Soaring utility bills push homeowners to improve energy efficiency

‘Mountain has yet to be climbed’ if Ireland is to achieve ambitious climate targets, says BPFI

Higher energy bills are incentivising Irish households to improve home energy efficiency as they look to reduce fuel costs, new research by the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) has suggested.

Some 64 per cent of consumers surveyed by Amarách on behalf of the bank lobby, part of a paper on sustainable finance, said consumers have carried out at least one significant energy efficiency home improvement, with 42 per cent planning to do at least one in the next three years.

Almost half of respondents said that reducing their utility bills was their motivation for doing so while 24 per cent said they wanted to make their homes warmer.

Between 43 per cent and 54 per cent of those planning to make home energy improvements in the next three years plan to fund the work with their savings. Adopting a different approach, between 26 per cent and 38 per cent plan to use Government grants, credit union or bank loans or mortgage top-ups to help finance energy efficiency projects.


The BPFI said the results of the survey show the important role that banks have to play in helping to achieve Ireland’s climate action goals.

“Irish retail banks have already made significant movements to deliver on the objectives of the Climate Action Plan by providing much-needed finance at preferable green interest rates to thousands of customers to improve their energy efficiency,” said BPFI chief executive Brian Hayes in a statement on Thursday.

“However, there is still a way to go. It is estimated €20 billion per annum of investment will be required over the next 10 years to reach Ireland’s emission reduction target – about one third of which will be public capital spending with the rest needing to come from private investment. It is clear therefore that, without the mobilisation of private finance, targets set out within Climate Action Plan cannot be reached.”

It comes after the Oireachtas environment committee was told last month that the Government’s low-cost loan scheme to provide funding for retrofit programmes, which was due to be in place this summer, will not begin until the first quarter of next year.

The national retrofitting programme – aimed at delivering 75,000 home upgrades a year from 2026-30 to achieve an overall target of 500,000 by 2030 – has faced significant headwinds due to inflation and supply chain constraints.

Mr Hayes said that “a mountain has yet to be climbed” in achieving the ambitious targets set out in the Government’s Climate Action Plan.

“With consumers and businesses now face an escalating energy and cost of living crises as the winter sets in, it’s a very real reminder that time is of the essence,” he said.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times