Galway credit unions combine to launch innovative ProEnergy Homes package

Announcing the launch of the upcoming ProEnergy Homes Event in the Clayton Hotel from 2-4pm on June 9 are Bernadette Diskin, St Jarlath's Credit Union, Ronan Pepper, St Columba's Credit Union, Lisa Stewart, St Anthony's & Claddagh Credit Union & David McDonnell, Naomh Breandan Credit Union.

Announcing the launch of the upcoming ProEnergy Homes Event in the Clayton Hotel from 2-4pm on June 9 are Bernadette Diskin, St Jarlath's Credit Union, Ronan Pepper, St Columba's Credit Union, Lisa Stewart, St Anthony's & Claddagh Credit Union & David McDonnell, Naomh Breandan Credit Union.

Four Galway Credit Unions have come together to bring all their members a brand new loan package, ProEnergy Homes — an end-to-end package for energy saving home improvements, up to 35 per cent SEAI grant and a low rate credit union loan.

Join them on Sunday June 9 for the official launch in The Clayton Hotel from 2-4pm where you can talk with an SEAI representative, learn how you can avail of a grant of up to 35 per cent and speak to credit union loans officers on how to avail of this package. Admission is free with limited tickets available on Eventbrite, so book fast to secure your place.

Naomh Breandan Credit Union, St Anthony’s & Claddagh Credit Union, St Columba’s Credit Union & St Jarlath’s Credit Union have joined forces with other Credit Unions nationally to provide access to this new home improvement funding scheme developed by the Solution Centre in conjunction with the SEAI and Retrofit Ireland (‘REIL’ ). The scheme, which was piloted in five credit unions from August to September last year, is reported to have been hugely popular amongst people looking to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of their home.

The scheme combines a dedicated project manager to support applicants every step of the way, a heavily subsidised home survey and report, easy access to SEAI grant funding of 35% towards the cost of approved energy upgrades to an applicant’s home together with low cost finance for the balance of the costs from participating credit unions.

During the pilot phase participants borrowed an average of €10,000 and spent an average of €15,000.

Preferred upgrades included:

Attic insulation

Cavity wall insulation

External wall insulation

Solar thermal panels (hot water )

Heating system and controls upgrade

Windows upgrades

Cathal Tyther, Manager of the Solution Centre which works with forty-eight credit unions, welcomed the planned nationwide roll-out of the scheme.

“We weren’t surprised by the strong uptake during the pilot phase, as a recent SEAI consumer survey found that 74% of people said that they hadn’t previously considered upgrading their property as they did not have sufficient funds to consider an energy reduction project in their home. We are delighted that our credit unions are supporting their members by providing low cost finance to make energy upgrades attainable for more people because the benefits for our members, their communities and environment are enormous.

“This year we are targeting a ten-fold increase in the amount of works the scheme supports, by expanding the scheme to around twenty credit unions nationally. Our main focus is to make the homes more comfortable, more efficient and to reduce carbon emissions. We will also be extending the original deadline to allow the initiative to run over the Summer months and into early Autumn – so that people can avail of the long evenings and fine weather to get external home works carried out.”

As programme coordinators, REIL are responsible for the procurement and completion of all works.

Paddy Sweeney, Managing Director of REIL said that this initiative we have taken all the ‘leg-work’ away from the homeowner. All they need to do is fill out an application form, after which REIL will conduct an assessment on their property and present them with a report. They can then decide whether or not they would like to proceed. Absolutely no money changes hands until all improvements have been made. From beginning to end, the input required by the home owner is minimal.

“The way this scheme is structured, there is easy access to grant funding which will significantly reduce the cost (by 35% ), while repayments on the credit union loan funding the balance of the costs of works can typically be expected to be largely offset by the reduced energy cost in the majority of cases. The payback periods can be relatively short, particularly for items such as attic and cavity wall insulation, heating controls and replacing an open fire with a solid fuel stove. This means many people funding this with a credit union loan over 5-7 years could be making net savings within 5 years, as well as having a cosier house from the get-go.”

Speaking of the decision to roll out this scheme across the country, Kevin Johnson, CEO of CUDA, the representative and lobby group for many of Ireland’s largest credit unions and the organisation behind the Solution Centre, commented,

“The idea of making a home cosier and cheaper to run appeals to most homeowners, but they struggle to know what to do and who to talk to, and the idea of completing grant and loan applications forms is enough to put most people off. We knew that if we wanted to encourage homeowners to significantly improve the energy efficiency of their homes, we needed to make it easy for them to do so. And that’s exactly with the scheme does.

“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,” he said.

Make sure to book your place at the launch of ProEnergy Homes Scheme on Eventbrite as tickets are limited or contact your Credit union on: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

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