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€10 Million Expansion to Warmth & Wellbeing Scheme

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€10 Million Expansion to Warmth & Wellbeing Scheme

€10 Million Expansion to Warmth & Wellbeing Scheme
December 12
11:40 2016

The Warmth & Wellbeing pilot scheme, which provides energy free efficiency upgrades to homes in some areas of Dublin, will be expanded next year, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten announced on Thursday. The scheme, which covers people over 55 in Dublin 12 and 24 who have respiratory conditions and are in energy poverty, will be expanded next year to cover homes with young children and additional areas; Dublin 8, 10 and 22.

“As this scheme will demonstrate, upgrading energy efficiency makes our homes warmer, more comfortable and leads to less reliance on medication and health services,” Naughten said. “It also displaces expensive imported fossil fuels with creating local jobs in the construction industry.”

Naughten and Minister Katherine Zappone announced the expansion as they visited the home of Laura Ball in Firhouse, who received an energy efficiency upgrade free of charge to her home.

Zappone said: “Children with asthma miss an average of 10 school days each year which can have serious repercussions for their education and social inclusion. By improving the quality of their homes we can avoid some of these missed days and help every child to participate in education and society regardless of their health status.”

Naughten secured a significant increase in Budget 2017 of €10 million to expand the scheme. Given the average spend to date it is anticipated that this will provide for the upgrade of between 700-800 homes next year. The additional areas were selected, on the basis of HSE advice, as they reside within the same hospital catchment areas (Tallaght & St James) as the scheme currently operates,  and contain a high level of social deprivation.

Ireland has some of the highest rates of respiratory illness in the world. In Ireland, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects over 110,000 people and is responsible for 10% of all hospital admissions and almost a quarter of all deaths. It is also estimated that more than 470,000 people in Ireland suffer from asthma. This results in an extra 20,000 A&E hospital visits, leading to 15,000 bed nights being taken up by asthma sufferers in our hospitals each year.

Damp homes and air quality are universally regarded as key contributing factors to both conditions. By retrofitting homes, the Warmth & Wellbeing scheme aims to improve the internal air temperature and air quality in the homes of people suffering from these conditions. This should ease the symptoms of people with respiratory conditions and potentially reduce their need to access health services.

The Warmth & Wellbeing scheme is being delivered by a dedicated HSE team who will guide people through the application process. The HSE team work with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) who will perform a needs-based assessment of what upgrades each home needs, then commission those upgrades.  As a means-tested scheme, it is available free of charge to households in receipt of the Fuel Allowance or One-Parent Family payment.

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