Ways to Win with Home Insulation and The Retrofit Scheme
Now that the Irish government has approved a variety of supports to make home energy upgrades more affordable, this could be the year you finally retrofit and insulate your home. Read on for practical steps you can take now.
Talk to our team in-store for more information and in the meantime check out the options available to you below.
Why Invest In Home Energy Upgrades Now?
Home Fuel and Utility Cost Inflation
This is the single biggest reason to take action right now. Home Energy savings don’t just lead to financial savings in home heating and energy bills. The return is greater now than ever as we face uncertainty and rising inflation when it comes to energy supplies in Europe.
A Happier, Hygge-ier, More Comfortable Home
Let’s face it. We are spending more time working from home and even entertaining from home in our Post-Pandemic world. This is especially true for those of us starting new businesses or entering self-employment and using our homes as a base.
We’ve also picked up new habits when it comes to using our homes for spending time with friends or entertaining ourselves.
Upgrading home insulation and retrofitting for a more efficient home heating system will make this a more comfortable place for everyone under your roof. Make it the kind of home you will love welcoming guests into.
Do you have older members of your family needing a warmer space? An Insulated home will reduce the cost of installing additional portable heating options for their needs.
Reduce Dependency in An Uncertain Climate
As Climate Change threatens we are faced with more uncertain weather. More storms like Storm Eunice make their way more frequently onto our shores, and we may be faced with regular power outages.
Investing in renewable energy sources will help you reduce your dependency on any electricity and gas grid. Extreme temperatures in winter and unseasonal freak weather changes are in the rise. An energy efficient home will protect you against sudden demands for extra heating.
A Climate That Needs Saving
As conscious citizens of this planet, aiming for an energy efficient B2 home is a wise and much needed step towards reducing your emissions and carbon footprint.
Increase the Value of Your Home
Upgrading your home to an energy efficient B2 rating or higher, will raise the equity of your property regardless of whether you wish to sell it one day, use it as collateral or pass it on to loved ones.
Home Energy Grants Overview
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) gives the best comprehensive view of your Home Energy Grant options. Here is a quick list of the funding opportunities available to Home Builders and home-owners now.
The 2022 Home energy grants in Ireland include:
Free Energy Upgrade Fully Funded by SEAI
This is a Free home energy upgrade service for insulation and heating systems. It is for qualifying owners of homes built and occupied before 2006 in receipt of certain welfare benefits. The scheme prioritizes the worst performing homes built and occupied before 1993 and have a current pre-works BER of E, F or G.
It is fully funded by and serviced by the SEAI and includes:
- home survey
- contractor selection
- contractor works
- follow up BER
One Stop Shop Complete Home Energy Upgrade
The One Stop Shop Service is a part-funded SEAI grant that covers approximately half of the cost for a typical family home for homeowners and landlords. This option provides homeowners with all the services required for a complete home energy upgrade.
You will have to work with registered private operators who will manage the entire process from the initial home assessment through to the final BER rating. The full range of services includes:
- Home energy assessment advising on the best upgrades for a B2 energy rating or higher
- Grant application on your behalf
- Project management and quality checks on the home upgrade works
- Contractor works assigned on your behalf
- Follow up BER by A registered BER Assessor who will also publish the certificate.
- Ready made Finance options with Finance partners
Individual Energy Upgrade Grants
This SEAI Part Funding Home Upgrade Scheme allows for up to 80% of the cost of the upgrade for a typical family home to be covered by the programme).
It is for homeowners and landlords who want to make individual energy upgrades and can manage their own project. You will need to apply for the grant yourself and pay for the full cost of works and claim grants after the project is done.
It is applicable to homes built and occupied before:
- 2011 for insulation and heating controls
- 2021 for heat pumps and renewable systems
Key Home Efficiency Upgrade Options
There are multiple ways to upgrade your home heating and energy systems. Some approaches require simple localised interventions and some require more invasive longer term works.
The main aim of insulation options, is to reduce heat loss and your heating bills. In every case, when installing insulation it is best to use an NSAI Agrément certified product and get advice from a registered contractor on which materials and installation methods will work best for your home.
Alternative energy systems and control mechanisms will also reduce wastage and provide you with additional sources of energy.
There are some excellent guides on the SEAI.ie website for all these options.
Investing in Attic/Rafter insulation will probably be the most cost-effective energy efficiency upgrade you could make to your home. It delivers substantial cost savings to your heating bills.
If you have not already installed insulation in your roof prior to this, this could yet another measure you can take to reduce heat loss.
Attic insulation materials include semi-rigid insulation boards as well as glass/mineral fiber. The depth of your joists or rafters will affect insulation material you choose.
Insulation between rafters must be cut tight and leave no gaps. Gaps result in heat loss and there is an increased risk of condensation if rigid foam material is not correctly installed.
There are also several ‘multifoil’ insulation products on the market that can be used in conjunction with another insulation material.
Cavity Wall Insulation
This is where cavity walls are injected from the outside with insulation material. This is the best form of insulation where you have a wall that consists of two rows of brick or concrete block with a cavity or space between them.
External Wall Insulation (The Wrap)
In this instance, Insulating materials such as mineral wool or expanded polystyrene slabs are fixed to the outer surface of your building’s external walls. For better weather resistance, this insulation material is then covered with a special render embedded with steel or fiberglass mesh.
The results are a stronger protective material outside your home with better impact resistance. This protects your home more securely from the elements like damp, and frost damage and gives you better airtightness.
It is considered the best way to insulate your walls while also being the most expensive option.
Internal Wall Insulation (Dry Lining)
This is a process also known as Dry- lining whereby insulation boards are fixed to the inner surfaces of your external walls. The insulation board is also covered with a vapor barrier layer and plasterboard.
Take note, this method adds another layer to your walls so you will lose some marginal room space. If you have fitted appliances and furniture e.g. kitchen installations, all of this will have to be removed and reinstalled.
Secondary Home Efficiency Upgrade Options
There are many smaller interventions you can take to improve your energy consumption at home. These include
- Installing Lagging jackets
- Draught proofing your home especially doors and windows
- Installing more Energy Efficient Lighting
- Upgrading Your Heating Controls with timers and thermostats
- Installing more energy efficient Windows & Door Fittings
Heat Pump Heating Systems
This is a form of renewable heating that will reduce your energy costs and carbon emissions. To really benefit from a heat pump, you must ensure your home is already well insulated. Here are some of the options:
- Air to Water heat pump system - extracts heat from external air using an outside unit
- Ground Source to Water heat pump system - uses the earth as a source of renewable heat
- Exhaust Air to Water heat pump system- extracts heat from the external air. But it will also mechanical extracting heat from ventilation and from the property.
- Water to Water heat pump system - uses open water, such as lakes, rivers or streams, as a heat source.
- Air to Air heat pump system - This system distributes heat through air units but does not provide hot water.
Solar Heating Systems
Solar Photovoltaics or Solar PV Energy
This Home energy system uses Solar panels to produce electricity. The panels are also known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. They generate electricity when exposed to sunlight and are normally situated on rooftops . The system is then connected into the electrical loads within your building .
If you produce excess electricity produced, it can be stored in a battery, or other storage solution like your hot water immersion tank. You can also sell it back to the electricity grid / export from your house into the electrical network on your street.
When you use a Solar panel system to produce hot water, they are also known as solar thermal collectors or solar hot water collectors.
Solar Water Heating Systems
Installing a solar thermal system will help you transform free energy from the sun into hot water for your home. With this system you could meet up to 50 - 60% of your annual hot water needs weather permitting.
For this system to work in an average 3 bed home, you will need solar water collectors and a storage tank to heat enough water for the people that could be residing in your home.
Necessary Supplies For Your Home Upgrade
Find most of the relevant materials for insulation in our online Homevalue Insulation-related Products .
Head to our HomeValue Roofing online catalogue if you are looking for materials for your attic and roof upgrade.