Icelandic government to replace all island windows free of charge

It has been decided that nearly all the glass in house windows on Grímsey island will be replaced at the cost of the Icelandic state. Furthermore it is hoped the move will save the taxpayer money…

Houses on Grímsey island – the only part of Iceland to cross the Arctic circle – are heated by burning oil, which is heavily subsidised by the state.

In fact the village on Grímsey is the only remaining one in Iceland which is still heated by the burning of fossil fuels and the state has subsidised the purchase of that oil to the tune of ISK 11 million (EUR 68,655) in 2011 alone. That is quite a lot for just 30 houses.

Several ways have been investigated to try and lower that cost; including participation in a European project in co-operation with a Danish energy expert. That project led to the recent decision to replace the islanders’ window glass in order to lower their heating bills.

“And as the state’s role in heating on the island is rather high, we calculated that we could actually give away the glass, or pay its entire cost, but residents will see to its installation,” Energy Centre director Sigurður Friðleifsson told RÚV; adding that the government will save money in the long run.

Oil supplies are subsidised to around 30 houses on Grímsey and Sigurður says that the vast majority of residents plan to take part in the project. It is hoped work can begin shortly after the New Year.

The Icelandic state has previously taken part in similar projects in other “cold areas” of the country (areas without geothermal hot water); but this is the first time that glass will be provided for free.

“It has been going well and things are getting moving. Preparations are already being made there; preparations that will make a difference and are not only a cost to the state but a saving – and not least for the residents [themselves],” Sigurður says.