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Better Energy Homes Scheme

Introduction

The Better Energy Homes Scheme provides 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. It is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Changes in March 2015

The following changes were announced on 10 March 2015 and took effect immediately:

  • Increases in grant levels
  • Abolition of the previous minimum grant threshold of €400
  • Bonus payments for householders who complete 3 or more energy efficiency improvements

The new grant levels apply to anyone who has applied for a grant that has not yet been paid. The bonus payments are available to new applicants and are also available to people who have already received grants under the scheme and are now planning further upgrades. See ‘Rates’ below for more details.

Rules

Grants are available for the following energy-saving work:

  • Roof insulation
  • Wall insulation - for example, cavity wall, internal dry lining or external insulation
  • Heating controls upgrade
  • Installation of a high-efficiency boiler (more than 90% efficiency) including a heating controls upgrade
  • A Building Energy Rating (BER) after the energy-saving work is carried out (you must get this BER to qualify for the grant)
  • Solar heating

See the Application Guide (pdf) for summary performance requirements under each of these measures. Your contractor(s) must carry out the works in accordance with detailed standards set out in the Contractor Code of Practice and Technical Specification (pdf).

SEAI publishes detailed FAQs about the Better Energy Homes Scheme.

How to qualify

You must have grant approval before you buy materials or start any grant-funded energy-saving work. If you have already started work, you will not be eligible for a grant. The grant approval remains valid for 6 months after the date it is issued.

However, a before BER can be done ahead of grant approval and could prove useful if you are uncertain about your energy-saving options or what to get done first.

To qualify for a grant you must:

You may not get a grant if:

  • You are replacing your existing boiler with a typical efficiency boiler of less than 90% efficiency
  • You replace your boiler but do not replace the heating controls
  • 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 to find out if your home would benefit from energy-saving work

You can use the Home Energy Self Survey to identify areas in your home which could be improved to increase its energy efficiency.

You can also 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.

Planning permission

In general, you will not need planning permission for the measures that are grant-aided under this scheme, though you may require it for external wall insulation. This will depend on matters such as 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.

Getting the work done safely

Under the Regulations governing safety, health and welfare at work, homeowners are obliged to ensure that construction work on their home is carried out by competent people. Read more, including a guide for homeowners (pdf) and some Frequently Asked Questions, on the website of the Health and Safety Authority.

Home Renovation Incentive

As well as getting a grant under the Better Energy Homes Scheme, you may be able to claim a tax credit on part of the cost of the work. Read more in our document on the Home Renovation Incentive and in these FAQs published by Revenue.

Rates

Grants are paid after the work is completed and you have paid your contractor.

Applications received from specific offshore islands are eligible for 50% additional grant support.

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.

If you are claiming a tax credit under the Home Renovation Incentive, the amount of expenditure that qualifies for the credit will be reduced, as outlined in this FAQ.

Bonuses: A bonus of €300 is payable when you have completed 3 qualifying measures and a further €100 is payable on completion of a 4th 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.

The following table shows the maximum levels of grant and the bonuses payable for extra measures.

Measure Maximum value - before 10 March 2015 Maximum value - from 10 March 2015
Attic insulation €200 €300
Cavity wall insulation €250 €300
Wall insulation - internal dry lining
- Apartment (any) or mid-terrace house
- Semi-detached or end of terrace house
- Detached house

€900
€1,350
€1,800

€1,200
€1,800
€2,400
Wall insulation - external
- Apartment (any) or mid-terrace house
- Semi-detached or end of terrace house
- Detached house

€1,800
€2,700
€3,600

€2,250
€3,400
€4,500
High efficiency (more than 90% efficiency) gas or oil fired boiler with heating controls upgrade €560 €700
Heating controls upgrade €400 €600
Solar heating €800 €1,200
A BER assessment after works are done (maximum of 1 grant payable per home) €50 €50
Bonus payment after 3rd measure n/a €300
Bonus payment after 4th measure n/a €100

How to apply

You can apply online or else download an application form (pdf). Online applications will get a response within 3 working days. Postal applications will get a response within 20 working days.

SEAI has produced an information leaflet (pdf) and a guide to help with your application (pdf).

Where to apply

Better Energy Homes Scheme

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
P.O. Box 119
Caherciveen
Kerry
Ireland

Locall:1850 927 000
Homepage: http://www.seai.ie/
Email: hes@seai.ie

Page edited: 13 March 2015

Language

Gaeilge

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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.