Learn about the types of energy efficiency upgrades available to make your home more comfortable and cheaper to run.

Insulation

It is best to start your home's energy upgrade by insulating it against heat loss. A properly insulated home will increase your comfort levels and reduce your heating bills.

Did you know?

  • You can save up to €600 per year on heating bills by insulating the attic and walls of your home properly.
  • A home can lose up to 30% of its heat through poorly insulated roofs and walls
  • A home can lose up to 10% of its heat through poorly performing windows, doors and uninsulated floors
  • A well insulated home will need good ventilation.

Attic insulation

As heat rises, up to 30% of your home’s heat can be lost through your roof. Insulating your attic space reduces heat loss by keeping the heat in the rooms below the ceiling.

If you have an attic, your contractor will roll a thick layer of insulating material over its floor. They will insulate the water tank and pipework and provide a walkway and ventilation. It is also possible to insulate sloping ceilings or flat roofs. Proper attic ventilation is very important to reduce the risk of condensation build up. This can reduce the effectiveness of your insulation and cause damage to your roof structure.

Wall insulation

Up to 30% of your home’s heat can be lost through your external walls. Insulating the walls will reduce this heat loss. You will need additional internal ventilation as part of this work. There are three ways to insulate your walls; cavity, external and internal. Your contractor will discuss the best method with you before the work begins.

If your home has cavity walls that are not insulated then cavity wall insulation is a cost-effective way to reduce heat loss. Your contractor will drill a series of small holes in the external walls and pump insulation into the cavity. They then fill in the holes so that they match the rest of the wall.

If you have solid block or concrete walls with no cavity, your contractor may recommend external wall insulation. They may do this in combination with with cavity wall insulation. Your contractor will:

  • wrap a layer of rigid insulation around your home
  • fix it to the walls
  • embed mesh in it to provide strength
  • cover it in a render to provide weather resistance

Internal wall insulation is sometimes called dry lining. It is an option when external insulation is not possible (for protected structures) or is not the best solution.

Internal insulation involves fixing insulation boards to the inside of the external walls. They are then covered with a vapour control layer, plasterboard, skim and new paint. You will lose some space in the rooms because the boards are added to the inner side of the walls.

Floor insulation

Up to 10% of your home’s heat can be lost through your floors. You can reduce this heat loss by insulating the floors. Floor insulation may not be not possible in all homes. This depends on the existing floor construction and level of disruption.

The approach your contractor takes will depend on your floor type. In some cases it may be possible to lay insulation on top of the existing construction. If you have a suspended concrete or timber floor they may fit insulation to the underside of the structure.

Window and door upgrades

You can lose about 10% of your home’s heat through your windows and doors. If your walls and attic are well insulated then the heat lost through low performing windows and doors will be greater. In general you will need to upgrade your windows and doors to current standards. This is to meet the minimum energy rating.

Your contractor will measure the windows and doors that need to be replaced. Once you agree the specification and costs the contractor will send the dimensions to the supplier so they can be manufactured. The standard waiting time is around 4-5 weeks from order to installation of the new windows and doors.

Heating controls

Installing heating controls to your home heating system can reduce your energy usage by up to 20%. Home heating systems without heating controls can waste energy and cost a lot to run. This is because there is little to no control of the amount of heat you are using to heat your home and your hot water.

Modern heating controls can match your space heating and hot water schedules to the usage patterns in your home. This means when you need heat and hot water it is there; and it's turned off when it is not needed.

Renewable energy systems

Renewable energy systems provide heat or electricity to your home without burning fossil fuels. They are usually needed to achieve an A-rated home. There are a wide range of renewable energy systems available on the market. Heat pumps, solar water heating panels and solar photovoltaic panels are the best known.

Heat pump systems

Older gas and oil-fired boilers waste energy and are costly to run. This is because of the amount of fuel they need to maintain comfort levels and hot water in the home. By replacing an older gas or oil boiler with a heat pump system you can:

  • transform the comfort levels in your home
  • create a healthier home
  • end oil and gas bills
  • reduce energy usage
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • control your heating times, temperature and areas

As heat pumps operate with lower temperature water you may need to replace your existing radiators with low temperature radiators.

The most common heat pump systems extract heat from external air, using an outside unit. These heat pump systems do not need underground piping to source heat. This means they can be cheaper and easier to install compared to ground source heat pump systems.

The most popular heat pumps are air to water heat pumps. They distribute heat through radiators or underfloor heating and also produce hot water.

A ground-source heat pump system uses the earth as a source of renewable heat. They take heat from the ground through a collector pipework and transfer it to the heat pump. The collector pipework is placed under the ground horizontally at a shallow depth or vertically to a greater depth.

Water source heat pump systems use open water, such as lakes, rivers or streams, as a heat source. They remove heat from the water through a collector pipework and transfer it to the heat pump.

Solar panels

Even in Ireland’s climate, solar energy can contribute to your home’s energy needs. You can use solar energy to generate electricity or heat your water. There are two types of solar panels:

  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) generates renewable electricity from the sun. This can power all electrical devices in your home, such as your kettle, fridge, shower and TV.
  • Solar thermal collectors use the sun's energy to heat your hot water.

Installing solar panels

Solar panels are usually installed on your rooftop, depending on the orientation of your house. The pre-works survey will cover:

  • planning restrictions on the size and positioning of domestic solar panels
  • the condition of the existing roof
  • requirements for a new, larger hot water cylinder for solar thermal panels
   Find out if Solar PV is right for your home

Ventilation systems

A well insulated home is more airtight. That means it is important for both the building and its occupants to have good ventilation. Proper ventilation will:

  • improve the air quality by removing stale air and odours
  • ensure that fresh air circulates throughout your home
  • reduce the chance of condensation or mould
  • not make your home colder or draughty

The two common ventilation systems are Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) and Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR).

Compare upgrade options

There are a number of ways to plan and manage your home energy upgrade and grant applications. Compare the options to see what works for you.

  • Free Energy Upgrade

    Free home energy upgrade service for qualifying homeowners

    Fully funded by SEAI

    All home upgrade costs covered

    Managed by SEAI and includes:

    • ​home survey
    • contractor selection
    • contractor works
    • follow up BER

    Who this is for

    • qualifying homeowners in receipt of certain welfare benefits
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  • One Stop Shop Service

    Complete home energy upgrade solution

    Part funded with SEAI grants

    Approximately a third of the cost for a typical family home

    Managed by a One Stop Shop including:

    • home energy assessment
    • grant application
    • project management
    • contractor works
    • follow up BER

    Who this is for

    • homeowners and landlords
  • Individual Grants

    Selection of individual grants for home energy upgrades

    Part funded with SEAI grants

    Approximately a third of the cost for a typical family home

    Homeowners manage their upgrades including:

    • contractor selection
    • grant application
    • contractor works
    • follow up BER

    Who this is for

    • homeowners and landlords

Contact us

Call: 01808 2004
Email: info@seai.ie