Tipp Energy Agency launches Superhomes retrofit scheme
Tipperary Energy Agency has announced the launch of its Superhomes pilot project, which is seeking 20 suitable homes anywhere in Ireland to undertake an energy retrofit. The works will be financed by the Better Energy Scheme and run in conjunction with AIB and Electric Ireland.
Paul Kenny, chief executive officer of Tipperary Energy Agency, told Passive House Plus that the scheme is looking to carry out 20 exemplar projects to demonstrate how retrofit can drastically cut the energy use of a typical Irish home to a point where meeting all of the house’s energy need through renewables is practical.
“A lot of people talk about passive house retrofit as being the solution to reducing the energy demand in existing buildings, and while that is certainly the way to go for once-in-a-generation retrofit projects, it may not be practical for everyone,” he said. “To take that approach with the country’s entire building stock would cost in the region of €100 to €150 billion euro.”
Kenny said that for many people, undertaking a retrofit that gets the dwelling’s energy demand down to 40 or 50 kWh/m2/yr is more practical and affordable, and that this demand can then be met with renewables. He said that as the grid decarbonises between now and 2050, electrical heating solutions like heat pumps will become the norm for more houses. To this end, the Superhomes project is designed to cut the energy use of participating homes and make them practical for heating with an air source heat pump, providing a demonstration of how a typical Irish home’s carbon footprint and energy consumption can be drastically lowered in a cost effective way in future.
The Superhomes project will undertake ‘low hanging’ but effective upgrade measures such as the installation of cavity wall or external wall insulation, generous loft insulation, draught proofing, radiator replacement, LED lighting, solar PV, new glazing and the installation of demand controlled and heat recovery ventilation systems.
Tipperary Energy Agency will come up with an individual retrofit plan for each dwelling. “We’re trying to find the price point for retrofit that people will want to invest in,” Kenny said. “The idea is to tackle the low hanging fruit, anything that’s cost effective. Then you make energy cheap and renewable through the use of a heat pump.”
Kenny told Passive House Plus that participating homes will receive 30% financial subsidy from the government through the Better Energy Homes programme, as well as financing from AIB at standard rates. Kenny said he hopes the scheme will remove indecision for homeowners thinking of retrofitting by quality checking the upgrade works, selecting a skilled contractor in advance, recommending a suitable package of measures and providing finance. For more information see www.tea.ie/superhomes.