The Climate Action Plan addresses the need to improve energy efficiency of buildings by meeting higher energy performance standards and by increasing retrofit activity.

Some of the key statistics cited include:

  • Irish homes use 7% more energy than the EU average and emit 58% more CO2eq
  • Irish buildings are 70% reliant on fossil fuels, including oil fired boilers
  • Over 80% of Irish homes and other buildings assessed for their BER have a rating of C or worse
  • The current annual retrofit activity for existing stock is far too limited (approximately 23,000, mainly shallow, retrofits)

Targets

The targets for the sector set out in the Climate Action Plan are as follows:

  • Reduce CO2eq emissions from the sector by 40 - 45% emissions relative to pre-NDP 2030 projections
  • Sharply reduce fossil fuel use, given the current heavy reliance on gas, oil, coal and peat in the sector
  • Complete 500,000 building retrofits to achieve a B2 BER /cost optimal equivalent or carbon equivalent
  • Install 600,000 heat pumps (400,000 to be in existing buildings)
  • Increase the number of Sustainable Energy Communities to 1,500
  • Complete the rollout of the SSRH, including support for biomass and anaerobic digestion heating systems
  • Deliver two initiatives of municipal scale which have the potential to provide heat equivalent to the needs of about 50,000 homes

Measures

The Climate Action Plan identifies the most cost-effective abatement measure for the built environment as retrofitting existing houses that use oil boilers to a B2 equivalent BER. This initiative will be based on a Dutch government funded project called 'Energirsprong'.

In addition, more stringent building regulations will apply from the second half of 2019, with all new buildings to be Nearly Zero Energy Building standard and existing dwellings undergoing major renovations to meet cost optimal performance equivalent to a BER of B2. These will be progressively extended to improve energy efficiency performance, to include the phasing out of the installation of oil boilers.

District heating networks also have several characteristics that are attractive for climate mitigation policy, particularly those that use a renewable heat source, or heat that is currently wasted, such as from power stations or data centres. The Government is committing to developing a national policy framework for district heating, which covers the key areas of regulation, planning, financing and research.