4th Financial Workshop - Dublin, IE

Fourth workshop held to explore the financing of energy efficient step-by-step retrofits

Date: 20th March 2015

Location: SEAI, Wilton Room, 6th Floor, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin 2, Ireland

Attendees: 15 people attended the workshop from a mix of relevant sectors, including the main Irish banks (Bank of Ireland and AIB), ESCO's, Energy Consultants, Electric Ireland and architects in private practice.

The official programme and invitation can be downloaded here

2015 Dublin, IE. The fourth EuroPHit Financial Workshop was held in Wilton Park House (left); Georg Kraft presenting at Workshop (right), Photos © MosArt

Summary: This workshop comprised an introduction to the EuroPHit project as well as relevant financial schemes and models nationally and internationally. This led to an exploration of barriers, opportunities and potential solutions to the financing of deep retrofits.

An overview of building performance in Ireland generally and the the EnerPHit Standard was given by Art McCormack, followed by an introduction to one of the Irish Case studies, Rochestown House, by Mariana Moreira, both of MosArt Architects. A retrofit financial model worked out for both academic and practical personal purposes was then presented by Fintan Smyth of Saint-Gobain. Involving previous public engagement, the presentation traced a shift in attitude towards greater willingness to invest in retrofitting once the case was presented  cogently regarding significant savings in heating costs, comfort, longevity of structure, health and aspects of stress reduction. This was followed by an outline by Josephine Maguire of the Better Energy Finance Scheme developed by SEAI. Finally, Georg Kraft of IzN presented on his experiences of mechanisms for financing retrofits in Germany, including the use of EU funding. This presentation also introduced attendees to such concepts as Recourse Financing and Forfaiting / Forfaitee.

The workshop progressed on to discuss retrofit financing issues of concern and possibilities from the perspective of those who attended. Important points discussed included:

  • It was generally recognised that the principle of spending money in order to save money should be recognised as a 'good risk' for lending bodies.


A 'one size fits all' approach to lending is not sufficient or effective for contemporary life. Rather, a more flexible financing system needs to be developed, especially for the domestic market, comprising a 'matrix effect' adapting to different people in different circumstance, eg. family expansion and contraction, stay-at-home parents, single / double earners cost of childcare (in Ireland), accommodating the desire of a single parent to seek employment and a long-term tenant intending to carry out retrofit works.

  • A key question debated in regard to flexible approaches, especially those involving ESCO's, where the latter's interest / involvement might be limited to a few years, was on whose balance sheet would the debt ultimately rest in case of non-completion of works or default?
  • The 'Bike to Work Scheme' could provide an analogous model for individual and relatively modest retrofits or for a proportion of  the works whereby one's employer would advance a loan to the employee that would be paid back gradually over a few years. This might best suit straight debt financing, involving smaller loans.
  • The question of how to finance the step-by-step construction approach was discussed, including part of a loan being contingent on EnerPHit certification as Quality Assurance and, thus, reduced financial risk. 
  • There was no clear agreement on whether banks would take into account the anticipated energy savings. Whilst one representative of a major Irish bank maintained they would not, another said that a loan would be more easily obtained where calculations were produced outlining yearly cashflow, especially for the step-by-step approach showing the need for particular amounts of money at certain stages and the savings involved and, thus, the return on investment. This could involve a Operational Lease whereby debt is written down based on the savings (as opposed to a Capital Lease). Certified Passive House Designers / Consultants should be well placed to provide the necessary information.
  •  Notwithstanding, Irish banks would focus, in particular, on credit worthiness in order to minimise risk to themselves rather than payback based on energy savings. This, therefore, calls for the education of financial institutions in respect of energy balance,savings and the may other positive aspects of building to the EnerPHit and Passive House Standards, including health and comfort of occupants and increased longevity / duriblity.


You can download presentations from Financial workshops or browse other downloadable EuroPHit materials here.