on the ambitious targets,” he said.

Programme to result in reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions

Minister of State Noonan said,

 “Since the original scheme began in 2013 over 73,500 local authority homes have undergone energy efficiency works, but this was, for the most part, wall and attic insulation works.

“This will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the residential sector and help Ireland reach its greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, it will result in warmer, more comfortable homes which will benefit the health of all those living in them,” he concluded.