I have engaged proactively with my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, on the preparation of the new All of Government Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown. In particular, we have worked together with regard to the built environment and on driving a number of actions that will contribute to energy efficient housing. While policy in relation to the retrofitting of existing dwellings falls within the remit of the Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, my Department supports this critical work in a number of ways.
Responsibility for setting energy performance standards for new homes and those undergoing major renovation rests with my Department. The regulations to implement the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive for dwellings were signed in May of this year. The Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) requirement will apply to new dwellings commencing construction from the 1 November 2019. The Directive also requires that in cases where buildings are undergoing major renovation and where more than 25% of the surface area of a building is being renovated, that the whole building should be brought to a cost optimal performance or the equivalent of a B2 energy rating.
With regard to social housing, the Energy Efficiency Programme has operated since 2013 and has seen over 68,000 social homes retrofitted to date, with funding support from my Department of some €128 million. The programme is designed to improve the insulation standards and overall energy performance of local authority housing stock. Support under this programme is continuing, with €25 million earmarked for 2019.
The Programme is implemented in two phases: Phase 1, which is classed as a shallow retrofit, aims to ensure that the entire social housing stock has, as a minimum, cavity wall and attic insulation while Phase 2 focuses on the fabric upgrade works to those dwellings with solid/hollow block wall construction and includes the provision of heating upgrades. This is deemed to be a more deep retrofit. In order to support the transition to deep retrofit, my Department has requested local authorities to achieve a 'B2' or equivalent building energy rating, when retrofitting their own housing stock.