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New wave of ambition is needed in tackling energy poverty – Bruton

Retrofitting and upgrades to home heating must also be targeted at the private rental sector and low-income households

3rd February 2021 - Richard Bruton TD

A new wave of ambition is needed in tackling energy poverty, according to the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Chair, Richard Bruton TD.

Deputy Bruton said “Retrofitting and upgrades to home heating must be targeted at the private rental sector and an area-based model must be rolled out if we are to see further improvements for low income families.

“The Government has made great strides in reducing energy poverty but we are not there yet. While energy poverty has halved over the last 3 years, and that is good progress, now is the time to be more ambitious.

“Over the past year we have spent more time in our homes and that has brought the issue of energy poverty to the fore for many households, including those living in the private rental sector who may not have experienced the issue previously.

“Fuel poverty is not just a matter of low income. It is the combination of low income and poor energy systems.

“The energy use of a home with the lowest energy rating is ten times that of the best category. People should also be aware that an open fire uses four times as much energy as an efficient gas boiler, and ten times that of a heat pump.

“In recent years over 200,000 low income homes had free energy upgrades. This has brought immediate savings to those householders and has also ensured that those homes will be more comfortable in the long run.

“We can be more ambitious however and we must target these schemes at those who have thus far been unable to participate.

“The majority of the older housing stock built before 1960 are using 6 times more energy than the target for climate resilient homes. They are also often the houses in which low-income families live. A wave of retrofitting across these older homes on an area basis in our cities, towns and villages is what is now needed. This is possible. These community energy initiatives have shown the potential to operate at scale.

“By progressing this we would not only be helping to tackle energy poverty, but it would also be solid action on climate change.” Richard Bruton TD concluded.

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