The next two years will be “critical” in achieving Ireland’s targets for retrofitting homes for energy efficiency, according to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
It said the supply of skilled workers was the “biggest risk” to achieving retrofitting targets and referred to construction sector inflation and supply chain constraints as “significant risks”.
The SEAI also said the number of people willing to undertake home energy upgrades could be impacted if the cost of living remains high.
Retrofitting is a key part of the Government’s Climate Action Plan which sets out a target of upgrading 500,000 homes by 2030.
The latest progress report for the National Retrofit Plan shows that almost 27,200 home energy upgrades of various kinds were supported through the SEAI in 2022.
Of these, the number of homes upgraded to a building energy rating (Ber) increased to 8,481 last year.
There is a target of retrofitting the equivalent of 120,000 to B2 standard between 2019 and 2025 and this will have to increase to 75,000 per year after that to reach the overall 500,000 target.
The latest SEAI report shows that 84,786 homes have so far been retrofitted to some degree with 18,527 to B2 standard.
It said: “The next two years will be critical in achieving our targets and putting in place the groundwork for achieving the 2030 targets.”
As well as highlighting risks to the targets, the SEAI also said: “The pipeline for works is currently very strong and we expect this to be the case for 2023 and into 2024.”
Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan commented on the update saying the National Retrofit Plan is “extremely ambitious and it has to be”, and he mentioned the need for faster action to tackle climate change.
Mr Ryan said: “Momentum in retrofit is building. SEAI supported 15,000 home energy upgrades in 2021, 27,200 last year and will deliver 37,000 this year.
“I have confidence we will meet this target given the strong pipeline of work in place.”