The price of Oil and wholesale gas fell during 2015/2016 and we saw some small drops in energy prices from the energy suppliers . Prices started rising again in late 2017 and early 2018 – mainly as a result of gas price increases. – so those fuel bills could be going back up again soon.
One easy and free way to cut fuel bills is to switch to a cheaper supplier. Most of the energy companies offer cheaper rates for new customers. See the best switching deals here.
Grants : There has been some publicity about Home Insulation Grants and Energy Efficiency – but it seems there are still hundreds of thousands of homes in Ireland that are poorly insulated and using inefficient costly methods of heating. More about Grants Here .
In 2012 the government estimated that there were approximately one million buildings in Ireland that would benefit from some form of energy efficiency retrofit which could lead to lifetime energy savings worth €16 billion
The cost of buying and fitting insulation and new heating systems can be expensive – but the savings on fuel bills that can be achieved could make it worthwhile and pay for themselves.
As well grants available for insulation and heating systems there are now special types of mortgages that can be used to pay for retrofitting of green energy saving modifications to your home.
The “Retrofit Finance Initiative” from the Irish Banking Federation has been taken up by a few banks in Ireland. You can take out a mortgage top-up in order to make your house more energy efficient through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) Better Energy Homes Scheme.
As well as getting grants to help with the cost – you can pay the balance by borrowing the finance required at mortgage rates of interest by releasing a portion of the equity in your home.
KBC is one bank in Ireland offering this Retrofit Finance – They will lend a minimum of €10,000 for a minimum term of 3 years. In the case of older houses with poor BER ratings – the savings you could make on energy bills would even cover the cost of the loan.
For example : a 1970’s bungalow 150 sq metres – with a poor BER rating of E1 where there is no outstanding mortgage. The house has very little insulation and an old inefficient oil boiler. The energy usage is 80% oil and 20% Electricity with annual bills coming in at €4560 .
It is estimated that the cost of attic insulation, external wall insulation and a high efficiency oil fired boiler with heating controls upgrade will be in the region of €18,000.
The owner could claim grants of €5500 towards these costs – leaving the net amount to be financed of €12,500
| Maximum Grants Available from SEAI (Checked Jan 2018)
After installation these changes should improve the BER from E1 to C2. This should result in an energy saving of about 40% and a reduction in fuel bills of about €153 per month. (€1836 a year). These savings will more than likely get bigger each year as energy prices increase .
With a Retrofit mortgage – the homeowner could borrow the full amount of €13290 over 10 years – with repayments of around €135 a month (interest rate of 4%) . This is less than the monthly savings on the fuel bills – so the changes will in effect pay for themselves!
You could also try switching your halogen downlighers to these more efficient LED ones and cut their energy usage by as much as 90%-