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Energy Conservation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 21 September 2021

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Ceisteanna (103)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

103. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the research that has been conducted by his Department into the carbon emissions embedded in the materials used to retrofit homes; and the timeframe for them to be offset by the associated energy savings. [44534/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The Programme for Government recognises that the next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate crisis, and commits to a 51% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions over the decade and to achieving a climate neutral economy no later than 2050. To meet these ambitious targets, we must reduce the level of carbon emissions across every sector in our economy, including the residential sector. The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2/cost optimal and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings over the next 10 years. The value of sustainable building practices is recognised in the new EU policy framework known as the European Green Deal and the Renovation Wave – which focus on the multiple benefits arising from the energy efficient upgrade of homes and buildings more generally.   Ireland welcomes and supports these initiatives.

The European Commission has also initiated discussion on an implementation plan for a future environmental life cycle assessment framework for construction products, looking at the impacts on the wider environment that occur during the whole life cycle of a construction product. The objective is to identify the strategic issues that need to be addressed with a view to the implementation of the current and the future revision to the Construction Products Regulation. Ireland will be obliged to follow this procedure via harmonised technical specifications for construction products, when a consensus of approach emerges.  The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is the lead Department on the Construction Products Regulation.

My Department has not conducted any research into the embedded carbon in retrofit construction materials. However, the SEAI will examine life cycle analysis and embedded energy in buildings to compare the use of sustainable materials.

A new National Retrofit Plan will be published in quarter 4 of this year. The plan is designed to address barriers to energy efficiency investments in four key areas: customer proposition and demand generation, financing and affordability, supplier capacity, and governance.

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