Minister Denis Naughten T.D., today announced the expansion of the Warmth & Wellbeing scheme. The pilot scheme, launched earlier in 2016, provides extensive energy efficiency upgrades, free of charge to the homes of people who are in energy poverty and living with respiratory conditions. In 2016, the scheme was open to people over the age of 55, in 2017 that will be broadened to include families with young children who have a chronic respiratory condition.
The reach of the scheme is also being broadened. Previously available only to residents of Dublin 12 & 24, the scheme will now also be made available to residents of Dublin 8, 10 and 22. Up to €10 million will be available in 2017 which will provide for the upgrade of up to 700 homes.
Ireland has some of the highest rates of respiratory illness in the world. In Ireland, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is estimated to affect over 380,000 adults, is responsible for 10% of all hospital admissions and almost a quarter of all deaths. It is also estimated that more than 470,000 adults and children suffer from asthma. This results in an extra 20,000 A&E hospital visits, leading to 15,000 bed nights being taken up by asthma sufferers in our hospitals each year.
Damp homes and air quality are universally regarded as key contributing factors to both conditions. By retrofitting homes, the Warmth & Wellbeing scheme aims to improve the internal air temperature and air quality in the homes of people living with these conditions. This should ease the symptoms of people with respiratory conditions and potentially reduce their need to access health services.
During a visit to the home of a recipient of the first phase of the scheme in Firhouse, Dublin 24, Minister Naughten said: “Taking action on climate change isn’t just about helping the planet. As this scheme will demonstrate, upgrading energy efficiency makes our homes warmer, more comfortable and leads to less reliance on medication and health services. It also displaces expensive imported fossil fuels with local jobs in the construction industry.”
The Minister was accompanied by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone T.D.
Minister Zappone said “Children with asthma miss an average of 10 school days each year which can have serious repercussions for their education and social inclusion. By improving the quality of their homes we can avoid some of these missed days and help every child to participate in education and society regardless of their health status.”
The Warmth & Wellbeing scheme is being delivered by a dedicated HSE team who will guide people through the application process. The HSE team work with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) who will perform a needs-based assessment of what upgrades each home needs, then commission those upgrades. As a means-tested scheme, it is available free of charge to households in receipt of the Fuel Allowance or One-Parent Family payment. As a pilot scheme it is currently available to residents of Dublin 8, 10 12, 22 & 24.
Last updated on: 09 / 12 / 2016