12 July 2022
By Tom Collins
Cork City Council officially opened the new Home Energy UpGrade Office (HEUGO), today, Tuesday 12th of July, on Grand Parade Street, Cork City. The first of its kind in Ireland, the new HEUGO office will provide free impartial guidance and resources to homeowners on energy upgrades and grant schemes. Free from financial commitment, homeowners will receive guidance on how to reduce their carbon footprint.
This new initiative follows the recent announcement from the European Commission that Cork has been selected as one of 100 ‘Mission Cities’ to lead the way on climate action and smart cities across Europe. The HEUGO office will contribute to this through community engagement.
Located in the Pod on the Grand Parade (adjacent to Bishop Lucey Park), anybody interested in retrofitting, decarbonising, or improving the energy rating of their home is welcome to stop by the HEUGO office for free and independent advice.
At the launch, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Forde noted: “The Home Energy UpGrade Office (HEUGO) initiative builds on Cork City Council’s determination to become a climate neutral city. It is the culmination of four years involvement in the European interregional learning project INTENSIFY. This is the first such office in the country and illustrates Cork ability to innovate and in this case to engage with its communities to bring about behaviour change and reduce carbon emissions. It is also the outcome of the unique relationship Cork City Council has with the universities and third level colleges in the region. In this case it demonstrates the close co-operation between the IERC, UCC and Cork City Council working together to demonstrate the benefits of providing unbiased information locally to people on how to make their homes more energy efficient.”
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D. said – “In February this year, the Government launched unprecedented grant supports for home energy upgrades and increased numbers of free retrofits for those at risk of energy poverty. A total of €8 billion of Exchequer funding (including €5 billion in carbon tax revenues) will be available to support residential upgrades to 2030. The new HUEGO office will be a great resource to the people of Cork who want to get started on their own home upgrade and avail of the generous grants available.”
Commenting on the launch, Ciaran Byrne, Director of National Retrofit with SEAI said: “To date, over 450,000 homes across Ireland have carried out home energy upgrades with Government grants from SEAI. This has made their homes warmer, cosier and more energy efficient. We’d encourage other homeowners to take action and experience the benefits for themselves.”
Ireland’s Climate Action Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 and sets Ireland on the path to achieve net zero by 2050. The housing sector is responsible for a quarter of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. The HEUGO office will support the Climate Action Plan by empowering the public with the knowledge to upgrading their homes contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, ratified by Ireland in 2015. Almost half the Sustainable Development Goals are related to energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
Sponsored by Interreg Europe, the Intensify project, aims to change our behaviour through active community engagement on matters related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The HEUGO office supports this aim by offering advice to people on the tools and supports available to them to help decarbonise their homes.