The Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, as confirmed by Minister Peter Burke, has allocated €3.3 million to Westmeath County Council for the retrofitting of 150 local authority-owned houses in the county.
The retrofitting of homes in Battery Heights Athlone (and Dalton Park, Mullingar ) will result in warmer, more comfortable homes and benefit householders’ health through improved air quality. After the works, the Building Energy Ratings (BER ) of homes will typically have gone from an E or D rating to a B2. They will be expected to be substantially cheaper to heat than similar homes heated by oil or gas.
The works, which are part of the Midlands Retrofit Programme and funded by the Carbon Tax, are due to begin in early 2021, with surveys being completed before the end of this year. Works will typically involve insulation, upgrades of windows and doors and installation of heat pumps (renewable energy heating systems ), as committed to under the Programme for Government. This will help Ireland’s efforts to combat climate change. Approximately 40 percent of Ireland’s energy-related carbon emissions are from buildings.
Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael Minister of State, Peter Burke, welcomed the funding, as promised in the Programme for Government and outlined that this is just the beginning of the retrofit plans and aimed at those who are on lower incomes.
The Government has committed to carry out 500,000 retrofits nationwide by 2030. Minister Burke stated that this is part of the Just Transition, which includes a commitment from the Government that nobody is left behind as we move to a low-carbon future.
Westmeath is one of only eight local authorities selected nationwide for this retrofit, due to our dependence on fossil fuels in comparison to other parts of the country.