Services

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are you a part of the local government or are you a private company?
  2. Do you do home energy audits? How much does it cost?
  3. Can I get any grant for insulation or a heating system?
  4. I want to upgrade the insulation in my house, what options do I have?
  5. I want to install solar heating panels in my house, can I get any information?
  6. Do I need planning permission if I want to install solar panels or a geothermal heat pump in my house?
  7. Will a renewable energy heating system cost me more than a conventional system?
  8. What is the Building Energy Rating? How will I be affected by it?

1. Are you a part of the local government or are you a private company?

Cork City Energy Agency is an integrated part of the Environment Directorate of Cork City Council. The main function of the Energy Agency is to advise City Council on issues related to energy and sustainable development. The energy agency also provides independent information and advice to the general public on energy usage, renewable energy, building energy performance, etc.

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2. Do you do home energy audits? How much does it cost?

Yes, the Energy Agency does provide a home energy audit service carried out by a qualified Building Energy Performance assessor. The cost of an audit of a typical domestic house will cost approx. €350-400 depending on the size and condition of the house. Please contact us for more details.

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3. Can I get any grant for insulation or a heating system?

Grant assistance for home insulation is provided through the Warmer Home Scheme.  However, only low-income families qualify for the Warmer Home Scheme. In regard to heating systems, the Greener Home Scheme provides grant assistance for renewable energy heating technologies such as Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Thermal Panels and Wood chip/pellet boilers and stoves.  Both the Warmer Home Scheme and the Greener Home Scheme are operated by Sustainable Energy Ireland.

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4. I want to upgrade the insulation of my house, what options do I have?

Insulation is critical to the energy performance of your house. It is a waste of money to put a heating system into a house before it is well insulated. Generally, insulation takes place in the following areas of a house:

Roof/Attic: This area accounts for 20-30% of the heat loss of a house. Insulation is used at ceiling level or on the roof when the attic is heated. Commonly used insulation materials for the ceiling level are glass fibre or wool while materials such as semi-rigid insulation boards, spray-on cellulose fibre or polyurethane foam are used at the roof level.

Wall: Heat loss through walls accounts for 30% of the total heat loss in a house. For existing houses with cavity walls, bonded polystyrene bead can be injected into the cavity while externally or internally fixed dryline insulation can be used for walls with no cavity.

Windows: Windows should be at least double glazed and stripe-proofed. Single glazed windows cause much heat loss.

Hot water cylinder and hot water pipes: This is the easiest step towards good energy performance. Puting a lagging jacket on the hot water cylinder and insulating the hot water primary pipe will make a great difference.

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5. I want to install solar heating panels in my house, can I get any information?

Before installing a solar heating system, these are the things you will need to consider:

  • Current Status of your house: Is your house well insulated? Are the window double glazed and stripe proofed? Renewable energy heating systems can save natural resources and possibly save you money, however the installation of  any heating system in a house without proper insulation is just a waste of money. 
  • Orientation of your House/roof: The orientation of the roof is essential. A south facing roof will allow max sunlight absorption and so gives best performance.
  • Energy usage: A properly designed solar heating system can provide 50%-70% of the hot water requirements of a home throughout the year, but it is important to note that the output is not evenly distributed among seasons.
  • Type of panel: There are two types of solar heating panels available on the market, flat panels and evacuated tubes. Flat panels can be installed into the roof and are more aesthetically pleasing, while evacuated tubes have higher efficiencies but are less robust and need more care during installation.
  • Space for bigger hot water cylinder: A typical solar heating system with 5-6 m2 panels will require a hot water cylinder with a size of 300-400 litres, which is three times bigger than a typical domestic one.
  • Cost and grant: The cost of a typical domestic solar heating system ranges from €5000-€9000 and the grant provided through the Greener Home Scheme is €300 per m2 (max 12m2). Payback period is generally over 6 years.
  • In conclusion, the sizing and design of a solar heating system is very important and should be carefully considered. A properly designed system will give real benefit.

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6. Do I need planning permission if I want to install solar panels or geothermal heat pump in my house?

On March 2nd, 2007, the government announced a new regulation for exempting micro-Renewable development from planning permission. Please click to see more detail.

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7. Will a renewable energy heating system cost me more compared with a conventional system?

Generally, a renewable heating system e.g. geothermal heat pump, wool pellet/chip boiler, costs more on the initial investment than a typical gas fired system. However, a well designed renewable system will bring savings to the householder in the long term.

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8. What is the Building Energy Rating? How does it affect me?

The Building Energy Rating (BER) is an indication of the energy performance of a building. It reflects energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting calculated on the basis of standard occupancy. It is expressed as primary energy use per unit floor area per year (kWh/m2/yr).

All new homes built since January 1st 2007 need to have a BER assessment.   All houses that are to be sold or rented from January 1st 2009 also need to have a building energy rating.

The BER will promote awareness of the performance of buildings in terms of comfort, energy costs and CO2 emissions and will ultimately lead to a demand for better design and construction of buildings to give higher ratings.

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