The Better Energy Homes scheme gives grants to homeowners to improve energy efficiency in their homes. Landlords and owners of more than one property can also apply for a grant under the scheme. If you have previously availed of a grant under the scheme, you can reapply to get additional work done. The Better Energy Homes scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The following are some common queries which the Citizens Information Service receive in relation to the scheme:
What work is covered by the Better Energy Homes Scheme?
You can get a grant or the following energy-saving and renewable solutions:
• Attic insulation
• Wall insulation – including cavity wall, internal dry lining and external insulation
• Heating controls upgrade
• Solar thermal solutions
• Heat pump systems
• A Building Energy Rating (BER) after the energy-saving work is carried out (you must get this BER to qualify for the grant)
How does one qualify for the scheme?
You must have grant approval before you buy materials or start any grant-funded work. If you have already started work, you will not be eligible for a grant. Once approved, you have six months to get the works done and claim the grant.
To qualify for a grant you must:
• Be the owner of a dwelling built before 2006 for insulation and heating control systems
• Be the owner of a dwelling built before 2011 for heat pump and solar thermal grants
• Use a contractor from SEAI’s registered list
• Use newly fitted materials and products
• Have work done that complies with the required standards
• Have a BER carried out after the works are done
• Use a BER assessor from SEAI’s National Register
You may not get a grant if:
• The measures do not comply with the required standards
• The relevant measure (the work on your home) was already incentivised under another grant programme
How do I find out if my home would benefit from energy-saving work?
You can get a Building Energy Rating (BER) done in advance of any works. A BER assessor will energy rate your home and provide you with an advisory report, which will help identify areas that could be improved to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Do I need to get planning permission for carrying out the work?
In general, you do not need planning permission for most works carried out under this scheme, though you may require it for external wall insulation. This depends on whether the insulation will affect the external appearance of the building or whether the building is a protected structure. Contact your local authority to check if you need planning permission.
How do I choose a contractor to carry out the work?
The SEAI have a list of registered contractors. Before choosing a contractor from the registered list, the SEAI recommends that you:
• Ask friends, family, and neighbours who have done building work recently, for advice and recommendations on contractors
• Get a number of quotes and compare the offers
• Request and check the contractor’s references
• Formalise the relationship with your chosen contractor by drawing up a contract detailing the required works, prices, timescales, payment terms and warranties
When is the grant paid?
Grants are paid after the work is completed and you have paid your contractor.
How much of a grant will I receive?
The following lisy shows the maximum levels of grant and the bonuses payable for extra measures.
• Attic insulation: €400
• Cavity wall insulation: €400
• Wall insulation (internal dry lining):
– Apartment (any) or mid-terrace house €1,600
– Semi-detached or end of terrace house €2,200
– Detached house €2,400
• Wall insulation (external)
– Apartment (any) or mid-terrace house €2,750
– Semi-detached or end of terrace house €4,500
– Detached house €6,000
• Heat pump systems:
– Air to water €3,500
– Ground source to water €3,500
– Exhaust air to water €3,500
– Water to water €3,500
– Air to air €600
• Heating controls upgrade: €700
• Solar water heating: €1,200
• Bonus payment after 3rd measure: €300
• Bonus payment after 4th measure: €100
A BER assessment after works are done (maximum of 1 grant payable per home): €50
If the cost of the work (including VAT) is less than the maximum grant amount, you will get a grant for the actual cost of the work.
Bonuses: A bonus of €300 is payable when you have completed three qualifying measures and a further €100 is payable on completion of a fourth measure. The full grant history of your home is taken into account when calculating whether a bonus is due. A BER does not count as a measure when calculating entitlement to a bonus.
How do I apply for the scheme?
You can apply online or by post. If applying by post, you should contact the SEAI or your local Citizens Information Centre to get an application form. Alternatively you can download the application form at www.seai.ie and send it back to SEAI. You need the MPRN number from your electricity bill and the name of your SEAI-registered contractor.
Online applications get an immediate response. Postal applications should get a response within five working days.
SEAI publishes a detailed guide to help with your application which you can download or contact your local Citizens Information Centre and they will send you one by post
What is the address for SEAI?
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
P.O. Box 119
Tel: 01 808 2100
If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in West Cork on 0818 07 8390. They will be happy to assist you and if necessary arrange an appointment for you.