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Considering a heat pump? Here’s how to access your Home Energy Grant

Surge in home energy upgrades as more Irish homeowners avail of SEAI funding for heat pump retrofits


Will your next heating system be a heat pump? It’s looking more and more likely. Last week, SEAI announced that it supported 9,946 home energy upgrades during the first quarter of 2023 – a jump of 172% compared to the same period last year. In total, SEAI is aiming to facilitate more than 37,000 home energy upgrades this year, in line with Ireland’s national retrofitting target.


As you’d expect, SEAI is at the heart of Ireland’s accelerating transition towards more sustainable, energy-efficient living. As part of its remit, the agency has been mandated by the Irish Government to provide financial support to homeowners who want to carry out home energy upgrades, including retrofitting heat pumps.


The ready availability of financial support, including a range of home energy grants, is undoubtedly behind the surge in Irish homeowners who are busy making their properties warmer and more energy efficient. As you begin your heat pump journey, it’s important to understand the different types of funding that are available – and how you can access the most suitable grant for your upgrades.


You may have heard of the One Stop Shop, which is designed for complete home energy upgrades, in other words, doing everything at once. In this blog, however, we’ll look at one of the most popular grants available for homeowners who want to retrofit their property on a step-by-step basis – SEAI’s Individual Energy Upgrade Grant.


Individual Energy Upgrade grant


The Individual Energy Upgrade grant (formerly known as the Better Energy Homes scheme) is for homeowners who are planning one or more energy upgrades, and who want to manage the contractors and the process themselves. It allows people to take a stage-by-stage approach to their upgrades, applying for funding and paying for the cost of the work, then claiming the grants afterwards.


A typical example might involve a homeowner who wants to raise the BER rating of their property by installing external wall and attic insulation, triple-glazed windows, a composite front door, and a Daikin Altherma air-to-water heat pump. For financial or practical reasons, it might suit the owner to tackle these upgrades one-by-one, rather than all at once, and the Individual Energy Upgrade grant allows them to do just that.


Are you eligible?


To qualify for the Individual Energy Upgrade grant, you must satisfy a number of criteria. Firstly, your property must have been built before 2011 if you are upgrading your insulation and heating controls, and before 2021 if you are installing a heat pump and renewable systems.


You must contract a registered SEAI technical advisor to conduct the (mandatory) technical assessment of the property; as part of the assessment, your house must have a Heat Loss Indicator (HLI) of less than or equal to 2W/K/m2. Your preferred heat pump system must also satisfy the technical requirements specified by the scheme.


How to apply


One of the main advantages of the Individual Energy Upgrade grant is that it puts you in control of the process including who carries out the work and when it takes place. Here are the key steps you’ll need to take in order to apply for the funding:


·       Choose a SEAI-registered technical advisor (you’ll find the list here) who will carry out a full assessment of the fabric of the house. Your advisor will issue a report on the state of the property, explaining what needs to be done to make the house heat pump-ready.


·       Choose a SEAI-registered contractor to carry out the work (you’ll find this list here). Your local contractor will prepare a written contract for all the energy upgrades to be carried out under the grants programme.


·       Fill in your grant application, using the online application form. To complete the form, you’ll need your MPRN number (this is in the top right-hand corner of your electricity bill) along with the name of your SEAI-registered contractor.


·       Carry out your home energy upgrades. Once you receive your grant offer, you have 8 months to complete the works and return the paperwork. You’ll find the expiry date for your grant offer in your letter from SEAI. (You will also need to get a registered BER assessor to carry out a post-work BER assessment.)


·       Receive your grant funding. For this to happen, you must send your completed Declaration of Works form and Request for Payment form, either by email or post. It typically takes between 4 and 6 weeks for payments to be processed.


Start your journey


There are many reasons why Ireland is turning to heat pumps including increased energy efficiency, greater comfort, better air quality, and reduced carbon emissions. With the availability of funding from SEAI, including the Individual Energy Upgrade grant, now is the time to start your heat pump journey. Contact your local supplier/installer today and find out whether your home is suitable for a heat pump.

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