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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 14°C
“The benefits of having gone from a D2 to an A1 have been multiple” - Why this homeowner wishes he’d retrofitted his home sooner
Read how one homeowner cut his energy bills and fossil fuel use thanks to a grant from SEAI.

YOUR HOME IS your castle – a phrase often used to attempt to define the relationship we have with our residence.

Your home should be your sanctuary, where you can be at peace and insulate yourself from the outside world. However, many homes in Ireland are not as cosy as they should be with the majority of homes having a Building Energy Rating (BER) of D or below. 

The Government has introduced a series of supports that looks to improve this figure, with 500,000 homes in Ireland to be upgraded to a minimum B2 BER rating by 2030. Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), as the designated National Retrofit Delivery Body, is part of the solution and wants to see homeowners live in more energy efficient homes, rely less on fossil fuels, save more money and be more comfortable in their homes. 

The supports from SEAI include grants for individual home energy upgrades, a One Stop Shop service for a complete home energy upgrade in one go to bring your home to a B2 BER rating, and a dedicated focus on educating homeowners about the benefits of carrying out a home energy upgrade and how to start that journey, which can be read here

If you’re looking for inspiration on some home energy upgrades, or simply don’t know where to begin with upgrading your home’s BER, discover the story of Gary, a homeowner from Dublin, who transformed his home’s BER from a D2 to an A1 with SEAI’s support through its One Stop Shop service. 

Gary’s Journey From D to A

Gary moved into his home around 16 years ago. The BER was extremely low, due to the building standards during the time of construction. Currently, all new homes in Ireland are built to a much higher BER standard. 

I was the first person to move into this bungalow. It was a new build, it was a D2 BER rating so it could be quite cold at winter time,” Gary said. 

Gary works as a senior climate action officer with An Taisce’s environmental education unit, which gave him some understanding as to why his house was cold and what could be done to fix it. After living in his home for a number of years, he decided to research viable energy upgrades that he could carry out to make his home more energy efficient.

As someone who’s been looking at heat pumps and renewable energies of all descriptions for a long time it was something that I really wanted to do,” Gary explained.

Gary discovered the One Stop Shop option offered by SEAI, which looks to carry out several energy upgrades at one time and bring your home to a minimum B2 rating. The One Stop Shop gives homeowners a chance to do a total overhaul of their homes and improve their BER rating in a short period. SEAI registered One Stop Shops manage the entire energy upgrade project in your home, which can range from insulating attics and installing heat pumps, to installing solar panels and upgrading doors and windows. 

Shutterstock / AlyoshinE Shutterstock / AlyoshinE / AlyoshinE

“I went on to the SEAI website and clicked onto the One Stop Shop option. Within a few clicks, I had my details uploaded and the guys got back to me pretty quickly after that,” Gary said.

Gary opted for a deep retrofit, which included adding ventilation and installing solar panels, triple glazed windows, and a heat pump. As a result, Gary’s home is more energy efficient and comfortable, and it has also increased in value as well.

Gary found the process extremely straightforward and helpful, with information about useful grants readily available.

“Not only was it more efficient and easy and it took all the headaches and hassle out of it for me but with the Micro Generation scheme as well, it just reduced everything so much as a result,” he said.

[It was] a very smooth process from start to finish.”

Gary had originally ruled out solar panels due to their cost, but thanks to the help of an SEAI grant, he could add them to the renovations. Another great benefit of SEAI’s One Stop Shop option is that the homeowner gets the grant upfront as it is deducted from the cost of works. This allowed Gary to, in his words, “get everything done,” and has seen the BER rating of Gary’s home jump to A1, the highest rating available for energy efficiency.

Thanks to the One Stop Shop and getting the deep retrofit done, my energy bills have reduced, I’m no longer using gas for my heating as it’s all gone to electricity now. My fossil fuel use has been reduced but definitely my bills have been reduced as well at the same time which is fantastic,” Gary said. 

“The benefits of having gone from a D2 to an A1 have been multiple,” said Gary, pointing out that the house is less damp and feels warmer on a day-to-day basis. Gary’s simple visit to SEAI’s website has led to a hugely improved living space that he now loves.

Shutterstock / Andrii Anna photographers Shutterstock / Andrii Anna photographers / Andrii Anna photographers

If you can, go for it, but I appreciate everyone’s in different situations so if that’s the case, maybe start off with doing what you can and that could be getting the attic insulated or getting the walls insulated first and doing it step by step, and then later on consider getting the heat pump and PV (solar panels),” he added. 

You can watch Gary’s full testimony below.

Start Your Energy Upgrade Journey Today

If his story has inspired you to get the ball rolling on your own home energy upgrades, or if your curiosity has been piqued, you can visit SEAI’s dedicated home energy upgrades site.

You can opt for step-by-step improvements with the Individual Home Energy Upgrade grants, or avail of a comprehensive home upgrade, like Gary did and use a SEAI registered One Stop Shop, the choice is yours, and with €8 billion in grants to be invested by the Government between now and 2030, now is the perfect time to investigate how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, benefitting from increased comfort and health, as well as reducing your energy bills and adding value to your home.

For more advice on how to plan your home energy upgrade and to find out more about the SEAI Home Energy Upgrades, visit SEAI Home Energy Upgrades

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