Better Energy: the National Upgrade Programme is a multi-annual programme to upgrade Ireland’s building stock to high standards of energy efficiency, thereby reducing fossil fuel use, running costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The programme builds on SEAI’s successful domestic and non-domestic energy saving grant programmes and will take the scale of activity to a new unprecedented level. It is centred on engaging market actors to deliver upgrades efficiently and effectively, with SEAI in an oversight role ensuring quality and confidence as the new markets build.
The programme will deliver on a major government priority with a focus towards efficiency, cost and emission reduction as well as employment. It will involve energy supply companies, energy services providers, construction workers, energy auditors and policymakers, working together to deliver energy savings, cost reductions and ultimately smaller carbon footprints for energy customers throughout the country.
The programme has five overarching objectives:
- Deliver energy efficiency upgrades to 1 million residential, public and commercial buildings by 2020, in the process unlocking consistent financial savings to homeowners, businesses and the public sector.
- Realise 8,000GWh of energy savings over the lifetime of the programme (2011-2020).
- Improve the energy affordability, health and comfort levels of vulnerable customers within society.
- Develop an innovative, competitive and sustainable market for efficiency goods and services in support of the Government’s strategy for the development of a Smart Green Economy.
- Underpin the National Climate Change Strategy through low-cost GHG emission reductions
The upgrade programme will play a major role in achieving our national and European targets, while bridging the existing energy savings gap. It will maximise the energy efficiency return from public and private investment, while taking account of the need to protect vulnerable households from energy poverty.
The programme has two broad strands – the setting of energy saving targets to be achieved by energy suppliers (both network connected and non-network connected) and the creation of an energy efficiency fund which will be made available to the energy suppliers and energy services providers.
The role for SEAI in all of this will be to promote and facilitate continued development and evolution on the programme while ensuring governance, standards and quality assurance underpins all works carried out under the programme. In addition SEAI continue to develop systems and processes to support the promotion, management and reporting of programme progress towards a successful programme outcome and achievement of targets.