All your questions about the new One Stop Shop Service answered
This Q&A responds to the most frequently asked questions about the recent announcement.
On the 9th February 2022, the Government announced a new package of supports to make it easier and more affordable for homeowners to undertake home energy grades. The goal of the scheme is to help make homes warmer, healthier, and more affordable to run. It will help us to achieve our target of 500,000 home energy upgrades, to B2 Building Energy Rating (BER) standard, by 2030.
There has been huge interest in this announcement and many people have questions regarding the new One Stop Shop Service. Below you will find answers to many of the most asked questions with links to the right information.
Why is this such a significant announcement?
The announcement represents an unprecedented investment in upgrading Irish homes with an Exchequer investment of €8 billion to 2030. This investment will enable the supply chain to scale up, creating thousands of high-quality jobs and delivering on this critical national investment.
What does it mean for homeowners?
This is very good news for homeowners with higher grants, new measures, and multiple routes to secure your home energy upgrade. Some of the key changes include:
- A new National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme providing increased grant levels of up to 50% of the cost of a home energy retrofit to a B2 BER standard (up from 30%-35% grants previously)
- A new One Stop Shop Service to offer a hassle-free, start-to-finish project management service, including access to financing, for home energy upgrades
- A significant increase in the number of free energy upgrades for those at risk of energy poverty
- A special enhanced grant rate, equivalent to 80% of the typical cost, for attic and cavity wall insulation for all households, to urgently reduce energy use as part of the Government’s response to current exceptionally high energy prices.
What is a One Stop Shop Service?
The One Stop Shop service provides homeowners with a hassle-free way to undertake a complete home energy upgrade, with a One Stop Shop providing an end-to-end service for homeowners. One Stop Shops offer homeowners all the services required for a complete home energy upgrade. These registered private operators who will manage your entire home energy upgrades, offering a full range of services including:
- Home Energy Assessment
- Grant application
- Project management
- Contract works
- Follow up BER
- Finance options
One Stop Shops will begin to be registered on the SEAI website from the start of March 2022.
How do I choose a One Stop Shop?
There is a growing list of registered One Stop Shops who will be participating in the scheme. They are currently going through a thorough registration process so SEAI can be confident we have only selected providers who will offer a service that is 100% professional and follows best practice guidelines as set out by SEAI. We expect the first One Stop Shop will be published on our website in March.
How can I be sure the contractors are competent to do the work?
When a One Stop Shop registers with SEAI they are required to meet stringent competency and quality management metrics.
Do I need a Home Energy Assessment to have works carried out through the One Stop Shop Service?
The Home Energy Assessment will be required to do the works.
The benefit of a Home Energy Assessment will be that the One Stop Shop will offer quotations and provide a guide to the upgrades that will be required to meet the B2 (or higher) rating. The extent of these will depend on the age of your dwelling and any works that have been carried out previously.
How does the Home Energy Assessment work?
All One Stop Shops can conduct a detailed onsite review of a home and afterwards provide a report called a Home Energy Assessment. An energy expert will visit the home and complete a BER and a technical assessment. The assessment will figure out what is required to make the home suitable for a heat pump. They will also ask for details of the heating costs over the previous year to help assess what cost savings may be available. This assessment typically takes 1-2 hours, and you will receive a report recommending various efficiency and renewable upgrades to achieve a B2 BER energy rating or better. This will be tailored to your requirements, with an estimate of the costs and grants that are available.
At this stage you will be presented with clear pathways to a warm and comfortable B2, or higher, energy rated home. There is an SEAI grant available of €350 towards the cost of a Home Energy Assessment.
Why choose the One Stop Shop service over the individual grant route?
The One Stop Shop service is designed for people who want to undertake a complete home energy upgrade all at once. This works particularly well for people planning on also renovating or extending their homes. It also removes the hassle of managing such a large project yourself, which can be frustrating and time consuming.
The individual grant routes allow people to undertake one or two upgrades at a time e.g., attic or wall insulation or switching to a heat pump. Grants for cavity wall and attic insulation have now more than tripled in value. For instance, in the case of a semi-detached home, the attic insulation grant will increase from €400 to €1,300 and the cavity wall insulation grant will increase from €400 to €1,200. These new grant rates will cover approximately 80% of the typical cost of these upgrades and will be available to all homeowners.
Who can apply?
Homes owned by private homeowners, non-corporate landlords and Approved Housing Bodies are eligible for the One Stop Shop service and for the Individual Energy Upgrade grants. There is a separate scheme that offers free energy upgrades for those at risk of energy poverty.
How do I know where to start when undertaking an individual home energy upgrade?
We recommend getting a BER assessment as your starting point. An independent BER assessor will carry out the assessment and advise on next steps and costs. The Advisory Report will map out exactly what you need to do – in priority order – to bring your home to a B2 or higher. It will also give an estimate of savings you can expect and will advise on grants available for different measures. If you think your house will require lots of work, we recommend you consider the One Stop Shop service.
How do you ensure that companies don’t just hike up their prices?
The new grant values are based on latest industry pricing and therefore should be reflective of current market prices with the grants covering approximately 40-50% of the cost. SEAI recommends that homeowners get a minimum of three quotes from providers.
Will there be lengthy waiting times to get works completed?
Waiting times will vary between contractors, depending on their own workload and lead times. SEAI recommends you contact a few contractors and get an estimate of how long it will take before works can start.
Is there a cap on the maximum grant values permitted?
There is no cap or maximum grant amount permitted. However, the grants do have fixed values for each energy upgrade. The total value of the grant will depend on the type of house and what energy upgrades you decide to get done or need to get done.
How much would a complete retrofit cost for a 3-bed semi-detached house with a current BER of E1?
The cost of upgrading any home will vary greatly as there are many factors to consider e.g., type and size of the house, number of occupants, energy consumption habits, fuel type. However, it is estimated that to bring a standard semi-detached home from an E to a B2 rating, it will cost approximately €30k but you will receive a grant of €15.5k covering up to 50% of the costs. You will also benefit from annual energy savings of approximately €700.
What is the launch bonus and when will it finish?
For homeowners who opt to go through the One Stop Shop service, there is a launch bonus of €2,000 for reaching a B2 rating with a heat pump. This launch bonus will be available for the first 12 months.
I’m looking into replacing my old windows and doors? Is there a grant to help me do this?
Replacing windows or doors as a standalone measure is currently not grant supported in SEAI. It is only supported through the One Stop Shop Service as part of a complete energy upgrade to a B2 rating.