Energy  |  Successes  |  20.10.2011

100,000 warmer homes in Ireland

Following its housing boom of the last decade, Ireland was left with a stock of poorly insulated housing, problematic for a country which uses imports to meet 90% of its energy requirements. When the Irish Green Party entered Government in 2007, retrofitting these houses was a key priority. By the time they left Government in 2011, over 100,000 homes had been retrofitted under a scheme introduced by energy minister Eamon Ryan. 

The scheme worked by providing home owners with generous grants to insulate their homes with measures such as attic insulation and cavity wall insulation. The amount of funds were increased over time in response to the scheme's popularity, and half of all funds were set aside to target low-income housing. 

As well as reducing fossil fuel dependency and CO2, the scheme also created 3,000 jobs, making it an excellent example of "Green stimulus". The bursting of the Irish property bubble had left thousands of construction workers unemployed, so this gave many of them work.

Ireland's Sustainable Energy Authority reported that for every €1 spent on the scheme, there was a benefit of €5 for the economy. That is why, despite the major cutbacks that had to be made to the public finances, the scheme was expanded during the lifetime of the Government.

With fuel poverty being an issue that effects 160,000 Irish households, there was also a major social justice element to this campaign, especially with the expected increase in fuel prices over the coming years.

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