Conor Lenihan, TD, Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources today officially launched a scheme expected to generate significant employment across Tipperary over the next 6 to 12 months.
The main focus of the Greenloan Home Energy Savers Scheme is to create employment opportunities in local communities by grouping homeowners to avail of large discounts in upgrading their properties.
Fourteen clusters comprising scores of homeowners have already been created in Tipperary under the scheme, which was originally piloted in County Mayo last year as part of the pilot phase of the SEI Home Energy Saving Scheme (HES). The clusters are located in Thurles (5), Nenagh (2), Clonmel (3), Roscrea, Cashel, Galtee Valley and Fethard.
Speaking today Minister Lenihan said: My Department has made available almost EUR50 million to the Home Energy Saving Scheme for 2009. This is expected to fund in excess of 30,000 home energy upgrades this year alone and generate a large amount of much needed employment in the current economic circumstances.
I welcome the great interest in the scheme from the business sector. There is now wide acceptance that the green economy is a major growth area. The almost EUR50 million going into the green economy this year from the Home Energy Saving Scheme offers a very attractive commercial opportunity for businesses that assist homeowners with completing insulation and other works under the scheme and in particular those which add value to the transaction added Minister Lenihan.
Welcoming the launch of the new scheme, Aidan Burke of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said: CIF is delighted to see the launch of this innovative scheme and sees long term benefits in funding the retrofitting of buildings and creating construction employment. The cluster approach is unique and will create all sorts of synergies of benefit to the customer and contractor alike.
Scheme Administrator Mary Stewart said: The Greenloan Scheme enables homeowners to renovate their homes in an organised cluster, save money, help protect the environment, and support local employment and local manufacturers. We believe Tipperary’s clean-tech and construction workers will benefit from the thousands of jobs created nationally by this scheme over the next year as people look to renovate their homes with new wood pellet boilers, solar hot water systems, and attic and cavity wall insulation.
The primary focus of the pilot scheme was efficiency and carbon reduction all based on clustering works to achieve a significant cost reduction for the householder. The national scheme is different in that its primary focus is on job creation she added.
Ms. Stewart pointed out that an estimated 800,000 euro was injected into the County Mayo economy during the eight-week pilot scheme. She explained: Over 115 homes with an average investment of 7,500 euro underwent upgrades, which were carried out by 40 separate contractors throughout Mayo. If the same numbers occur on the national scheme as on the pilot, we can expect to create in excess of 4000 jobs in the next year.
She continued, The Greenloan Scheme is different from the SEI Home Energy Saving Scheme (HES) scheme in that groups of local residents can form clusters. By pooling together, the costs of works are substantially reduced as bulk works are organised at significant discounts of up to 40%. The only commitment that must be made by homeowners is to have a Building Energy Rating (BER) assessment carried out on their home. 200 euro grants are available towards this cost.
The Greenloan Scheme comes with strict quality assurance, low pricing on equipment upgrades and insulation, and open access to individuals to generate business by becoming BER cluster leaders and installers, thus helping to generate employment. Cluster participants can include homeowners, BER Assessors, Architects, Engineers, Construction Workers, Gardeners, Plumbers and Electricians.
According to Ms. Stewart, In advance of carbon taxes and payments to cover the cost of carbon emissions, the Greenloan scheme is providing businesses, homeowners and landlords the ideal opportunity to upgrade their cost base in advance of these extra taxes. Prices in the construction industry have never been lower so homeowners should take advantage of low product prices, lower installation prices and grant assistance now.
For more on the Greenloan Home Energy Savers Scheme, including an interactive map identifying existing clusters throughout Ireland, see http://www.greenloan.ie.