How to secure an energy upgrade grant for your home

Ireland’s principal home energy funding body, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), offers various grants to homeowners and businesses to upgrade their premises with energy-efficient solutions. These grants are not just for homeowners and businesses but also communities and large industries.

SEAI grants help the beneficiaries to reduce their energy costs, reduce carbon emissions, and achieve energy efficiency goals in their respective homes, businesses, communities, and industries.

When energy costs reduce, homes and businesses are able to regulate their monthly as well as annual expenditures, with energy grants helping consumers achieve their economic stability goals.

Greenhouse gases have been the main cause of climate change affecting the globe. As Irish people adopt renewable energy resources with the help of Government-backed grants, climate changes can become better-controlled and its impacts minimised.

The SEAI home grants are also known as the Better Energy Homes scheme, offering subsidised funding to homeowners who invest in energy-efficient solutions. Actively reducing energy consumption levels can also help the beneficiaries improve their respective energy performance and address the market failures in energy consumption and production. 

There are different energy grants offered by the SEAI. This guide will help you understand all the types of grants and understand how to apply for them.

Insulation grants

A home may lose between 20 and 30 percent of its heat via walls or more when it is not properly insulated. SEAI insulation grants help homes to be more energy-efficient as well as comfortable. When a home is energy efficient, the energy bills are low when compared to homes that are not energy efficient.

Reducing the heat lost via the walls also helps homes to cut down their greenhouse emissions. This is because of the lesser the energy consumed, the lesser the emissions released from home. If a home undergoes three upgrades, its grant value is usually increased by €300, and if a home completes four upgrades, its grant value is increased by an additional €100. 

The current SEAI insulation grant values* are as illustrated in the tables below:

 

SEAI insulation grant values

Energy Upgrades

Energy Upgrades

Grant Value

Grant Value

Energy Upgrades

Attic insulation

Grant Value

€400

Energy Upgrades

Cavity wall insulation

Grant Value

€400

 

Internal insulation (dry lining)

Energy Upgrades

Energy Upgrades

Grant Value

Grant Value

Energy Upgrades

Apartment (any) OR mid-terrace house

Grant Value

€1,600

Energy Upgrades

Semi-detached OR end-of-terrace

Grant Value

€2,200

Energy Upgrades

Detached house

Grant Value

€2,400

 

External wall insulation (the wrap)

Energy Upgrades

Energy Upgrades

Grant Value

Grant Value

Energy Upgrades

Apartment (any) OR mid-terrace house

Grant Value

€2,750

Energy Upgrades

Semi-detached OR end-of-terrace

Grant Value

 €4,500

Energy Upgrades

Detached house

Grant Value

€6,000

 *All rates accurate as of March 2021

Heat pumps systems grant

A heat pump is a device that measures and controls your home’s climate by distributing the heat that is already available in the air. In the summer, the pump extracts the heat inside your home and moves it outside. In the winter, it extracts the heat from the outside environment and transfers it inside your home to provide warm comfort. A heat pump is a smart and clean way to heat, cool, purify, and dehumidify your home.

A heat pump is part of a group of technologies that include HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). These devices usually transfer heat and warmth from one place to another. Heat pumps usually move thermal energy in opposite directions of heat flow by absorbing heat from warm spaces and releasing it in a cold space. This means that a heat pump is an essential commodity for your home. The primary function of a heat pump is space heating via radiators, underfloor heating system, warm air convectors, and can also be used to heat water for your home or business.

Heat pumps are a green, efficient alternative to relying on fossil fuels for our heating systems, offering tangible benefits in the form of lower costs and reduced carbon emissions. Heat pumps offer more comfort to your insulated home. They lead to lower energy bills due to their efficient functionality.

A reminder; if a home completes three upgrades, its grant value is usually increased by €300, and if a home completes four upgrades, its grant value is increased by an additional €100. The range of values redeemable under SEAI heat pump grants are as outlined in the table below;

 

Heat pump systems grant values

Energy Upgrades

Energy Upgrades

Grant Value

Grant Value

Energy Upgrades

Air to Water

Grant Value

€3,500

Energy Upgrades

Ground Source to Water

Grant Value

€3,500

Energy Upgrades

Exhaust Air to Water

Grant Value

€3,500

Energy Upgrades

Water to Water

Grant Value

€3,500

Energy Upgrades

Air to Air

Grant Value

€600

Heating controls grant

Upgrading your heating controls and integrating into a smart home infrastructure allows your home's occupants to enjoy the benefits of a warmer and more energy-efficient dwelling. 

