Homeowners looking to upgrade the energy efficiency of their house can now avail of low-interest loans.

Announced by the Government on Wednesday 24 April, the Home Energy Upgrade Loan Scheme is now live, with PTSB being the first provider to come to the table.

The loan rates it is providing start at 3.55%, with other major lenders expected to announce their packages soon. At the moment, other personal loan rates can be up to 14% interest.

The scheme itself was announced by the Government in December 2023 with an expected start date of January, which was later pushed to March, so it is welcome news that it is no longer on the long finger.

Consumers can avail of the loans in conjunction with Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland (SEAI) grants and up to 25% of the amount borrowed can be used for non-energy efficiency works such as painting and decorating.

Reducing barriers for energy upgrades

With more lenders and increased competition in the market, it is expected that rates will be extremely competitive, offering consumers more choice and value.

The loans will help lower the financial barriers encountered by homeowners, making home energy upgrades more accessible and affordable.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan said the new low-cost loans will help with retrofit delivery this year and the year ahead.

“We have designed the loans with the needs of homeowners in mind. Access will be simple and speedy, with an emphasis on reducing the workload for homeowners accessing both loans and grants.

"We also anticipate that with greater competition on the market, loan rates will also become more competitive, giving people more choice and value," said the minister.

Terms of the loan

In order to avail of the low-cost loans, the upgrade projects musts be supported by an SEAI grant and be projected to achieve a minimum 20% improvement in the Building Energy Rating (BER) of the building.

Homeowners can apply for the loans through the participating finance providers.