€1.2 million investment in Carlow homes under the Warmer Homes Scheme – Carlow County Development Partnership

Carlow County Development Partnership the agency responsible for delivering the Warmer Homes Scheme, has secured over €1.2 million in investment in the Warmer Homes Scheme for the people of Carlow Town and County.

The Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS) was launched as part of ‘Better Energy, the National Upgrade Programme’ in May 2011 in the context of the Government’s Jobs Initiative and is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

To date some 340 homes in Carlow have had work carried out under the WHS and their occupants are enjoying the benefits of a warmer, more comfortable home.

The WHS offers grants to homeowners who wish to improve the energy efficiency and comfort conditions of homes occupied by vulnerable households in receipt of the National Fuel Allowance Scheme through the installation of draught proofing, attic insulation, lagging jackets, low energy light bulbs and cavity wall insulation where appropriate.  The scheme expanded in 2013 with the introduction of ventilation where appropriate.

Mary Walsh CEO of Carlow County Development Partnership says, “The value of the Warmer Homes Scheme to Carlow is significant with over €1.2 million of investment for private home owners secured by Carlow County Development Partnership since start up in late 2011. Some €550,000 worth of insulating materials have been installed in Carlow homes with the grant from Sustainable Energy Ireland while over €651,000 is sourced from the Department of Social Protection to cover labour and associated costs for the scheme.

“Currently, we have a bid submitted to SEAI for a grant to insulate a further 80 homes in Carlow. This will take us up to late autumn 2014. There are approximately 30 applicants on our waiting list so already we have a good idea of who will have their homes insulated in 2014,”explained Ms Walsh.

Meanwhile, the grants are having the greatest impact on homeowners themselves who are very satisfied with the results of the works carried out.

Darren Kavanagh, Old Leighlin, Carlow who had work carried out on his home says, “We are delighted with the work that has been done to our home.  There is no question but my house feels warmer and holds the heat better since the work was carried out, thanks to all in the WHS.”

To secure the contract for the WHS for Carlow, Carlow County Development Partnership has to submit a bid to SEAI and to date has been successful on every occasion.

Ms Walsh points out, “With uncertainties in relation to capital funds in today’s economic climate it is always a concern that funding for schemes such as the WHS will run dry, however, as we see the positive results of the WHS on a daily basis, Carlow County Development Partnership is prioritising this scheme and will work hard to ensure that the funds will be available to continue the good work being carried out by Peter Mulhern who heads up this scheme, with his team of in-house installers and assessors.”

At the launch of the Better Energy Programme in June 2011, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte said, “There is only one long-term solution to making energy more affordable – using less of it. Improving the thermal efficiency of homes is the most cost effective way of increasing energy affordability and reducing energy poverty.”