• Josephine Maguire
  • 3 min read

A move to more sustainable models of financing and funding home retrofit is required. SEAI are testing a number of financing models and trialling some policy options that will help stimulate the market.

Background to the project

Government policy has indicated that a move to more sustainable models of financing and funding home retrofit is required. They have asked SEAI to develop a detailed plan for supporting and financing home energy upgrades. As part of this process and to help inform future Government strategy, SEAI is testing a number of financing models and trialling some policy options that stimulate action.

Government have provided a capital budget of €800,000 in 2019 to provide funding support for a suite of project trials that SEAI will engage in to test various mechanisms for financing home retrofit. The results of these trials will also be used to inform the future strategy of financing home retrofit in Ireland.

Research results

Research carried out on behalf of SEAI has shown that the reason many homeowners do not carry out an energy upgrade on their home, or curtail the depth of the upgrade, is due to lack of funds. This research also shows that over 85% of those who upgrade their home do so using their own funds.

Lack of funds

A lack of available financing has been identified as the main barrier by homeowners who wish to carry out home energy efficiency upgrades (eg insulating your walls, attic). Not having sufficient funds also impacts the number of measures people carry out at the same time.

Further research of Irish consumers has also shown that almost half (44%) would consider taking out a loan to pay for energy efficiency improvements, therefore unlocking this potential could lead to significant savings.

Unlocking the Energy Efficiency Opportunity

SEAI also carried out research to input to the Pathways report to Unlocking the Energy Efficiency Opportunity. The focus of this research was to

  1. Ascertain homeowners propensity to borrow to fund home energy upgrades and
  2. Establish what the important factors were in encouraging the decision to borrow 

The research found the following

Consumers who had investigated ways to reduce energy use through home energy upgrades, but had not yet acted: 74% indicated that a lack of sufficient funds played a strong role.

Consumers who had already completed a number of home energy upgrades but agreed that there was more that could be done: 71% indicated that a lack of sufficient funds played a strong role in not having taken further action to reduce their energy use.

Financing is not the only barrier to encouraging home retrofit. Research shows that other issues such as targeted promotion, advice and support are also essential to stimulate engagement and assist in the decision making process.

Trials and Testing of concepts

SEAI is seeking to build on real life test-based research, through funding models for financing retrofit in the residential sector. Areas of focus will include, but are not restricted to,

  • Finance models provided by banks, credit unions, consumer finance agencies and employer-based lending models.
  • Trial projects where a financing package is offered to homeowners and is coupled with others support in terms of focused offerings, tailored advice and project implementation support for homeowners – essentially providing a one-stop-shop model.  

Based on researach, we believe a comprehensive support role is crucial to success. Homeowners are seeking an energy adviser to guide and support them through the whole project. This includes initial investigation, the upgrade measures, completing any documentation required and quality assurance.

We are open to discussing the development of potential applications. Application queries should be sent to Josephine Maguire Josephine.maguire@seai.ie

The evaluation of applications for support of trial projects will be based on:

  1. Homes and technology focus
  2. Robustness of the project and
  3. Value for money in terms of project delivery