There are different benefits of upgrading your heating controls, such as reduced energy usage; consequently, which helps you save money. Heating controls help you to heat your home only when you need to. Upgraded controls give you a seven-day timer that helps you to plan your energy usage.

Upgraded heating controls are usually zoned for more efficiency. You’ll be able to heat your water without having to turn on your home heating. It’s also possible to split upstairs and downstairs into two distinct heating zones for further extended efficiency and to get the most from the available funding support.

For example, if a home completes three upgrades, its grant value is usually increased by €300, and if a home completes four upgrades, its grant value is increased by an additional €100. The table below shows the heating controls grant value;

 

Heating control grant value

Energy Upgrades

Energy Upgrades

Grant Value

Grant Value

Energy Upgrades

Heating Controls Upgrade 

Grant Value

€700

 

Who can apply for the heating controls grant?

The heating controls grant is open for application to all homeowners as well as landlords whose homes were built and occupied before 2006. The 2003 Building Regulations guides the construction standards for all the homes built after 2006. This means that such homes don’t need any further upgrades.

Solar water heating grant   

It is easy and cheap to heat your water using solar water heating grants. Solar thermal systems are usually designed to meet about 50 to 60 percent of your overall annual hot water requirements. This saves you money by immensely cutting down your electric and heating bills.

Your home also becomes energy efficient and comfortable with well-regulated water temperatures. Heating your water by solar thermal reduces your energy consumption all year round.  If a home completes three upgrades, its grant value is usually increased by €300, and if a home completes four upgrades, its grant value is increased by an additional €100. The solar water heating grant value is as shown by the table below;

Solar water heating grant

Energy Upgrades

Energy Upgrades

Grant Value

Grant Value

Energy Upgrades

Solar Water Heating Grant  

Grant Value

€1200

 

Who can apply for the solar water heating grant?

This grant is open for application to homeowners and landlords whose homes were built and occupied before 2011. 2011 is marked as the year when your electricity meter was installed. This grant is a bit different from other grants which stipulate the meter year as 2006.

The solar electricity grant

Solar energy is a truly renewable energy source which does not deplete on usage. This means that solar energy can be harnessed in all the areas of the globe, unlike some other sources such as fossil fuels.

Solar energy will substantially reduce your electricity bills. Meeting your energy needs by your own installed solar energy system will significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home and deliver a significantly improved BER Rating. The amount saved by the system depends on the size of the inverter, the number of panels fitted on your roof or ground mounted system and whether battery storage is included or not.

From your solar system, there is also a likelihood of receiving payments for the surplus energy generated. This is possible when your system is connected to the company’s power grid or the national grid. Make sure to check this possibility with your installer.

If you generate more electricity than you require, the extra energy is sent to the grid, and you're compensated. In case your system generates less energy than is required, the grid can also use the extra energy sent there to meet the deficit.

A solar energy system for your home improves your Building Energy Rating (BER). A higher BER increases the value of your home. Solar energy also helps you to cut down greenhouse gas emissions since it is a clean resource. The table below shows the solar electricity grant values;

How to apply for SEAI Grants

You can apply for an energy grant either online or by post. The steps below will guide you on how to apply for your desired grant. You can also contact Bord Gáis Energy and our energy solution installation partner Energlaze for grant application guidance for your home.

1.      Decide on energy upgrades suitable for your home

Upon reviewing various grants offered by the SEAI, decide on the specific grants suitable for your home. It is good to be in contact with a good building contractor, an architect, BER assessor, or an energy advisor. These experts will be able to guide you on the best upgrades that are going to work best for your home. Bord Gáis Energy has professionals who can undertake an evaluation for your home and guide you accordingly, to make sure you are not missing the point.

