Twenty credit unions around the country will soon be rolling out funding to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

The Pro Energy Homes Scheme will offer loans of on average €10,000, with the average spend of the build reaching €15,000.

The move follows a pilot scheme that was run in five credit unions last summer.

The plan is being coordinated by the Solutions Centre, a strategic development unit for credit unions, as well as energy upgrade project management specialists, Retrofit Ireland, in conjunction with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Preferred upgrades included attic insulation, cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, solar thermal panels for hot water, heating system and controls upgrade and windows upgrades. 

Kevin Johnson, CEO of CUDA, the representative and lobby group for many of Ireland's largest credit unions, said that while the idea of making a home cosier and cheaper to run appeals to most homeowners, they struggle to know what to do and who to talk to.

"The idea of completing grant and loan applications forms is enough to put most people off," he stated. 

Mr Johnson said the credit union movement knew that if they wanted to encourage homeowners to significantly improve the energy efficiency of their homes, it needed to make it easy for them to do so. 

"This is an important first step for credit unions in supporting their communities by providing finance for sustainable purposes.

"While this scheme runs for a limited time, we are making a long-term commitment to supporting energy sustainability for home owners and we intend to extend our support by providing low cost finance for electric vehicles and businesses in the very near future and the rebrand to ProEnergy is done in anticipation of this," Mr Johnson added.

Josephine Maguire, National Coordinator for Better Energy with SEAI, said the availability of attractive finance options is an important factor in people's decision to upgrade their homes. 

"Easier access to low cost finance from a local credit union should be very attractive to many people. SEAI's role is to help homes, businesses and communities to be more energy efficient so we are delighted to support innovative initiatives which improve uptake of sustainable home energy solutions," she added.