Retrofitting your home is a hot topic at the moment. The drive to improve your homes energy efficiency is largely driven by ambitious climate targets, a need to decarbonise our home and energy system, the availability of good grants, and the soon-to-be-introduced low-cost home energy upgrade loan scheme.

However, from a homeowner’s point of view, improving the energy efficiency of your home makes it a much more comfortable place to live, saves you money on energy bills, improves air quality in your house, and increases the value of your property. So, in other words, it makes sense, and now is the time to see what’s on offer.


The Climate Action Plan aims to significantly reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The plan sets a target to see 500,000 existing homes upgraded to a B2 BER rating by 2030 and 600,000 heat pump installations, with 400,000 to be installed in existing homes.

However, 50% of houses in Ireland have a BER rating of D or lower and require significant energy upgrades, so the challenge is great. Rural farmhouses, in particular, tend to be at the lower end of energy efficiency and currently, 29% of Irish households are estimated to be living in energy poverty, the highest number ever recorded.

That’s where the SEAI comes in. To date, the SEAI has supported over 450,000 homes with their home energy upgrade journey and arguably, we’re only getting started.

Renewable Roadshow

The upcoming Irish Farmers Journal Renewable Roadshow, taking place across four locations in April, will include a session specifically dedicated to retrofit options for farmhouses. While this session targets individuals living on a farm, it will also be of value to those living in rural Ireland, or in a town or village who are interested in exploring grant options for their homes.

With up to €38,000 in grants available, attendees will be guided through various options including SEAI individual energy upgrade grants, the one-stop shop service, and fully funded energy upgrades.

Vacant property refurbishment grant

The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant is also attracting significant interest. This grant is available for properties built before 2008 that have been vacant for at least two years, offering up to €50,000 to make them liveable again.

For houses that are derelict, an additional top-up of €20,000 may be available, bringing the total grant potential up to €70,000.

This session will provide attendees with an overview of the grant, including eligibility criteria and application processes. This session is a must for those looking to refurbish and live in or rent out a previously vacant building.

Who is speaking at the roadshow?

Each night, a specialist from each region will deliver a talk on what’s available to homeowners and answer questions from the audience. We caught up with them for a comment on the opportunities presented to homeowners from the range of energy retrofit grants available.

Cork: Kieran Lettice

Kieran Lettice, Cluster Manager of Energy Cork and SEAI Sustainable Energy Community Mentor.

Cluster Manager of Energy Cork and SEAI Sustainable Energy Community Mentor

“The range and value of home energy upgrade grants now available from SEAI are really attractive. They can cover up to 50% of the overall energy upgrade costs, depending on the work completed,” Kieran said.

Kilkenny: Michael Kinchella

Michael Kinchella, Project Delivery Engineer, South East Energy Agency.

Project Delivery Engineer, South East Energy Agency

“There are various domestic grants available to improve the energy efficiency of your home, reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills,” explained Michael. “This will increase comfort levels and indoor air quality, allowing you to enjoy a warmer, cosier home,” he said.

Cavan: Stevie Donnelly

Stevie Donnelly, R&D Engineer, Contract Research Unit at ATU Sligo.

R&D Engineer, Contract Research Unit at ATU Sligo “It’s important for rural homeowners to be aware of the various options and grants available so that they can make informed investment decisions to improve the energy efficiency of their homes,” Stevie said.

Athlone: Mel Gavin

Mel Gavin, coordinator, Contract Research Unit at ATU Sligo.

Coordinator, Contract Research Unit at ATU Sligo

“There are excellent opportunities for rural homeowners to retrofit their homes and avail of the significant grants on offer, and this will help make their homes warmer and more comfortable,” Mel said.

Retrofit ready

Retrofit Ready will be in attendance at the Cavan roadshow. Launched last year, the Retrofit Ready project works directly with active communities to develop bottom-up tools and processes which encourage communities to engage in home and building retrofitting.

The Retrofit Ready project aims to bridge the knowledge gap at community level by establishing a Community Retrofit service which combines Knowledge Transfer (Atlantic Technological University) and Technical Support (Plan Energy) with dedicated Retrofit Champion resources working with community structures such as Sustainable Energy Communities.

Retrofit Ready is for anyone who is interested in improving the energy efficiency of their homes, offices or community buildings.

Briefings and training will be delivered at community level in Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan but attendees may be from outside the target counties. For more information, contact Owen McConnon on or Carol Durkin

Home Energy Upgrade Loan Scheme

Central to making home retrofit happen is access to low-cost finance for homeowners. Last year, the Government and European investment Bank Group announced the Home Energy Upgrade Loan Scheme, a new low-interest, home energy upgrade loan, for Ireland.

The low interest loans are set to be a game changer and are expected to be in the region of 3-4%.

The €500m loan scheme is the first of its kind in Ireland and will allow homeowners to borrow from €5,000 to €75,000 on an unsecured basis for a term of up to 10 years to invest in energy efficiency measures in their homes.

The scheme will be delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, and it is anticipated that the loans will be available in Q1 of 2024.

  • Up to €38,000 in energy upgrade grants available.

  • Up to €70,000 available to renovate a direct property.
  • Where, when and how to register

    The events will take place on:

    9 April at the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs, Cork.

    16 April at the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny.

    23 April at the Errigal Country House Hotel, Cavan.

    30 April at the Athlone Springs Hotel, Athlone.

    The roadshows are evening events with doors open from 7pm. The session kicks off at 7.30pm sharp and will run until 10pm with tea and coffee afterwards.

    To register, go to

    If you have any questions about renewable energy options for your farm, business or household, feel free to send us your enquiries ahead of the events at

    The roadshow is being delivered in partnership with FBD Insurance, the Irish Farmers Association and Bord Gáis Energy.