Improving the energy efficiency of county Longford homes through retrofitting and installation of heat pump systems could cost in excess of €692m.
That’s according to a new report published last Thursday, August 26 by Liquid Gas Ireland (LGI) on ‘The role of LPG and BioLPG in a ‘Just Transition’ for Co Longford.’
The report sets out how €630m can be saved if the 12,360 homes in the county currently using high carbon fossil-based fuels such as oil, coal, and turf for home heating and as an energy source switch to a lower carbon alternative such as LPG or BioLPG instead of retrofitting for installation of heat pump systems.
The savings were based on an average cost of €56,000 for a full scale retrofit including heat pump installation and an industry estimate of €5,000 for switching to a gas boiler with standard system upgrades.
Commenting on the report, Chair of LGI Brian Derham said: “If the Government is serious about achieving Ireland’s climate targets, it is critical that people living in both urban and rural communities are brought on the decarbonisation journey. Rural communities should be engaged by ensuring they are given the technology choices that meet their unique needs through secure, clean, and efficient lower-carbon fuels like LPG and BioLPG. The Government’s revised Climate Action Plan must therefore provide for the delivery of a ‘mixed technology’ approach to decarbonisation which works for rural Ireland, particularly for those living in or operating off-grid rural homes and businesses.
“At the core of the Climate Action Plan is a commitment to install 600,000 heat pumps and retrofit 500,000 homes for improved energy efficiency. However, we continue to express our concern that this ‘one size fits all’ approach’ to decarbonisation is putting significant pressure on those living in rural communities. It simply does not consider the unique economic and infrastructural challenges these areas face in achieving a ‘just transition’, where over two-thirds of homes currently rely on oil boilers for heating and fuel. Many of these homes are classified as hard-to-treat houses meaning the cost of a retrofit would be 80 per cent more expensive. This prohibitive expense is proved by the continued low uptake of retrofitting grants outside urban centres.”
The report, which was conducted using CSO census data names Ballymahon, Meathas Truim, Longford Rural, Fair Gate, and West Gate as the five electoral areas within Co. Longford most reliant on high carbon fossil-based fuels for home heating and energy. Of the 10,330 dwellings in these areas, 51% (5,351) use oil, coal and turf while by contrast only 10% (981) have transitioned to heat pump technology.
With no connection to the national gas grid and a proposed ban on gas boilers, households in these five rural areas alone will face a combined estimated cost of €299,656,000 to transition to heat pump technology, if this is the only lower carbon heating solution available to them.
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