There’s no denying that electricity and gas prices in Ireland are high. Light and heat are a necessity to live, and unfortunately come along with a monthly bill for each service. In addition to paying anywhere from 15.90 to 18.77 cent per kilowatt hour for electricity used, households in Ireland also face a standing charge that runs anywhere from €139 to €166 per annum depending on the provider you choose.
While shopping around and switching providers may save you money, the best and most efficient way to reduce your monthly energy bills is to simply stop using so much. This is easier said than done – especially when we rely on energy to heat our homes and keep us healthy and comfortable during the cold months.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make your home more energy efficient, reduce your bills, and live more comfortably without breaking the bank.
Save money by taking advantage of an energy efficiency incentive
Most utilities in Ireland have energy savings targets they must reach to stay in compliance with the law. These energy savings must come from real, verifiable measures, such as upgrading a building’s insulation or heating system. In return for homeowners installing energy efficiency measures, some utilities are offering a discount on a future electricity or gas bill.
Take KORE’s Energy Efficiency Incentive for example. You could earn a €104 discount on your electricity bill by installing roof insulation, €260 by installing cavity wall insulation and €396 by upgrading your boiler with entry level heating controls. There are over 20 different measures you can install in your home to earn a discount on your electricity or gas bill.
In addition to the one-off discount you’ll receive on your bill, you may continue to see savings every month. A properly insulated home requires less energy to heat and will stay warmer for longer periods of time. You can supplement these savings by being conscious about turning off lights when you leave a room, unplugging unused electrical appliances, running the immersion heater for shorter periods of time and air drying clothes rather than using a clothes dryer. There are many other tips that can help reduce your home’s energy consumption and your monthly bill.
Apply for a grant through SEAI’s Better Energy Homes Scheme
If you’re serious about reducing your home’s energy consumption by installing energy efficiency measures, it’s a good idea to see if you qualify for SEAI’s Better Energy Homes Scheme. To qualify for the Better Energy Homes Scheme your home must have been built before 2006.The Scheme currently offers a €300 grant for cavity wall insulation and €300 grant for attic insulation.
The Better Energy Home Scheme will also help pay up to €700 for upgrading a boiler with new heating controls, and up to €1200 if you install a new solar heating system. A full list of qualifying measures can be found here. You’ll need to have a Building Energy Rating (BER) carried out after the works are complete to be eligible for the grant, and the contractor that installs the works must be SEAI registered. The grant amount for a BER is €50.
If you qualify for KORE’s Energy Efficiency Incentive and the Better Energy Homes Scheme you can even combine the two together to save even more. New cavity wall insulation and attic insulation can save you €1014 in combined grants and energy bill discounts, keeping your out of pocket expense to a bare minimum.
Even better, now if you install three qualifying measures SEAI will offer you a bonus grant of €300, and an additional €100 if you decide to install a fourth measure. Both new applicants and homeowners who’ve already had work completed are eligible for bonus grants.
Apply for free insulation through KORE’s Warmer Home Scheme
Insulation is an investment, and even with grants and energy incentives it can cost you money out of pocket to install. If your home is in need of insulation upgrades and you can’t afford the costs, there are programmes available to reduce the out of pocket cost to zero. While the installed measures are more limited, the home’s ability to retain heat is significantly increased after the works are completed, especially if there was little to no insulation installed beforehand.
KORE’s Warmer Homes Scheme (administered by SEAI) offers free cavity wall insulation, attic insulation, pipe insulation, cold and hot water tank lagging jackets, wall and roof ventilation, draught proofing, low energy light bulbs, energy advice and a Building Energy Rating (BER). These measures are installed at no-cost to the homeowner, as long as the requirements of the programme are met. To qualify your home must have been built before 2006 and you must be in receipt of one of the following:
- Fuel Allowance as part of the National Fuel Scheme
- Job Seekers Allowance for more than 6 months and with children under 7 years of age
- Working Family Payment
- One-Parent Family Payment
- Domiciliary Care Allowance
- Carers Allowance (living in the same home as the person being cared for)
To prove your eligibility you must complete an application and have it signed by your local Department of Social Protection office to verify benefits. Homes are completed in batches so there may be a wait from the time your application is approved until the works are installed. To learn more about KORE’s Warmer Homes Scheme visit WarmerHomes.ie or submit your information directly on the KORE website.
Start saving money today
You should notice an increased comfort level in your home the day new insulation is installed. You’ll spend less on your heating bills and your home will stay warmer for longer periods of time. You may find you don’t have to run your heat for nearly as long to achieve the same temperature. Proper draught proofing will keep your home at a consistent temperature, and ventilation in the walls and roof will keep the air fresh and reduce the risk of moisture, condensation and mould growth.
Have you had new insulation installed through one of the programmes mentioned? How much have you saved? Leave a comment below!