The Greener Homes Scheme
The Greener Homes Scheme (the “Scheme”) provides assistance to homeowners who intend to purchase a new renewable energy heating system for either new or existing homes. The scheme is administered by Sustainable Energy Ireland (“SEI”) and aims to increase the use of renewable energy and sustainable energy technologies in Irish homes.
Using Renewable Energy for Heating
We, in Ireland are heavily reliant on fossil fuels which are a limited resource, cause emissions that are harmful to the environment and, as we have seen recently, can be subject to volatility of price and availability. The Irish Government wishes to reduce this reliance and move towards making greater use of our renewable energy resources. This diversification can be good for the economy because of the longer-term availability and constancy of supply and good for the environment through the reduced emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
The main sources of renewable energy in Ireland are the sun (solar energy), the wind, moving water (hydropower, wave and tidal energy), geothermal (heat below the earths surface) and biomass (wood, certain wastes and energy crops). One of the main benefits of using renewable energy is that it reduces emissions of carbon dioxide. Ireland has an abundance of several of these resources and their effective development and use will reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases and our reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Homeowners can play their part by choosing a renewable heating system (solar, biomass or heat pump based) that meets their particular needs in terms of heat demand, budget and environmental considerations. Doing so will help Ireland move down a path towards more sustainable energy use, ultimately benefiting the environment.
Will a renewable energy heating system save me money?
Where a renewable energy technology uses a “free” energy source like sunshine, you no longer have to worry about fuel prices increasing. On the other hand heat pumps require electricity to operate and biomass equipment requires a wood based fuel – so both of these remain vulnerable to fuel / energy price fluctuations.
The guaranteed way to reduce your energy bills is to only generate as much heat as you require, at the time you want it, and to maximise the value of that heat by preserving it within your home. We strongly advise anyone planning to invest in a renewable heat system to investigate all methods of increasing the overall energy efficiency of their homes. Effective wall and attic insulation, good time and temperature controls of your heating and high performance windows will all reduce the heat required to have a warm and comfortable home. Purchasing household electrical equipment with an ‘A’ energy rating e.g. fridges, freezers, washing machines and light bulbs* reduces electricity consumption. This approach will have a significant impact on your energy bills and will also protect you from any price variation in your primary fuel source.
Why offer a grant?
Renewable energy heating systems are new technologies which, while proven and highly popular overseas, have yet to become widespread in Ireland. The Irish Government, through SEI, wishes to encourage people over the next 5 years to green their homes by contributing to the initial investment cost of installing a renewable energy heating system. The government believes that this will help ensure a faster uptake of renewable heating systems that will underpin the development a long-term market, while enabling homeowners to play their part in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
House of Tomorrow Demonstration Projects
This element of the programme provides funding to developers for the design and construction of clusters (minimum 10) of superior energy performing housing units. Projects will be considered where the energy performance is at least 40% better than that required by the current Building Regulations TGDL 2002 (new build). Preference will be given to projects incorporating renewable energy features such as solar water heating and/or wood fuelled heating systems.