Energy

Retrofitting in Ireland: Costs, grants and installers

Retrofitting your home in Ireland is a great way to improve your energy efficiency, lower your bills, and reduce your carbon footprint. However, understanding the costs, available grants, and choosing the right installers is crucial before you commit.

What is a home retrofit?

Retrofitting refers to making changes and upgrades to your home to improve energy efficiency, performance and comfort.

What does it involve?

A retrofit can be partial and only focus on one or two upgrades or a whole house, deep retrofit which involves a complete renovation.

Here’s some examples of the types of renovation or upgrades a retrofit may include:

  • Insulation: Adding insulation to walls, floors, and ceilings to minimise heat loss and reduce energy bills
  • Heating system upgrades: Replacing older, inefficient boilers and/or room heaters with newer, energy-saving models
  • Window and door replacement: Fitting energy-efficient windows and doors to prevent drafts and reduce heat loss
  • Renewable energy installations: Installing solar panels, ground-source heat pumps, or biomass boilers to reduce reliance on fossil fuels
  • Ventilation enhancement: Ensuring proper ventilation to avoid dampness and promote healthy air quality
  • Adding Smart Home features: Integrating smart thermostats, lighting systems, and appliances for greater control and convenience

What are the benefits of retrofitting?

Retrofitting your house is not just about saving money but also about creating a more comfortable and sustainable home for you and your family. Take time to weigh up the benefits and possible pitfalls when planning house renovations. Here’s a few considerations:

Pros

  • Reduced energy bills: Improved home efficiency means lower energy consumption and smaller energy bills
  • Increased comfort: Better insulation and ventilation will improve the comfort of your home whatever the season
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Cutting your energy consumption and using renewable energy sources helps the environment
  • Increased property value: Retrofitting can enhance the overall value of your property by improving its efficiency, look and feel
  • Government grants: The Irish government offers financial incentives and grants to encourage homeowners to undertake retrofits so ‘green’ renovations could work out cheaper

Cons

  • High upfront costs: The cost of a retrofit can vary depending on the scope of the work and the materials used, but be prepared to spend thousands
  • Disruption: Depending on the project, there may be temporary disruptions to your home life and could also impact neighbours
  • Planning considerations: Careful planning and seeking qualified professionals are crucial for successful, safe retrofits - but this takes more time and money
  • Time to recoup costs: It may take many years to truly recoup the costs of your retrofit, so you are looking at long-term benefits rather than immediate savings

How much does a retrofit cost?

The cost of a retrofit varies greatly depending on several factors including:

  • the size of the property
  • condition of your house or apartment
  • the extent and scope of changes
  • type of upgrades
  • the materials used

Here’s what you could expect to pay for various retrofits:

Type of retrofit Upgrade examples Approximate costs
Basic retrofit wall and loft insulation, window replacement €5,000 - €15,000
Deep retrofit Combined measures like heating system upgrade, solar panel installation and smart home system €30,000 - €50,000


How much could you save on energy bills?

The amount you can save with a retrofit in Ireland varies depending on several factors:

  1. Scope of your retrofit: A basic retrofit could save around 5-15% on your bills, whereas a deep retrofit could cut bills by 50% or more
  2. Current energy consumption: If your energy consumption is already low, the savings may be small; high-energy households could see significant savings
  3. Type of fuel you use: Households relying on more expensive fuels like electricity or oil can potentially see larger savings compared to those using gas
  4. Government grants: Grants like the SEAI Better Home Grants can significantly reduce the upfront cost of the retrofit, leading to faster payback periods and higher net savings

For a more specific estimate of your potential savings, consider:

Retrofit grants and funding in Ireland

The Irish government offers several grants under different schemes to help make retrofits more affordable.

Here are the main grants offered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI):

  • National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme: One Stop Shop grants are for complete home energy upgrades which bring homes to a minimum energy of B2. You may be eligible if your property was built before 2011 and has a BER of B3 or lower.
  • Better Energy Homes Grants: Can help cover up to 50% of the cost of individual energy upgrades - like attic insulation, heating controls and solar panels with caps on each measure
  • Fully Funded Energy Upgrade Schemes: Free retrofits to homeowners on specific social welfare payments called the Warmer Homes Scheme. The scheme prioritises the oldest and least energy-efficient homes.

Example grants available from SEAI:

  • Solar PV systems: Up to €2,100
  • Heat pump systems: Up to €6,500
  • Heating controls: Up to €700
  • Attic insulation: Between €800 and €1500
  • Cavity wall insulation: Between €700 and €1,700
  • External wall insulation (The Wrap): Between €3,000 and €8,000

Applying for an SEAI retrofit grant

Before you start, check that your home or property is eligible for a grant. The home must be built and occupied before 2011 for insulation and heating controls and 2021 for heat pumps and renewable systems. Your property may not be eligible if energy grants were received by previous owners, and applications for works done before or after the grant offer period are not eligible for payment.

You’ll need to allow between four and six weeks for grant payments after invoicing.

The application process will differ depending on whether you want to apply for an individual energy grant or the One Stop Shop Service.

What is the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme?

Under the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme (EEOS), energy suppliers can offer financial support to make your home more energy efficient.

The EEOS requires that large energy suppliers and distributors in Ireland achieve annual energy efficiency targets. One of the ways that suppliers meet their annual targets is by helping to support homes and businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

The most common way to benefit from EEOS is to secure financial support from your supplier in combination with other SEAI grants.

Learn more about the scheme and how to access grants on the EOSS for Homeowners page.

How to find retrofit contractors and installers

Choosing qualified and registered installers is essential for quality work and compliance with regulations. Get multiple quotes and compare prices and services from different installers agreeing to work.

Here are some helpful resources:

Consider an energy audit to identify the most impactful and cost-effective measures for your home, or consult with a SEAI advisor who can provide advice and guidance on grants and suitable measures.

If you prefer to go by word-of-mouth, make sure you seek recommendations from friends, family, or neighbours who have recently had retrofits done. Ask for references from previous clients of the installers you’re considering.

Are retrofits worth it?

Saving money is just one benefit of a retrofit. You’ll also enjoy increased comfort, a reduced carbon footprint, and will likely boost the value of your property.

By investing in a well-planned retrofit, you can enjoy significant long-term benefits for your wallet and the environment.


Switch and save up to €779 on your energy bills

It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving