The great green homes gamble: can we retrofit 500,000 houses in just ten years?

The €8 billion home retrofitting plan unveiled by Eamon Ryan last week seems almost too big to fail, but will it overcome the ‘hassle factor’ in the public’s minds?

Stephen O’Connor managing director of Electric Ireland with Martin O’Reilly from Greenwatt, one of the approved contractors. Picture: Laurence McMahon

Eamon Ryan first tried to bring in a scheme to retrofit the country’s homes 15 years ago.

He set up a pilot home energy savings initiative in 2008 with small grants of up to €2,500 per household when he was Minister for Energy. It was a good idea, but it didn’t last and the Green TD soon found himself running into difficulty trying to get more money from Brian Cowen, the then taoiseach, and Brian ...