Strong focus on nZEB in new Climate Action Plan

In June 2019, the Government launched its ambitious Climate Action Plan.  The plan includes over 200 actions that Ireland needs to take to achieve climate change targets.  Highlighted in the plan is a path to achieve net zero-carbon emissions by 2050.  By the end of 2019, the Government will examine how it will achieve this and will put specific targets in place.

Under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, EU Member States must ensure that all new buildings are “Nearly Zero Energy Buildings” (nZEB) by 31st December 2020.  All new buildings occupied and owned by public bodies must be designed to nZEB standard after the 31st December 2018.  New nondomestic buildings receiving planning permission after the 31st of December 2018 must comply with Part L of the Building Regulations 2017(nZEB).

Commenting on the Plan, ORS Director and energy specialist Brian Collentine said ‘I welcome the detail of the Government’s Climate Action Plan and look forward to reviewing the progress of the specific actions”  The implementation of Part L of the Building Regulations 2017(nZEB) demonstrated Ireland’s commitment to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. The Government’s Plan reinforces this commitment.’

A ‘Nearly Zero Energy Building’ (NZEB) is a building that has a very high energy performance. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required by the building should be covered mostly by energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby.

Specific actions on buildings set out in the plan include:

  • Introducing stricter requirements for new buildings and substantial refurbishments.
  • Designing policy to get circa 500,000 existing homes to upgrade to B2 BER and 400,000 to install heat pumps.
  • Building a supply chain and a model for aggregation where home retrofits are grouped together to allow this level of activity to be funded and delivered.
  • Delivering two new district heating systems, and implement a roadmap for delivering District Heating potential.
  • Increasing attention to Energy and Carbon ratings in all aspects of managing property assets.

Mr. Collentine continued ‘Given that we spend up to 90% of our life in buildings, it is paramount that we create healthy internal environments that will ultimately benefit the world in which we live.’