Better Energy Financing
Government policy has indicated that a move to more sustainable models of financing and funding home retrofit is required and has asked SEAI to develop a detailed plan for supporting and financing these upgrades. During 2016 SEAI will test a number of financing models and trial some policy options that stimulate action, to help inform future Government strategy in this area.
Government have provided a capital budget of €800,000 for 2016 to provide funding support for a suite of project trials under Better Energy Financing that SEAI will engage in to test various mechanisms for financing home retrofit. It will also be used to inform the future strategy of financing home retrofit in Ireland.
- Research carried out on behalf of SEAI has shown that the reason many homeowners do not carry out an energy upgrade on their home or curtail the depth of the upgrade, is due to lack of funds. This research also shows that over 85% of those who upgrade their home do so using their own funds. This points to lack of available financing being a barrier to greater numbers of and deeper home retrofits.
- Further research of Irish consumers at the end of 2014 has also shown that almost of half would consider taking out a loan to pay for energy efficiency improvements, therefore unlocking this potential could lead to significant savings.
Additionally at the end of 2015 SEAI carried out research as part of the pathways report to unlocking the energy efficiency opportunity. The focus of this research with 1,500 consumers was to ascertain their propensity to borrow to fund retrofit and to establish what the important factors were in encouraging the decision to undertake financing.
- The research found that of the consumers who had investigated ways to reduce energy use through energy efficiency investment but had not acted upon those yet, 74% indicated that lack of funding had a strong relevance in this.
- Additionally for those consumers who had already made a number of energy efficiency investments but agreed that there was more that could be done, 71%of respondents said lack of sufficient funds was a strong factor in not having taken action to reduce energy use even further.
It is also clear the financing is not the only barrier to encouraging home retrofit; our various pieces of research shows that other issues such as:
- targeted promotion
are also essential to stimulate engagement, provide consumer knowledge for decision making and assistance to enable action.