Lockdown, while difficult, did at least have some benefits for those confined to their homes. Those small DIY jobs put on the long finger, repairs and renovations could at least all be addressed and tackled.

One of those areas actually provides money to help you with those improvements. As Ireland faces more pressure to become as environmentally friendly as our EU neighbours, including the UK for the moment, the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) has a wide range of grants available to homeowners, business owners, communities and large industries who are willing to play their part.

John Lowe of Money Doctors.ie looks at the home area where you can qualify for these lucrative grants, including grants for the following, as well as a bonus for multiple upgrades:

  • Attic and wall insulation (30% of a home's heat is lost through poorly insulated walls) €400 for each, and more for detached houses.
  • Ventilation and draft proofing (window and doors).
  • Solar Thermal (costing between €800 to €1,300 per square metre).
  • Building Energy Rating (BER).
  • Heat Pump System (alternative to fossil fuel heating. grant values are €3,500 for any pump system going to water and for air to air €400. There is an additional €200 grant for the Register Technical Adviser who inspects same).
  • Heating Controls (an upgrade grant is €700) – saves up to 20%.
  • Solar water heating and electricity grant is €1,200 while you can obtain a rebate grant for a battery storage system of up to €1,000 plus you can get €700 for each Kilowatt (kWp) of solar PV installed – the power output of the panel – up to 2kW equal to about six solar panels. These can save c. €200-€300 per year on your domestic electricity bill.
  • EV/Charger for your electric car
  • Compact fluorescent lamps

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for these grants, you must:

  • Be a homeowner or landlord whose home was built and occupied before 2006, if applying for an Insulation or Heating Controls grant.
  • Be a homeowner or landlord whose home was built and occupied before 2011, if applying for a Heat Pump System or Solar Thermal grant.

You can apply online for any SEAI grant here.

Insulation grants include

  • €400 for attic insulation
  • €400 for cavity wall insulation
  • €1,600 for "dry-lining" on apartment or mid-terrace house
  • €2,750 for external wall insulation on apartment or mid-terraced
  • €2,200 for "dry-lining" on semi-detached or end of terrace house
  • €4,500 for external wall insulation on semi-detached or end of terrace
  • €2,400 for "dry-lining" on detached house
  • €6,000 for external wall insulation on detached house

If you complete three upgrades, your grant value will be increased by €300, and four upgrades €400. Grants last for six months so the work must be completed by then.

If your home was built and occupied before 2006, and you are in receipt of social welfare payments, you may be eligible for free energy efficiency improvements.

Mobility Aids Grant Scheme

This scheme does what it says on the tin, offering financial help towards the cost of upgrading your home in line with your mobility needs, such as access ramps, suitable bathrooms or stair lifts. Although the scheme can cover the full cost of works needed, the maximum available grant is €6,000.

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this scheme, you must have a yearly income of less than €30,000.

Housing Aid for Older People Scheme

Similar to the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme, this scheme exists in order to facilitate older people with more complex needs to live at home by upgrading their properties. The maximum grant amount available is €8,000.

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this scheme, you must:

  • Be over 66 years of age (although exceptions may be made by local authorities).
  • Have a yearly income of less than €30,000 in order to qualify for the maximum grant rate of 95%.
  • Have a yearly income of between €30,001 and €35,000 in order to qualify for the next greatest grant rate of 85%.
  • Have a yearly income of between €35,001 and €40,000 in order to qualify for the next greatest grant rate of 75%.
  • Have a yearly income of between €40,001 and €50,000 in order to qualify for the next greatest grant rate of 50%.
  • Have a yearly income of between €50,001 and €60,000 in order to qualify for the lowest grant rate of 30%.

Lead Pipes and Fittings Replacement Scheme

This scheme was introduced in 2016 and applies to those in low-income housing whose water quality is affected by lead in their pipes. The maximum grant available is €4,000.

Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for this scheme, you must:

  • Own your home and occupy it as your main residence.
  • Be replacing pipes that carry water used for human consumption.
  • Be able to provide evidence that lead contamination is a significant risk.
  • Have a yearly income of less than €50,000 in order to qualify for the maximum grant rate of 80%.
  • Have a yearly income of between €50,001 and €75,000 in order to qualify for the next greatest grant rate of 50%.

There you have it – there is no excuse now. You’ll be financially better off too!

For more information click on John Lowe's profile above or on his website.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ.