Re: Re: A New Knowledge Campus for the Customs House Area
It is worth offering another example here. I often sit down with various trades in order to decide upon specs and so forth for building roll out programs. To be honest, everyone tries to feather their own nest as best as they can. Sometimes the plumber runs off with the bowl of cream, other times it is the glazing contract, the electrician or who ever. I was having a look at the utilisation factors SEI embedded into the energy calculations for buildings. They are really there to ensure that the solar panel salesman doesn’t run off with the couple of thousand euros ear marked for attic insulation. Because the attic insulation guy is a more honest kind of guy, and has less time to cavort with his clients, to buy them lunches etc. This is the kind of fair play that good developers and builders can offer to the industry. While it is up to public bodies to draft good legislation. That legislation also has to be flexible enough. At some stage the responsibility must land on the shoulders of those in industry, who need to use their skills to ensure the best possible deal for Ireland Inc. is achieved.
We need good communication between industry and the public policy makers on this sort of level. An example that really springs to mind is the CFL light bulb. The people who are in the light bulb business know that the CFL light bulb is only an accounting trick, to remove some carbon emissions off of our books. When you consider the added length of the supply chain to produce CFL light bulbs instead of ordinary light bulbs there is really no net saving in terms of energy or emissions. It reminds me of a point that Gerry McCaughey made about the DOE in the past. When Ireland switched its power stations over to run on gas, it made the books look quite clean for a while. Over night it appeared as if Ireland was succeeding to reduce its emissions. People trying to sell real energy saving solutions into the Irish market such as McCaughey, were wise to what was going on. I was actually quite encouraged that McCaughey had entered the public service earlier in the year. He is the right kind of person with industry level experience that the public service should include amongst its ranks. But the particular position that Gormley put him into wasn’t the right one. That is my trouble with the Green party in general. While the direction might be right overall, their ability to manage human resources seems limited.
The whole idea of the SEI schemes from my study, is to prevent the dumping of inferior products onto the Irish market. In the long term we have proper performance information attached to all products being used to assemble a building project. Some of the pro-nuclear campaign doesn’t seem to understand that. Trying to do nuclear to compensate for lack of efficiency elsewhere is not an option. We have to be careful not to engage in wild solutions such as energy switching or huge renewable energy projects, simply to offset to poor energy performance of products we are using to build with. Also, the switching of all power production plants to gas fuel has in turn created a further problem of security of gas supplies. Gas now supplies 50% of the nation’s fuel. We are at the end of a very long pipeline in Ireland. We have to be careful that in switching to gas, we do not make it so expensive that fuels such as coal suddenly look attractive again. Even if the carbon tariff on a dirty fuel such as coal is high, if the price was much lower than gas, then the tarif would be worth paying! Similar problems in the supply chain were experienced when biofuels got mixed up with corn that people needed to eat. Whichever way you look at it, a green industry has as much a part to play as policy makers have.
Brian O’ Hanlon