New retrofit plans to ensure no more ‘downtime’ for industry

New retrofit plans to ensure no more ‘downtime’ for industry

The government is building cross-party retrofit commitments to ensure a long-term and continuous programme of retrofit work, Passive House Plus has learned.

This article was originally published in issue 35 of Passive House Plus magazine. Want immediate access to all back issues and exclusive extra content? Click here to subscribe for as little as €10, or click here to receive the next issue free of charge

“Sources from government are working really hard and have absolute commitments from across the political landscape to ensure the retrofit industry never has a downtime again,” a source from within government told Passive House Plus.

Delivering high quality deep retrofits requires investment in technical skills and expertise, and there has been concern in the industry about the stop-start and seasonal nature of grant schemes to date, and uncertainty over whether future governments will maintain current retrofit commitments.

The government is also planning to ramp up retrofit activity to deliver 33,000 B2 retrofits in 2022, then 56,000 a year by 2024, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment confirmed — a significant and ambitious increase on current activity.

Passive House Plus has published the full statement from the department on page 20 for our readers. The programme for government aims to retrofit 500,000 homes to a BER of B2, and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings, over the next ten years.

The statement revealed the government has also established a cross-departmental retrofit taskforce to develop a new retrofit delivery programme, and that SEAI is expected to announce the first details of new and expanded retrofit schemes shortly. SEAI received a €100 million funding boost in the government’s July stimulus programme.

“This money will be focused on community retrofit schemes, retrofit schemes supporting those in energy poverty as well as other initiatives to support the achievement of our retrofit targets,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the Department of Housing told Passive House Plus that “The number of local authority dwellings to be retrofitted to a B2 each year between now and 2030 is currently under review and will be considered as part of the estimates process for Budget 2021”.

No delay on ventilation changes: Department of Housing

The Department of Housing expects sufficient numbers of people will have undergone training to satisfy requirements for new ventilation systems introduced to the building regulations last November.

Technical Guidance Document F requires that ventilation systems are designed, installed and commissioned by competent people, and that each system’s performance is independently validated. The relevant training courses are run by Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board, which had been unable to complete courses until recently due to Covid-19 restrictions.

A departmental spokesperson told Passive House Plus: “DHPLG are working closely with Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board and with NSAI to train installers and validators and it is expected sufficient validators and installers will be in place for full implementation of Part F 2019.”