Programme for government aims for 500,000 retrofits
The proposed programme for government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party contains a commitment to upgrade at least 500,000 homes to a B2 energy rating by 2030, among a series of commitments on the built environment.
It says a national retrofit plan will be published as part of a new national economic plan, in conjunction with Budget 2021.
The programme, which must still be approved by each party's members, commits to grouping homes together in local clusters for retrofit work in order to lower costs. The focus of the retrofit programme will begin in the midlands, where fossil fuel use is highest, and where communities have been negatively impacted by the closure of peat-fired power stations.
The draft document also says the government will “leverage smart finance”, such as loan guarantees, and funding from the European Investment Bank, to pay for retrofit. It says the government will develop “easy pay back mechanisms” for retrofit work, such as through utility bills.
There will also be an overhaul of apprenticeships, traineeships and education programmes to upskill the workforce to deliver the retrofit plan, and to deliver the installation of 600,000 heat pumps by 2030.
The programme says the government will also work with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland to develop funding options to deliver retrofit with retail partners, such as An Post and the Credit Unions. A loan guarantee scheme will also be established to support access to retrofit finance. Energy supply companies will also be obliged to deliver more retrofits.
The agreement also commits to “make Ireland a leader in retrofitting by developing innovative ways in which to roll out retrofitting by lowering the cost and improving efficiency and productivity”.
These include developing standard designs for different property types, automating and digitising construction through tools like digital scanning of properties, centralising procurement and quality control, and using prefabricated building elements.
Elsewhere, the programme also commits to increasing social housing stock by more than 50,000 over five years, mostly through the provision of new build projects, though Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty has criticsed this promise, stating that it offers no new housing above is currently planned.
Under the programme €360m will be budgeted for walking and cycling each year, and capital spending on transport will be divided 2:1 in favour of public transport.
You can read the proposed programme for government here.
Main image: Prefabricated, insulated wall elements being installed under the Dutch Energiesprong programme. Like Energiesprong, Ireland's draft programme for government also envisages homes being retrofitted in clusters, potentially using standard designs for different property types, and with prefabricated buidling elements.