Galway’s credit unions financing home energy improvements

Galway daily news Galway credit unions helping people get low cost home energy improvements

Three credit unions in Galway are taking part in a new scheme to offer homeowners easy access to funding for home energy improvements.

St. Anthony’s and Claddagh; St. Columba’s, Oranmore, and St. Jarlath’s, Tuam credit unions are part of the Pro Energy Homes Scheme to make it easy peasy for people to get SEAI grant funding and offering cheap loans for home energy improvements.

This scheme is expected to lend roughly €10 million to credit union customers from 20 branches nationwide through the Solution Centre, a strategic development unit for credit unions.

It also offers easy access to SEAI grant funding of up to 35% of the cost of approved energy upgrades. The average loan during the pilot stage of this scheme was €10,000, with a total investment of €15,000 including grants.

The credit unions are working in partnership with Retrofit Ireland (REIL) and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Ireland’s national sustainable energy authority.

Cathal Tyther, Manager of the Solution Centre said “We weren’t surprised by the strong uptake during the pilot phase, as a recent SEAI consumer survey found that 74% of people said that they hadn’t previously considered upgrading their property as they did not have sufficient funds to consider an energy reduction project in their home.”

“We are delighted that our credit unions are supporting their members by providing low cost finance to make energy upgrades attainable for more people because the benefits for our members, their communities and environment are enormous.”

“Our main focus is to make the homes more comfortable, more efficient and to reduce carbon emissions.”

Paddy Sweeney, Managing Director of REIL, said that this project is meant to be simple and easy for homeowners, with no money changing hands until after the retrofit works are completed.

Home improvements that fall under this scheme include Attic insulation, Cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, Solar thermal panels (hot water), heating system and controls upgrade, and windows upgrades.

“The idea of making a home cosier and cheaper to run appeals to most homeowners, but they struggle to know what to do and who to talk to, and the idea of completing grant and loan applications forms is enough to put most people off,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of CUDA.

CUDA is the representative lobby group for many of Ireland’s largest credit unions and the organisation behind the Solution Centre.

“This is an important first step for credit unions in supporting their communities by providing finance for sustainable purposes.”