Ireland prioritises energy efficient homes

Environment minister fast tracks new insulation targets as part of national climate change plan

All newly-built homes in Ireland will be subject to higher thermal insulation standards from 2002, or three years earlier than previously planned, Irish environment minister Noel Dempsey announced on Friday. Mr Dempsey said that earlier implementation of new building regulations was needed to help restrain national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

An environment ministry spokesperson told ENDS Daily that the measure would bring Ireland to the forefront of international environmental standards in thermal insulation in new homes.

Under Ireland's recently-unveiled climate change strategy, energy efficiency improvements are expected to cut 2m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (ENDS Daily 3 November). Ireland's target under the Kyoto protocol is to restrict overall GHG emission to 13% above 1990 levels.

Irish insulation requirements for new homes were last updated in 1997, cutting space heating energy consumption in new homes by 10%, according to the government. Mr Dempsey said that the 2002 standards would result in an additional 35% cut.

An environment ministry spokesperson told ENDS Daily that the measure should have a larger impact than similar action in other EU member states because of strong house building activity, fuelled by high economic growth and a transition to smaller households. The government predicts that, by 2010, over 40% of Ireland's total housing stock will have been built since 1997.

Follow Up:
Irish environment ministry, tel: +353 1 888 2000, and press release.

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