With Ireland’s very ambitious targets to upgrade the energy efficiency of 500 thousand homes over the next 10 years, a lot of people are talking about retrofitting. It’s easy to see why, who doesn’t want a warmer, comfier home that saves you money all while being kinder to the planet?
But a lot of the information available online can be very confusing, so if you’re interested in availing of all the benefits of making your home more energy efficient but don’t know your heat pump from your solar panels, we’ve got you covered here with a simple five step guide to get you on your way.
1. Talk to an expert
There’s a lot to consider with a home energy upgrade so its best to start your journey with people you can trust who can give you sound, practical advice.
Under the ProEnergy Homes scheme, Sarsfield Credit Union has partnered with Retrofit Energy Ireland (‘REIL’), one of the largest retrofit project management companies in the country who are real experts in everything relating to energy upgrades.
You can submit a really quick Expression of Interest Form online and an REIL expert advisor will then get in touch to discuss options that are right for you and your home. Your advisor is there to guide you through the process, they are project managers and technical advisors so you won’t get any pushy sales pitch.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure about proceeding right away, the call is free and with no obligations so there’s no pressure on you and it’s a great first step towards a warmer, more energy efficient home.
2. Arrange a home survey
Once you’ve made the decision that you’d like to assess all of your options in more detail, your REIL expert advisor will arrange for a surveyor to call to your home.
This is really important as every property is different and it’s important that it be visited by an experienced surveyor who can determine the best and most cost-effective upgrades for your home.
The home survey usually takes around one hour and your surveyor will take a look at the existing insulation in your home, especially in areas like your roof, windows, walls and floors. They’ll also look at your current heating system, so maybe you have an oil or gas boiler or maybe electric heating.
After the visit, your surveyor will take a couple of days to draft a detailed report for you that will set out all of the upgrades available to you and the cost of each. There are good grants available on most works so the report will set out what benefits you’ll be entitled to also, but more on that in a bit.
With this report you’ll be in a position to make informed choices about what is right for you. It’s very cheap too, available in most cases at a heavily discounted fee of €99 which will even be returned to you if you go ahead with works! In some cases, additional reports might be necessary at an additional cost but don’t worry, these aren’t necessary in most cases and your REIL expert advisor will advise you of this well in advance and you can decide whether or not to go ahead with them.
3. Decide on the option that is right for you
Once you have your home survey report, you will have all of the information you need to make an informed choice on the type of upgrades that are best for you. Your REIL expert advisor will also be available to answer any technical questions you might have in making your decision.
But let’s face it, for most of us the decision will come down to price. That’s where Sarsfield Credit Union steps in with a range of low-cost finance options to make the upgrades affordable with regular low repayments.
Most people fund their upgrades through a mixture of grants, a Sarsfield Credit Union loan and some savings.
The grants are very attractive, with up to 35% of the costs covered if you’re getting your home to a B2 energy rating, but even for smaller projects good grants are available for set amounts, for example you can receive €6,000 towards installing external wall insulation to a detached house.
For the balance of the costs, savings are a great way to keep your finance requirements lower. With interest rates on deposits so low, many people are deciding that it’s a really good move to instead invest in home energy upgrades that will give them a long-term return by saving money on their heating bills.
But don’t worry if you don’t have any savings to spare. Sarsfield Credit Union will be happy to lend the full amount you require to get all of the works you’d like done at very competitive rates once the repayments are affordable for you. A staff Member in Sarsfield Credit Union will be happy to confirm with you that the loan required will be available once works are complete.
3. Confirm your project with REIL
Once you’ve decided on the best option for you, simply inform your REIL expert advisor. From here, this is where the process gets really slick.
No matter how complex the project is, you don’t have to worry about a thing, your REIL expert advisor will look after everything for you.
REIL will arrange for all of the contractors and tradespeople you need to call out and will manage the project for you to make sure everything stays on track and in budget.
REIL will pay all of the contractors so you don’t have to worry about cash flow or bills.
Once the works are complete, there is quality assurance so you can have confidence that everything has been completed in accordance with building regulations.
REIL will also take care of your grant application to the SEAI so you don’t have to complete any paperwork. Best of all, REIL will have paid all of the contractors so you’re not out of pocket while waiting for the grant to be processed.
Finally, REIL will advise your Sarsfield Credit Union when everything is finished and we will be in touch with you to arrange for the drawdown of your loan which can even be paid directly to REIL.
That’s it, all works are completed and paid for and you need only speak with your REIL expert advisor who can take it from there.
Put your feet up and enjoy all of the benefits of your more energy efficient home. It’s going to be much warmer and cosier in the Winter and you’ll notice your heating bills are lower too. Who doesn’t want a bit of extra cash in the run up to Christmas! You can also enjoy your new home knowing you’ve reduced your carbon emissions and helped the environment too.
For more information, please visit www.sarsfieldcu.ie/5steps
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