Seán Canney, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief today launched the Green Building Council’s recommendations for a National Renovation Strategy for Ireland in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin.
The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) has proposed that the Government and financial institutions introduce a series of financial and tax measures – such as lower interest ‘green mortgages’ – to encourage homeowners, landlords and businesses to engage in ‘deep renovation’ which will significantly reduce their energy use.
These recommendations are contained in a report – Unlocking Ireland’s Potential: Towards Large-Scale Deep Energy Renovation – which has been published to inform the Government’s National Renovation Strategy which the European Union requires Ireland to produce by the end of April, 2017. The report emerged from a consultation process during 2016 with a wide range of almost 200 stakeholders conducted by the IGBC in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Minister Canney said “The recommendations that have been published today will be a key input into, not just the development of Ireland’s next national renovation strategy but also our forthcoming national climate and energy mitigation plan. Significant progress has been made in accelerating energy efficiency in Ireland through measures such as attic insulation and energy conservation campaigns. Using our energy more efficiently is the most cost-effective and accessible way in which to tackle climate change. However, the statistics show that Ireland relies on high emission, imported fuels to meet over 88% of our energy needs at a cost of €4.6 billion each and every year. This is not sustainable and we need to accelerate reduction in carbon emissions from electricity generation, the built environment and the transport sectors by at least 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050”.
Larger amounts of durable energy savings from larger scale projects, in particular the deep renovation of buildings and more sustainable new build must be achieved. All new buildings must be nearly zero-energy buildings by 2020 and the long life of building sector assets means that tackling the existing building stock by an increased rate of deep energy renovation is necessary.
The Minister went on to say “As the Minister responsible for the Office of Public Works, I have a particular interest in the energy efficiency of the public sector. The public sector has been given a challenging target of a 33% energy efficiency improvement to achieve by 2020. By the end of 2015, energy efficiency in the public sector had improved by 21% lowering costs by €619 million. I will be working closely with my colleague Minister Naughten to ensure that the public sector continues to reduce its energy usage to achieve this 2020 target. I am delighted to announce today that the OPW will be working with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) to invest €3m this year to provide deep renovations to a number of civil service buildings”.
Budget 2017 has allocated a record €100m to energy projects which are projected to save over 116,000 tonnes in carbon emissions every year, supporting around 3,000 jobs.
The Minister concluded “With the support of projects like BuildUpon I am confident we can convert our ambition into real actions to reduce emissions, and bring about the transformation required if we are to decarbonise our economy. I would like to thank the IGBC on behalf of the Government for the tremendous work they have put into this project over the past two years”.