Cutting energy loss is good for buildings – and for the planet

IRELAND’S Climate Action Plan 2019 was released in June this year and tells us straight that we must take a deeper look at our built environment, our over-reliance on fossil fuels, tackle our carbon emissions and reduce our carbon footprint.

To meet the required EU standards by 2030, it is fundamental we make renewable energy our primary source, drastically cutting down on fossil fuels, but energy efficiency is also crucial.

Less energy waste means less energy needs to be supplied from whatever source.

We can do so with immediate effect by enacting changes to our energy processes, which can include the changeover to heat pumps and the use of solar PV and thermal.

The targets to meet the required level of emission reduction by 2030 centre on energy efficiency upgrades, including the deep retrofit of more than 500,000 existing properties.

The energy efficiency measures include insulation upgrades, lighting upgrades, heat pump system upgrades and installation, solar PV installation, mechanical and heat recovery ventilation, and high-efficiency boiler upgrades.

These retrofit projects must span across Ireland, encompassing urban and rural housing, both private and local authority, commercial premises and facilities such as GAA clubs and community centres.

The benefits of energy efficiency upgrades are long-term for all project stakeholders, as well as the environment.

An indisputable benefit is the reduction in energy usage, which in turn results in a reduction in financial costs. As well as healthier and more comfortable indoor environments, the reduction in carbon emissions and carbon footprint will assist in achieving the 2030 target as set out in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2019.

An additional benefit of retrofitting properties is utilising existing houses for urban and rural development, bringing housing stock back into use for both private and social housing purposes.

Rebuilding Ireland, a plan set out by the Government aiming to address the housing crisis in Ireland, uses retrofitting existing properties as a key pillar in abolishing the current housing shortage.

It is imperative that Ireland acts now, to take advantage of the opportunities offered within the energy efficiency sector and with the support of Government, provided by the Sustainable Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The Better Energy Communities (BEC) scheme part-funded by the SEAI is a grant scheme that works with residential, commercial and community projects, as well as local authorities and housing associations. This grant scheme offers funding ranging from 30pc-80pc, depending on the market and type of project.

“All energy efficiency upgrades as mentioned previously are included within this scheme. KORE has been the facilitator of the Better Energy Communities scheme for a number of years now,” said John B Smith, KORE’s retrofit programme manager.

“We have retrofitted over 5,000 buildings over the past five years, a portion of which were included in this scheme, with an incredible energy saving of 23,000,000 kWh. This has resulted in nearly €4.5m in energy savings.”

KORE was the 2018 Energy Efficiency Award winner of the KPMG Irish Independent Property Industry Excellence Awards.

The award is now in its fifth year. If you or your organisation would like to showcase what you are achieving to improve energy efficiency in the property sector, enter now at