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06 Dec 2021

Almost 160 Laois council houses to get free energy upgrades but stoves wanted

Almost 160 Laois council houses to get free energy upgrades but stoves wanted

As energy prices soar, a deep retrofit of almost 160 Laois council homes has been warmly welcomed.

However some of the tenants will still want a stove according to a Portlaoise councillor. 

A total of 157 Laois council houses are approved to get a deep energy retrofit with work already begun in some of them this winter.

Six housing estates are getting the makeover that includes expensive new electric heat pumps, new windows and doors, flat roof insulation, wall insulation and LED lights. 

Work has started on 62 houses in Mountain View in Portlaoise, in Quigley Park, Rathdowney and Radharc Alainn in Arles. 

Three more estates with 98 homes in Portlaoise, Portarlington and Mountmellick are lined up for works to start next April. They are Hillview, Portlaoise, Derrymore, Portarlington and Kirwan Park, Mountmellick.

Laois County Council was approved for funding under the Midlands Retrofitting Programme. The eligible works must achieve a minimum BER rating of B2.

Meanwhile another 31 council homes in O’Moore Place, Portlaoise are getting a second retrofit scheme in 2022, under the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting & Planned Maintenance Programme. Contracts are due to be signed in by the end of 2021. 

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley tabled a motion to the October meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District requesting an update.

She wants the council to get money to also update St John’s Square and Brigid’s Place in Portlaoise.

“Up to €50,000 will be spent on each house on a deep retrofit and maintenance. Older houses with solid walls and no insulation will be a bigger cost to carry out the work. 

“This couldn’t come at a better time with rising energy costs up 30%. This is making houses warmer and lowering emissions. It’s about making the transition from solid fuel. 

“One concern was raised to me, residents are asking will they be left with a stove. I don’t know the answer. The new windows and doors is huge because rain and damp is getting in. I ask that maybe we can get a monthly update on the work in each area. 

“If there is future funding I ask that St John’s Square and St Brigid’s Place be not forgotten, keep them on your radar,” she said.

Cllr John Joe Fennelly seconded her motion, also thanking engineer Trevor Hennessy for his report.

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