I propose to take Questions Nos. 209 and 210 together.
The Public Sector Energy Efficiency Strategy mandates the public sector, including the Health Service Executive and voluntary hospitals, to improve energy efficiency by 33% by 2020. Progress is reported annually by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and the most recent report, covering the period to 2017, is available at:
This records that, by the end of 2017, cumulative energy efficiency improvements of 24% were achieved, equivalent to a cumulative emissions saving of 3.6 million tonnes CO2 eq.
Specific results for the health sector are also published by SEAI online at:
This records that the HSE and acute hospitals in 2017 accounted for 1,542 GWh, or 15% of total energy demand (including electricity consumed), in the public sector in 2017. Based on energy savings achieved, relevant bodies have achieved cumulative emissions savings of 463,000 tonnes CO2 eq. Energy and emissions savings data in 2017 for individual organisations, including those in the health sector, is also available online at https://psmr.seai.ie/public.
SEAI actively supports energy efficiency in hospitals, helping those bodies save energy through a structured management approach. Targeted capital supports are also provided for developing project pipelines. For the HSE specifically, SEAI funds an Energy Bureau, which includes the following supports:
- energy awareness teams
- targeting the top 50 energy-using facilities
- developing a project pipeline
- behavioural and low cost projects
- energy strategy development for 2020 and 2030
I am informed that the monitoring and reporting system employed by SEAI for the purposes of the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Strategy is unique to Ireland, and there is currently no basis for comparing energy-related emissions from public hospitals in different EU Member States.
I published the Government's Climate Action Plan on 17 June. The Plan sets out, for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also puts Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Plan commits to reducing public sector emissions by 30% and improving the public sector energy efficiency by 50% by 2030.
The Plan also includes a commitment to require each public body to adopt a Climate Action Mandate. The mandate will involve a ‘core’ group of requirements that every public body will have to meet, and a wider set that should be pursued by larger organisations. The core requirements will have specific timelines for their introduction, be clearly measureable against a set of key performance indicators, and may include the following:
- every public building with public access to display an up-to-date Display Energy Certificate
- pursuing and reporting on resource efficiency actions across all public facilities, including measures to reduce food waste, promote water conservation, waste segregation, reuse and recycling practices
- collaborating with suppliers and service providers in joint decarbonisation initiatives, including working with clients to adopt low carbon approaches such as the development of clusters
In addition, large public bodies may be required to commit to other measures such as:
- achieving formal environmental accreditation, such as EMAS or ISO 14001, and ISO 50001
- a proportion of energy to come from certified renewable sources and/or onsite renewables
- active management of equipment containing refrigerant gases, including maintenance and disposal planning