The existing housing stock in Ireland continues to pose one of our greatest energy efficiency challenges, with a considerable portion of the current building stock performing poorly when compared with buildings built to current standards. As many as one million homes built in the last century are considered to be significantly energy inefficient, resulting in higher energy bills and, in some cases, poorer health and wellbeing for homeowners.

Million Home Retrofit Opportunity

Pat Lehane July 28, 2017 , , , , , ,

Denis Naughten, TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment with Jim Gannon, Chief Executive, SEAI and Ms Victoria Burrows, Project Manager, World Green Building Council.

To tackle this challenge and to support the learning process, SEAI has unveiled the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme, with support funding from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment. This new multi-annual pilot programme – with an initial budget

of €5 million in 2017 – will focus initially on the residential market and reflects both the depth and scale of the challenge which will require a broad multi-disciplinary approach.

The pilot is the first of SEAI’s multi-annual pilots which will investigate the challenges and opportunities that deep retrofit presents to the pre-2006 domestic housing stock. The learning from these pilots will inform SEAI’s approach and support towards the large-scale deep retrofit of buildings in Ireland.

Funding will be provided to projects that demonstrate an integrated, comprehensive strategy for significantly improving home energy performance. Conor Hanniffy is the Programme Manager for the scheme. With a background in mechanical engineering, Conor has over 18 years programme management experience in private and public sectors. He previously managed SEAI’s Accelerated Capital Allowance Programme for energy efficient equipment, and the Building Energy Rating (BER) Programme.

To support the early development of the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme, SEAI has published both a definition, and the guiding principles, behind the concept to assist in providing a clear market target. Guidance underpinning high-quality delivery of deep retrofit pilot projects will include Standard Recommendations 54 (SR 54).

What is deep retrofit?                                                                                                                                         Deep retrofit is the significant upgrade of a building toward nearly zero energy requirements where it is practically feasible and achievable. SEAI has also provided the following guiding principles to support this definition:

— Minimum A3 Building Energy Rating (A3) requirement with a minimum of 150kWh/m2/yr uplift in the BER energy value;

— Whole-house solution focused on a fabric first approach;

— Deployment of renewables transition away from fossil fuels. The pilot scheme will only support renewable energy sources as a method for heating and electricity generation.

Who is scheme aimed at?                                                                                                                                   With a target market of one million homes, the pilot scheme will target building archetypes which are representative of building stock. SEAI invites projects to be delivered via community groups, local authorities, energy agencies and private-sector deep retrofit service providers who can provide end-to-end project delivery.

How are the projects funded?                                                                                                                               SEAI will provide up to 50% funding of the total capital costs and project management costs (including design fees). For voluntary housing association homes, and the homes of those that are in energy poverty (defined as meeting the Warmer Homes eligibility criteria), SEAI will provide a much higher rate of funding, up to 95%. This is only available as part of a wider project that includes a mix of non-energy poverty homes (75%) with the energy poverty component subvention applied to 25% of the total number of homes in each project.

The pilot provides an opportunity to show how the deep retrofit of dwellings can be achieved using a “fabric upgrade first” approach (insulation, windows and doors) coupled with renewable energy technologies. It will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the  importance of ventilation systems for ensuring sufficient indoor air quality where the building’s airtightness has been improved.

SEAI will also provide a significant contribution to a mandatory pre-works and post-works BER to demonstrate the upgrade, and an air-pressure test package to maximise the impact of energy efficiency works.

Toward zero deep retrofit conference                                                                                                               SEAI recently hosted its inaugural deep retrofit conference which brought together over 200 key stakeholders. This included policy-makers, state bodies, researchers, project managers, property owners and landlords, technology providers, financiers and contractors.

This event will act as an annual review and information sharing platform as to best practice and innovation, research findings and delivery of deep retrofit in Ireland across all demographic areas, technologies and building types.

A broad range of international and national speakers shared insights and experience from the following perspectives — vision and policy; behavioural insights; building capacity; and leveraging the opportunity.

All presentations and the recorded webcast are available at:—                               www.seai.ie/Grants/Deep-Retrofit-Programme/

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Nov/Dec 2019

About the Author:

Pat Lehane