Recently, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan was presented with a painting by CHI Member and artist Jennifer Loughran to celebrate the end of phase one of Co-operative Housing Ireland’s ‘Improving Warmth and Wellbeing’ programme. Phase one saw the deep energy retrofit of 52 homes on Dublin’s South Earl Street and Seán MacDermott Street. The programme will see a total of 216 homes brought up to a minimum BER A3 rating with air-to-water heat pumps replacing older boilers. The programme is supported by SEAI and SSE Airtricity grants and managed by Kingdom Insultation Ltd.
The presentation took place at Brookview Court in Tallaght, where a pilot project for the programme was undertaken last year.
Speaking at the presentation, Minister Ryan said, “I have had the opportunity today to speak to several residents here in Brookview Court about the difference home energy upgrades have made to their wellbeing. This is what retrofitting is all about – making people’s homes warmer, more comfortable and cheaper to run. We want to see this happen in development after development, estate after estate, home after home. This year, Government has allocated a total of €267 million for SEAI residential and community retrofit schemes. This is the highest ever allocation for the schemes and will support almost 27,000 home energy upgrades, including over 8,600 homes to a BER of B2. Funding is available under these schemes to support communities and Approved Housing Bodies to upgrade their properties.”
Minister Ryan continued, “The sustained commitment of Approved Housing Bodies, like Co-operative Housing Ireland, to retrofitting pre-existing housing stock is to be commended, not only as it provides immediate comfort and savings for those living in CHI homes, but because it also contributes to the wider goal of retrofitting 500,000 Irish homes by 2030 as set out in the National Retrofit Plan. The Russia-Ukraine war highlights the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels – large scale, deep retrofit projects, like Brookview Court, are key to this.”
The Minister was shown around the neighbourhood by CHI Member and Brookview Court resident, Jennifer Loughran, where he had a chance to meet with several Members to discuss the difference retrofitting of their homes has made to their daily lives.
Jennifer won a CHI art competition, beautifully capturing the theme of ‘My Colourful Community’, in her painting. As part of the pilot project of ‘Improving Warmth and Wellbeing’, all 58 homes in Brookview Court, Tallaght, a housing estate owned and managed by CHI, underwent a series of retrofit projects in 2021. The deep energy retrofit included the installation of new windows and doors, new external doors, improved attic insulation and wall insulation, and the fitting of air-to-water heat pumps. Retrofit works such as these make a considerable difference to lives of those living in CHI homes.
Member and Brookview Court resident Aisling Brannigan discussed the impact the upgrades had made to her life. “I was delighted to find out that they were retrofitting our homes. The heat is great now, especially with the new windows and doors. With the windows and doors before, there were obviously more draughts than we realised and now it almost gets too warm! Since the retrofit, I’ve saved an average of €100 a month during the winter.”
CHI’s Head of Asset Management and Property Services, David McCourt speaking about the ‘Improving Warmth and Wellbeing’ programme said, “Deep energy retrofit makes a considerable difference to our Members’ lives by providing them with heating and hot water round the clock, preventing damp in the home, and providing long-term savings for many people at risk of fuel poverty. He continued, “We are very grateful to SEAI and SSE Airtricity for their continued financial support in the completion of these retrofit projects. The viability of these projects is dependent on granting funding and Government support.” CHI is a leading Approved Housing Body working with Local Authorities and others to meet the housing needs of low-income households on social housing waiting lists. CHI is committed to economic and environmental sustainability which these grants make possible.