151 childcare services awarded grants under Building Blocks Improvement Scheme for “greener, warmer” childcare services

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

Published on 24 August 2023

Last updated on 24 August 2023

  • 151 services awarded green energy and retrofit upgrade grants of €35,000 to €75,000 under the Building Blocks – Improvement Grant
  • List of successful applicants, and funding awarded, now published
  • Building Blocks – Improvement Grant is part of a wider Building Blocks Capital Programme which aims to meet current and long-term early learning and childcare infrastructure needs

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman has today published the list of successful applicants to the €9 million Building Blocks – Improvement Grant 2023.

Grants awarded range from €35,000 to €75,000 across two separate strands: Green Energy and Retrofit.

The Green Energy Strand supports the Climate Action Agenda and the Programme for Government, which aim to transition to a carbon neutral economy by the end of 2050 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030. Under this Strand, grants are being provided to help services to increase their energy efficiency by utilising renewables, where feasible, through the installation of solar panels, heat pumps and insulation.

The Retrofit Strand is supporting existing services in need of upgrading. Eligible works include kitchen refurbishment, upgrading of sanitary facilities for children and adults, roof repairs, and the replacement and upgrading of flooring.

In total, 151 services across the country have been awarded grants under the scheme.

Making the announcement today, Minister O’Gorman said:

“As every sector aims to reduce carbon emissions, in line with Ireland’s Climate Action Plan, I am delighted that early learning and childcare providers across the country will be using these grants to install solar panels, insulate buildings and improve energy efficiency. This will mean greener, warmer buildings, with the added benefit of lower running costs for providers.

“In addition, through the retrofit grant, providers will now have an opportunity to make small changes that can have a big difference, such as new floors, doors and kitchens.”

The Minister continued:

“The Building Blocks – Improvement Grant is part of a wider Building Blocks Capital Programme for early learning and childcare under the National Development Plan designed to meet current and long-term early learning and childcare infrastructure needs. Some €69 million has been allocated to my Department over 2023-2025 through the revised NDP for the Building Blocks Capital Programme.

“Work is currently underway on the design and delivery of the Building Blocks – Capacity Grant which has an allocation of €20 million in 2024 and €25 million in 2025. The Capacity Grant will fund an expansion in existing services and invest in new services where most needed. A further €15 million will be made available under the Building Blocks – Innovation Grant which will pilot a range of innovative initiatives. I hope to be in a position to provide more information on the delivery of these schemes in the coming months.”


Note for Editors:

List of successful applicants under the Building Blocks – Improvement Grant here.

The Building Blocks – Improvement Grant is broken into two strands, Green Energy and Retrofit. Applicants were only permitted to apply for one strand.

Eligible works under the Green Energy Strand include:

  • works to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency (BER rating); improving the fabric and energy efficiency of an existing building
  • utilising renewables where feasible and measures that improve ventilation
  • installation of solar panels; planning permission, if required, for the installation of solar panels only
  • heat pumps (for example: air, ground or water source pumps); zoning of heating system
  • water conservation (for example: water efficient equipment, harvest rainwater, grey water systems)
  • efficient heat generators
  • insulation of attic, walls (internal or external), floors, roof, dry lining
  • pipe insulation
  • solar thermal collectors/solar hot water collectors (installation of a larger hot water cylinder, ancillary works to house cylinder – not requiring planning permission)
  • boiler upgrade
  • electrical vehicle charging points for staff

Eligible works under the Retrofit Strand include the upgrade of electrical, plumbing, gas and heating systems to ensure they meet regulations and standards. Costs associated with installation, replacement and upgrade of areas that form an integral part of the building, for example:

  • kitchen works and refurbishment
  • upgrade of sanitary facilities for children and adults
  • roof repairs/replacements
  • insulation of roof, walls (internal or external), floors, attic
  • replacement/repairs of windows
  • external/internal door repair/replacement
  • upgrade of flooring
  • static wheelchair ramps
  • stairways
  • automatic doors
  • installation of a lift
  • electrical wiring
  • electrical switches
  • electrical distribution boards
  • fixtures
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