Expanding the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is delivered through a panel of contractors, appointed through a competitive tendering process.

Since the introduction of ‘deeper’ measures some community-based organisations (CBOs), that are only contracted to carry out ‘shallow’ measures under the scheme, have seen their allocation volumes reduce.

This is a according to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, who was speaking in the Dáil last month after being asked by Fianna Fáil’s deputy Robert Troy if he would examine budgetary issues at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) organisations.

Minister Bruton said he was advised that the CBO referred to by deputy Troy is contracted by the SEAI to deliver works under the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme.

This scheme provides free energy efficiency upgrades to the homes of people living in or at risk of energy poverty.

He continued: “In June 2018, the range of energy efficiency measures available under the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme was expanded to include ‘deeper’ measures.

“Under the expanded scheme, in certain circumstances, external or internal wall insulation, central heating and replacement windows, can be provided where a technical assessment – by SEAI contractors – considers them necessary.

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“These additional measures brought the level of retrofit into alignment with that envisaged by the National Development Plan, but changed the relative attractiveness of availing of other ‘shallower’ interventions.”

Expanding the scheme

The minister went on to say that managing the enhanced package of measures had required careful monitoring and programme management by SEAI within available resources.

I am pleased to tell the deputy that the SEAI will be in communication with the CBOs and contractors in relation to further allocations.

He added: “While the expansion of the scheme has been positive for the energy-poor homeowners involved, and for building capacity in the supply chain in general, it has had some negative impacts for contractors that are unable to deliver deeper works.

SEAI will be renewing its contract with Better Energy Warmer Homes contractors in 2020.

“This will require all contractors to be able to deliver all measures, deeper and shallow.

“SEAI is encouraging all CBOs to apply for this contract; it has been working with CBOs over the past year supporting them in upskilling and gaining experience to help ensure they can compete for the 2020 contract and that their organisations remain viable.”