‘National retrofit wave’ would create thousands of jobs and billions in disposable income

Targets for mass retrofitting of Irish homes must be far more ambitious for policymakers, with the potential for 32,000 new jobs, €600m in economic savings every year, and billions in extra money for citizens to spend.

That is according to a new analysis by the International Energy Research Centre (IERC) based at Tyndall National Institute in Cork, which said as well as the “massive” energy savings that would assist in the climate crisis, there would be €4.5bn of additional disposable income for citizens due to a fall in utility bills.

The paper, authored by Rosemarie MacSweeney with additional contributions from Dr Piyush Verma, Prof Tony Day, and Prof Brian Norton, said ambitious retrofitting was “an investment in the environmental, societal, and economic infrastructures of Ireland”, impacting ecology water and soils, healthcare and social welfare, as well as energy generation and supply.

“This report recommends exceeding current retrofitting ambitions in terms of speed and scale, due to both the number of benefits available and the magnitude of potential financial returns, to meet Ireland’s targets for a shared, decarbonised, climate-neutral future for 2030 (Climate Action Plan), 2040 (Project Ireland), 2050 (European Green Deal) and beyond,” it said.

A “national retrofit renovation wave” could create 32,000 jobs, reduce fuel poverty, and save on healthcare, it said.

This report presents the potential benefits to undertaking a national retrofit renovation wave as well as recommendations for retrofitting ambitions.

IERC Policy & Regulatory Innovation Lead Dr Piyush Verma said

Housing is a fundamental requirement for life and good quality housing is critical to human health and wellbeing. Policymakers need to understand the non-traditional benefits as well as stakeholders involved in home retrofitting. This report brings together a detailed stakeholder mapping and connects some of the previously unconnected dots of the retrofitting market to help develop new strategies for achieving our short-term as well as long-term retrofitting ambitions.”

Professor Brian Norton, Head of Energy Research at Tyndall National Institute, explained

While much retrofitting has taken place in Ireland in recent years, there remains a significant amount of work to be done to improve the overall efficiency of Irish homes. This report makes a strong recommendation to integrate the policies and programmes of other government bodies and departments to leverage the full potential of home retrofitting.

The report highlights the holistic perspective of Irish home retrofitting under its flagship research programme – ‘Energy Policy Insights for Climate Action’ – an initiative funded by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communication Research and Development Programme.

The full report can be accessed here.

Press Release in Irish Examiner: https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40275683.html