Ideal Homes: Giving your home an energy upgrade does not come cheap, so advice is essential

The experts will be on hand to talk about retrofitting and energy upgrades at this autumn’s Permanent TSB Ideal Homes show

Given the sharp increase in energy costs in recent years, many visitors at this month’s Ideal Homes show will be looking at ways of future-proofing their homes, while keeping energy bills to a minimum.

At the show, as well as getting ideas on renovations, interior decor, new kitchens and bathrooms, visitors will also be able to access advice on managing home energy upgrades and grants — something to the forefront of everyone’s minds of late.

A regular at the show, quantity surveyor Patricia Power, formerly of RTÉ’s Room to Improve, says the most important advice for homeowners who are looking to undertake a home energy upgrade is to “do the research, get a survey done, get the correct recommendations and plan it out. This may be something that can be done in stages and over time to suit finances,” she says. “But it is an investment in your home, and will increase the value of your property by upgrading your Ber rating, and improving the overall thermal efficiency and comfort levels within the home.”

She says when looking to make your house as energy efficient as possible, you should look at using a renewable heat source to heat your home, like an air-to-water heat pump, which is run on electricity.


“Then look at retaining this heat by upgrading to triple-glazed windows and doors, and upgrading the insulation in your house, in the areas of the floor, the walls and the roof. This will make your home warmer, cosier and healthier by upgrading your insulation and adding renewables.”

“There is no one size fits all”, says Power, as every dwelling is different, but some tasks are easier to implement than others. Upgrading attic insulation can be done in three days, for example, and is relatively unintrusive, but insulating floors and walls internally, has a knock-on effect on internal floor finishes, skirtings, sockets and switches, “thus an in-direct cost which needs to be considered”.

David Flannery, head of the retrofitting advisory team at Electric Ireland Superhomes says a key consideration is consider whether or not you might be eligible for financial assistance.

“SEAI grants are better than they have ever been, no matter what your budget is,” he says. “If you have an attic that hasn’t been insulated to current standards, this is an easy win and the grant pays for the vast majority of the cost. Likewise, the cost for cavity wall insulation is often almost free to the homeowner, once grants are factored in. But there are no grants for windows unless you combine it with other measures like a heat pump.”

Flannery says that SEAI has established a new programme for deeper retrofit projects via one-stop shops like Electric Ireland Superhomes.

“The benefit of this is that you get all the advice and services you need, under one roof, and this is a major support technically and financially,” he says.


Elsewhere at the show, which takes place at Dublin’s RDS from Friday, October 20th to Sunday, October 22nd, DIY enthusiasts, interior design wannabes and those simply looking to for advice or inspiration for their home, can avail of the combined expertise from hundreds of home improvement professionals and suppliers from around the country.

Special guests participating at the show this year include celebrity chef, Neven Maguire, sustainability journalist Jo Linehan, and architect Hugh Wallace.

Arlene Harris

Arlene Harris

Arlene Harris is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in health, lifestyle, parenting, travel and human interest stories