Deep retrofit of housing stock one of Ireland’s key energy challenges, says Climate Minister

Ireland’s housing stock will require a deep energy upgrade if we are to have any chance of reaching our ambitious climate and energy goals, the Minister for Climate Action and Environment has said.

Speaking at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) inaugural National Deep Retrofit Conference at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, Minister Naughton said the deep retrofitting of our housing stock is one of Ireland’s biggest energy efficiency challenges.

The Department of Housing Planning Community and Local Government gave €85 million to local authorities from 2013 to 2015 to retrofit over 46,000 local authority homes.

The SEAI suggests that an estimated €35 billion over 35 years will be required to make the remainder of the existing housing stock low carbon by 2050.

The overall budget for sustainable energy in Ireland is over €100m. Minister Naughton acknowledged that the Deep Retrofit Scheme was deeply ambitious, requiring people to bring their homes up to an A3 on the BER scale.As many as one million homes built in the last century are considered to be significantly energy inefficient.

According to a State of the Environment report last year, 50 per cent of Ireland’s housing stock had a Building Energy Rating (BER) of D or lower in 2014. BER is measured on energy performance and CO2 emissions, ranging from A – the most energy-efficient – down to G.

“To achieve Ireland’s long-term climate and energy goals we need to enable more households to engage in deeper renovations of their homes and that’s what we’re about here today,” the Minister said.

He added: “In overcoming these challenges there is the potential for significant economic and employment opportunity, as well as delivering more comfortable, healthier homes that are cheaper to run.”

Also speaking at the event, Victoria Burrows, Project Manager with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), said that buildings are responsible for around 30 per cent of global emissions – roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of China.

“A monumental and coordinated effort is required by businesses, governments and non-governmental organisations to transform existing buildings into healthy, cost effective and energy efficient spaces” she said.

Jim Gannon, Chief Executive, SEAI, said:  “Through our Deep Retrofit Pilot we are exploring ways to help homeowners overcome the different barriers to deep retrofit. We’re also looking at opportunities to build a robust and sustainable supply chain to support this activity. This involves educating homeowners and communities, developing

“This involves educating homeowners and communities, developing consumer-friendly technologies, making clean energy finance available and delivering value by helping homeowners to lower their energy bills and to enjoy warmer and healthier homes.” he added.

About the Author

Kate O'Brien

Kate is a freelance writer with work published in The Guardian, the Financial Times and the New York Times blog. She is a former Editor of The Plant, a UK magazine on plants and other greenery

Leave a Comment