ALMOST €5 million is to be spent in the coming weeks and months on thermal upgrades to over 300 houses in Limerick’s regeneration communities.
It is part of an overall initiative in the regeneration plan to make some 1,500 homes in Moyross, Southill, Ballinacurra Weston and St Mary’s Park more energy efficient.
The work will include upgrades to central heating systems; external and cavity wall and attic insulation and in some cases the replacement of windows and doors.
City-based councillors have complained bitterly that previous insulation and heating programmes were off limits to tenants and home-owners in these communities amid uncertainty over which houses in the areas were to be refurbished and which were to be knocked.
But retrofitting work has now begun on 23 houses apiece in Ballinacurra Weston and Southill. Improvements are also scheduled to get underway on a further 266 homes in all four communities between now and next February, according to the council.
Homes would have a higher building energy rating (BER) as a result of the works, which are being funded through a €4.7 million allocation from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
As well as making life more comfortable, “the provision of energy efficient homes is a long-term solution to fuel poverty,” stated Caroline Curley, director of services, Limerick City and County Council.
“Promoting energy efficiency is also a key priority for Limerick City and County Council. This particular programme of works specifically targets older dwellings, which lack adequate insulation and draught proofing. These very important improvement works will directly benefit the people living in these homes and will serve as a positive long-term investment in Limerick’s social and private housing stock.”
Householders not among the 312 being given thermal upgrades in the coming weeks would be notified of future phases of the retrofitting programme in due course, Ms Curley added.
Works undertaken during the programme, which follows the successful completion of 49 houses across all of the regeneration areas as part of a pilot project, include cavity or external wall insulation, new windows and doors where necessary, central heating upgrades and attic insulation.
Samantha Jackson, from St Ita’s Street in St Mary’s Park, was among those whose houses were covered by the thermal upgrade pilot project and said she was already saving money as a result.
“I am thrilled with the work that has been carried out to my home. I haven’t needed to put on the heating yet such has been the improvements made,” Ms Jackson commented.