The Sustainable Energy Authority of Irelands (SEAI) Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme (BEWHS) is a free home insulation service provided to qualifying households, and is delivered by a combination of private contractors and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) throughout the country. The insulation/energy efficiency improvements are aimed at making the homes of the elderly and vulnerable more comfortable, healthier, and more cost effective to run.
Athlone Community Services Council Ltd, a Community Based Organisation (CBO) working as Home Comforts Better Energy Clg has been involved in energy retrofit measures on privately owned homes in partnership with SEAI since October 2009. Initially we carried out attic insulation and draught proofing, but have progressed to include bonded bead cavity wall insulation, and ventilation measures associated with retrofit insulation works, measures such as roof/soffit ventilation in preparation for attic insulation, and the provision of background, permanent, and mechanical extract ventilation in preparation for cavity wall insulation.
These measures have been delivered predominantly in the Counties Westmeath and Offaly and have resulted in the improvement of living conditions in hundreds of homes since our initial home was insulated in Athlone in October 2009.
Home Comforts Better Energy Clg has an excellent QA and pass rate at inspections carried out on behalf of SEAI by Managing Agents, Eaga, Carrillion, and latterly by Kerrigan Sheanon Newman (KSN), a pass rate at inspection, that throughout our involvement on the BEWHS has been well above average, ranging from the mid 80% in 2009 to currently an almost perfect 100%.
Home Comforts Better Energy Clg is a CBO (Community Based Organisation) who recruit; train and engage long term unemployed Community Employment (CE) participants to carry out energy retrofit within their local areas. There are a number of CBOs nationwide of which Home Comforts Better Energy Clg is one. We take on long term unemployed from the live register and train them to QQI level 5 in thermal insulation installation and in turn employ them on local community based retrofit projects. These projects are part financed by SEAI and the DSP and involve the identification of private households suffering from fuel poverty, and then surveying, ventilation, and retrofitting attic and cavity wall insulation. Energy advice on various energy saving measures is also provided to the householder, as are post works Building Energy Rating Certificates (BER Certs).
In short, CBOs are a key part of Irelands Social Economy and are not for profit organisations that are by enlarge embedded in the local communities in which they work, they use labour from disadvantaged sectors of society. A CBOs main consideration in the delivery of the BEWHS is not profit, but to generate benefits for the community through the delivery of the service to the fuel poor in the local community, thereby targeting the interventions to the areas where they are most needed.