At this year’s event Retrofitting Ireland: Building resilience into Irish homes in Limerick, two objectives were at the centre of attention. Firstly, to discuss the implications of current national and EU level policies and legislation and secondly, to highlight the available resources for people and to promote companies and technologies involved in energy related renovations. Both aspects have been discussed taking into account what this means for the consumer.
The event consisted of an opening address given by Kieran O’Donnell - Minister of State at the Department of Housing, who presented the current state of play of Building renovation strategy in Ireland. This was followed by a panel focusing on the practical challenges for Irish consumers in renovating their homes and buildings as well as on upcoming policy changes in the sector and their implications. In addition, the access to finance and what financial instruments are available for those considering retrofitting their homes and buildings, was also discussed.
DG ENER Policy Officer Julien Tami from the European Commission was part of the panel discussion, putting an emphasis on EU policy framework that impacts the build environment, most notably the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and more generally, the Fit for 55 package. Thereby, it was highlighted that the EPBD is also encouraging Member States to put in place a support framework to the most vulnerable households in terms of funding and technical assistance.
The other panellists included representatives from the financing sector – (AIB Homes, a mortgage retail bank), Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, which provides one-stop-shop and implement grant funding schemes on behalf of the Irish Government, but also representatives from the construction industry such as the Irish Construction Industry Federation and Kingspan Insulation Ireland, a global building materials company.
A representative of the Irish Citizen-led Renovation pilot Triple SEC was also part of the audience, thereby identifying various gaps within the system. Namely, there are not enough qualified people to carry out retrofitting despite a high demand for it and a lack of visas issued for tradespeople, which makes it difficult to recruit them from other countries. In addition, there is a need for access to more loans in order to cover the cost of retrofitting but also a lack of incentives for landlords to invest in retrofitting. Possible solutions for overcoming these current obstacles were discussed with the audience, suggesting a scheme for tenants to pursue retrofitting on behalf of the landlord and to get a reduction of the energy bills in return.
Overall, the event provided the opportunity to have an overview of current implementations of the Irish long-term renovation strategy and to recognize the major potential for sustainable home renovations in Ireland but also where gaps within the system are still present in the execution of solutions. Ireland has a strong decarbonisation target for the residential sector, with the ambition to retrofit almost 30% of the residential housing stock (500.000 homes) to B2 rating (below 149 kWh/m2 per year) by 2050 and install over 400.000 heat pumps by 2030.
The overall event gathered around 80-100 in-persons participants, including some stands from financial institutions, one-stop-shops, construction as well as appliances companies.
Watch the full panel discussion here:
- Publication date
- 30 August 2023