Sunday 24 August 2008

Banks in talks to provide low-cost loans for energy saving

The heads of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) will meet with representatives of the main banks next week in a bid to encourage Irish lenders to provide low-interest retro-f it loans for homeowners and businesses.

CIF director Tom Parlon and SEI chairman Brendan Halligan are to meet Irish Bankers’ Federation chief executive Pat Farrell to discuss the provision of such loans for energy-saving improvements to homes and offices - such as insulating attics, replacing boilers, dry-lining walls and fitting double-glazed windows.

Parlon said he would ask that such loans have interest rates 1 to 2 per cent lower than those on current home improvement loans, and that their credit rate be triple-star.

Parlon believes there is €9 billion worth of retro-fitting to be carried out on current Irish housing stock, and that this market could provide work for tens of thousands of jobless construction works and boost lagging retail homeware sales.

‘‘A €20,000 loan would cover a major retro-fit, or a €10,000 loan would cover the basics,” he said.

‘‘We have already raised this possibility with some of the banks, and we believe they should look favourably on such loans as they are an investment that save on energy bills, are good for the environment, and generate jobs. The CIF is also considering the registration of allied contractors who have the skills to carry out a complete retro-fit, so homeowners won’t need to hire several tradesmen,” he said.

Sunday Business Post

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