Everyone has the right to live in a home that is warm and well lit. By focusing on improving poor housing stock with low levels of energy efficiency, we can help make this a reality which will also reduce energy bills and carbon emissions.
As part of Bord Gáis Energy’s commitment to the Energy Company Obligation, which requires energy suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of households, we are backing the Better Energy Communities scheme. This is a national energy efficiency upgrade programme run by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
Through partnership with private, public and not-for-profit sectors, grant funding is provided to communities most in need via the scheme. In 2014, Bord Gáis Energy contributed €245,000 (£197,000) to improve the standard of living for over 160 households across five communities.
One of the communities to benefit from the scheme was Wolfe Tone Street in Cork City. The apartments were built in the 1960s and were in desperate need of energy efficiency improvements. Coupled with the fact that many of the tenants were on low-incomes, residents had slipped into fuel poverty and struggled to pay for energy needed to heat their homes adequately.
Through the scheme, 36 apartments were able to install energy upgrades which included external wall and loft insulation, energy efficiency boiler upgrades, window and door replacements as well as low energy lighting.
As a result, residents enjoy more comfortable living conditions due to the energy efficiency rating having improved significantly. Savings on energy bills have helped reduce pressure on household finances.
The scheme also contributed to the regeneration of the local community which suffers from high unemployment as local builders and suppliers were used to upgrade the apartments.