Community Engagement on SEAI’s Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme

In Spring of 2018 the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), supported by the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) contracted IRL to carry out community and stakeholder engagement in the Midlands and East Galway to raise awareness of the energy efficiency measures and financial assistance available to the general public under SEAI’s Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme.

SEAI plays a lead role in transforming Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices.  Central to its objectives is the implementation of strong energy efficiency measures and supporting the transition to a low-carbon future.  Housing continues to pose one of the greatest energy efficiency challenges in Ireland, with a considerable portion of older housings performing poorly in comparison to newer homes built to current standards.  In 2017, SEAI launched a multi-annual pilot programme to inform key elements of a future programme to deliver large scale deep retrofit throughout Ireland.  The aim of the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme is to investigate the challenges and opportunities of deep retrofit and the learnings from these pilots will shape and inform SEAI’s approach towards a large scale deep retrofit of buildings, with the initial focus on the residential market.  An integral part of these investigations involved focused community engagement and hosting public information events.

METHODOLGY

IRL carried out background research prior to deciding on the best methodology to apply.  Taking into account various demographics such as geography, population and age profile it was decided that the most effective approach to maximize our reach was to utilize the more traditional methods of client engagement and communication strategies.  IRL engaged local champions who used a client-centered approach using existing infrastructure such as community and voluntary organization, sporting organisations, farming organisations, key local activists in addition to IRL membership organisations and engaged on a one-to-one basis or one-to-few basis to provide information.  Public information events were organised in both regions which were attended by the Minister and Minister of State in DCCAE with suppliers from the industry showcasing, presenting and providing one to one advice to members of the public.

IMPACT

IRL engaged an audience who had not previously engaged with SEAI raising awareness of a range of SEAI offerings and provided information, guidance and assistance to assist clients in their decision making process.  The insights report which we provided will assist in shaping future programmes and strategic plans.