The search is on to locate the least energy efficient home in Clare as part of an EU pilot study focusing on the impacts of successive energy efficiency upgrade programmes on the county’s housing stock. The Limerick Clare Energy Agency (LCEA), supported by Clare County Council, is conducting the Energy Performance Of Clare Homes (EPOCH) project and says it also is seeking to ascertain why the majority of owners of houses built prior to 2000 did not avail of funding under programmes such as the Better Energy Home and Greener Home schemes.
The LCEA will provide financial assistance towards energy efficiency works and professional energy guidance to the owners of homes deemed to be least energy efficient. The project is open to houses built in Clare before 2005 while the closing date for applications is July 5th.
“For one reason or another and despite financial pressures increasing on homeowners to keep their properties heated, the majority of Clare homes remain energy inefficient,” explains Patrick Stephens, LCEA Manager. “The total number of permanent households in Clare is 42,534, of which 29,269 or just 68.8% were constructed prior to 2000. Our research indicates only 7,423 of these homes have benefited from energy upgrades.”
Figures show heating oil is the dominant heating fuel in 65% of Clare homes built before 2000 with this figure dropping to 50% for homes built during the intervening period. It is likely that fuel poverty has increased in recent years as a result of the economic downturn and has been further compounded by energy inefficient buildings.
He adds: “Many organisations have tried to encourage energy savings in houses, and often the initial cost is given as a reason for not doing something. But we believe that people may have other reasons for not going ahead with energy efficiency works such as not knowing where to start or simply not being aware of the existence of funding mechanisms that have existed for homeowners wishing to undertaken energy upgrades of their homes.”
To enter EPOCH, homeowners must occupy a house built in Clare before 2005 and return a completed questionnaire to the Limerick Clare Energy Agency. The winning submissions will be announced on July 12th and will receive progression guidance and finance towards energy efficiency works.