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Housing clusters can get green grant

Further information: SEI’s website  | 1850 927 000

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan has announced that Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) is now inviting applications for the ‘Cluster Housing’ phase of the Government’s Home Energy Saving Pilot Scheme.

Grants of up to €2000 per household are now available to clusters of five or more houses for energy improvements such as insulation and heating controls. The objective of the cluster element is to demonstrate the economies of scale that are achievable when a group of homeowners co-operate on the installation of common energy saving measures.

The Home Energy Saving Scheme was announced by Minister Ryan in April of this year and is already well under way in three separate geographic areas, North Tipperary, Limerick/Clare, and Dundalk, with over 1000 homes currently participating. These areas are testing the response when people participate on an individual home basis. The next phase of the pilot scheme is to test the response of groups of homes, and it is this ‘Cluster’ phase, open to all parts of the country, which SEI is now inviting applications for.

Minister Ryan said: "One of the most sensible ways to help deal with rising energy costs is to improve the energy efficiency of our homes. That is exactly what this scheme is already doing and in fact, it has been estimated that householders can save up to €500 a year by bringing their houses up to modern energy efficiency standards. It is logical that when groups of houses come together the initial outlay may be lessened while the return remains just as good. I would urge people to consider how best they might take advantage of this opportunity to not only help themselves, but also others in their community as well as the environment."

Brian Motherway, from SEI said: “The first phase of the pilot programme is running very successfully and we are now keen to see how people will respond to the cluster phase. We know that significant economies of scale are possible where a group of homes act together and we are confident that homeowners will be eager to avail of this opportunity.”

Any group of homes can come together to form a cluster – for instance via a residents’ association or a property management company. Landlords with multiple dwellings can also apply. Third parties, such as local energy agencies or building contractors, can also gather a group of participants to form a cluster.
Information gathered by SEI during the pilot scheme will be evaluated to inform the potential roll-out of a full scale scheme in 2009.

Funding for the cluster phase is limited and intended to support a total of 500 homes. Applicants will be dealt with on a first-come-first-serve basis and SEI has specified that all remedial works must be completed by the end of November 2008. Applicants must secure agreement from all participating households in each cluster to pay a reduced fee of €100 for the initial home energy assessment that will recommend what actions should be taken. Following the assessment an advisory report will be prepared for each household identifying measures for which the grant can be used.

Further information is available through SEI’s website www.sei.ie/hes or by calling 1850 927 000

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