THE FIRST of the Inishowen homes to be retrofitted under the FREE SEAI Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme via the Inishowen Development Partnership (IDP) has been completed in Buncrana.

The single-story bungalow, which was built in the 1970s qualified for the scheme last year after staff of IDP in Buncrana supported and submitted the application on the owner’s behalf.

IDP act as facilitator for SEAI assisting homeowners with the application process and criteria, before sending the completed forms to SEAI for the final approval.

The home outside Buncrana has had a complete retrofit with the dwelling wrapped with external insulation and completely replastered – and all at no cost to the homeowner who is delighted with the outcome.

The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme is open to anyone that owns their own home [built and occupied before January 1, 2006] and are in receipt of certain social welfare payments including the fuel allowance.

IDP staff can assist people with the eligibility and the applications and liaise with social welfare staff in relation to submissions if necessary.

IDP Team Lead Paul McGonigle and Community Development Officer Aine McLaughlin lead the SEAI application operation for IDP. Áine outlined that there has been a number of applications in recent times, but she believes there are a lot more eligible properties out there who could and should be applying for the retrofit.

Áine also explained that there is a queuing system with the scheme and that it’s in everyone’s best interest to get in touch with them to assess eligibility and subsequently have their applications submitted to SEAI.

“The sooner we get the ball rolling the better,” explained Áine.

“This can be a drawn-out process, however SEAI will assess each property in relation to its needs. We at IDP have no input in relation to the timelines but we are delighted to see the rewards of the scheme right here on our doorstep.”

The SEAI BEWH scheme provides a range of FREE energy efficiency upgrades for eligible homes, however the attic/cavity wall insultation and external insultation seem to be the most common.

“The aim of the Scheme is to make eligible homes warmer, healthier, and cheaper to run,” said Áine.

“And in times like these that could be a lifeline for many people in Inishowen who fit the criteria for the scheme.”

To find out more about this FREE scheme and to find out if you are eligible for a free energy upgrade contact IDP in Buncrana on 93-62218 or email or