Insulation grants and heating controls grants are available for all the homeowners whose homes were built and occupied before 2006. This has been defined as the time when the home’s electricity meter was installed. The 2003 Building Regulations stipulates how homes built in 2006 onwards should have been constructed. Therefore, such homes don't require significant insulation upgrades.

Heat Pump Systems grants and Solar Water Heating grants are available for all homeowners whose homes were built and occupied in 2011.

For traditional buildings, standards and specifications for Home Energy Grants may not be suitable for homes built before 1940. SEAI recommends that expert guidance should be sought for upgrades of traditional buildings. 

2.      Choose a registered technical advisor

This step is applicable to those implying to undertake a Heat Pump System upgrade. It is required that a technical advisor possess the following qualifications; be SEAI registered, certified to carry out heat pump systems operations, agree to a contract before undertaking any operations with a homeowner. Choose a qualified and registered technical advisor to guide you through the process of grants and upgrades.

3.      Choose a registered contractor

It is vital to have a contractor who will guide you through the process of upgrading your home. It is required that a contractor possess the following qualifications; be SEAI registered, certified to carry out the work registered for, agree to a contract before undertaking any operations with the homeowner.

4.  Apply for the grant

The grant application can be made online or via a post.

Online application:

You will be required to fill the online application form on SEAI's website. You will also be required to provide the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) from your electricity bill as well as the name of your contractor from the SEAI register. The application is approved in minutes.  

If you’re applying for a Solar PV grant, you can visit the SEAI's Solar PV webpage.

By post:

If you wish to apply for a grant via post, you will need to call the SEAI on 01 808 2100 for them to email you a form or download a copy of the application form here. When you’re done filling the form, you should post it to the following address;

Better Energy Homes Scheme

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

P.O. Box 119

Cahirciveen

Co. Kerry

5. Accept your grant offer

If you’ve applied for the grant online, you should receive an offer from the SEAI immediately. If you applied via post, you should receive the offer within five working days. Upon receiving the offer, you'll have 30 days to accept it. If you haven’t accepted the grant offer within the initial 30-day period, the offer elapses and you'll be required to re-apply for the grant from scratch.

6. Get the work done

SEAI gives you eight months from the actual date you accept the offer, to complete the upgrade work at your home and return the paperwork to them. The expiry date is usually indicated in the offer letter sent to you once you have accepted it. During this period, you’ll be required to do the following;

a.   Complete your home's selected upgrades by an SEAI registered contractor.

b.  Entail a financing agreement with your contractor or pay them in full.

c.   Have your upgrades assessed by a registered BER assessor and publish your certificate.

 

7. Receive your payment

In March 2020, SEAI announced that they are now accepting electronic copies of completed grant paperwork and requests for payment for the Better Energy Homes Scheme. Completed grant documents and requests for payment forms should be sent by email to info@betterenergyhomes.ie 

Once everything's in order, you should be able to draw down your grant funds with ease and rest assured knowing you've both saved money and done your bit for the environment in reducing your carbon footprint and ultimately, protecting our environment.

Bord Gáis Energy and Energlaze - Building efficient Irish homes of the Future

At Bord Gáis Energy, our focus is on assisting Irish homeowners in making more informed, sustainable energy use choices and offering affordable pathways to realising those ambitions.

We want to help you save energy and money, avail of the various energy grants at your disposal to improve the comfort, efficiency and value of your home. As such, we strive to provide you with professional advice concerning your home’s upgrades and how to apply for grants. 

Leveraging our expertise in the energy space in partnership with boots on the ground to help make use of consumers’ grant funding, we’ve partnered with home energy installation specialists Energlaze Home Energy Upgrades; an SEAI-approved, market-leading Irish innovator in the development and installation of energy-efficient home upgrades nationwide to bring you the best possible home energy discounts from trusted installers.

Discuss your grant funding requirements

We’re confident this guide has equipped you with the required guidance to understand the various grant funding initiatives and options available to Irish homeowners.

As ever, if you’ve got any grant-related questions for our team or would like us to cover any other sustainable energy topics in our resource centre, please feel free to contact us today and we’d be more than happy to assist with your request and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on the best way forward for your home and family.

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