Irish Homes Up To 200% More Environmentally Damaging Than UK Homes

A leading energy expert has shed light on the alarmingly poor energy performance of typical Irish new homes, which in some cases produce up to 200% more environment-damaging carbon dioxide emissions that their UK equivalents. Commenting on his research which compares Irish and UK minimum energy standards for new homes, Patrick Daly, co founder of the Research in Sustainable Environments unit in the DIT explained, “Building standards in Ireland have been substandard for far too long, leading to easily avoidable environmental damage, and high heating bills.”

Mr. Daly, however, claimed that the changes in building energy standards announced today by the Department of the Environment could help greatly to address this problem. “As a result of the new regulations we will be much closer to the UK standards, and some of the shockingly poor performing house types will no longer be permitted”.

“The fact that renewable energy is now to become mandatory for all new homes will undoubtedly mainstream a technology which can contribute greatly to a greener Irish future. I especially welcome the fact that national standards have been inspired by local authority initiatives led by Fingal, Wicklow and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, to not only drastically increase energy efficiency levels, but also make renewable energy mandatory.”

In his study, Mr. Daly compares the current Part L of Irish Building Regulations, which sets standards for energy efficiency in homes, to the UK equivalent. The detailed critique demonstrates that a typical Irish minimum compliant 3 bed semi-detached can be 27% to 70% above UK carbon limits for gas and oil fired homes and up to 200% above for certain fuels and systems.

In May 2006 Ireland implemented aspects of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) into its building regulations, which required member states to integrate energy consumption assessments into building regulations.

“Like the UK, Ireland also introduced calculations of carbon emissions into the regulations. However the Irish method basically ensured there was no improvement off the previous building regulations and in fact allowed a ‘flexible’ carbon threshold. Damaging environmental and market impacts of this approach include the prospect of technology dumping of redundant products into the lower regulated Irish market”, concluded Mr. Daly.