The Better Energy Communities Scheme improves the homes of vulnerable people and communities by providing energy efficiency upgrades and since 2014, Bord Gáis Energy has supported the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to deliver the programme. The measures installed such as new boilers and insulation not only make living conditions more comfortable, but helps reduce energy consumption which has a big impact on lowering household bills and reducing carbon emissions.
In 2015, we committed €500,000 (£374,700) to five community projects which have benefitted nearly 600 households. This brings our total investment committed to the scheme since 2014 to over €738,000 (£553,000), reaching over 750 households throughout Ireland.
One of our projects last year was in Co Louth, delivered in partnership with Respond Housing Association and Kingspan Retrofit. Many of the tenants in Co Louth were living in poorly insulated and heated homes which, coupled with low household incomes, meant many struggled to pay for the energy they needed to keep their homes warm and well lit. Our contribution of €170,000 (£127,400) to the Co Louth community provided vital energy efficiency upgrades for 180 properties. Measures deployed included external wall and loft insulation, highly efficient boilers and stoves, low energy lighting and zoned heating controls, which reduce energy wastage.
As a result of improving Co Louth’s energy efficiency and energy ratings, the community now enjoys better comfort levels at home. And because less money is spent on heating and running their homes, we have also helped improve their standard of living as well as their disposable income.
The project has additionally supported the regeneration of the local area which suffers from high unemployment. Throughout the project, we used local contractors and purchased materials from local suppliers.