Deep retrofitting of our housing stock is recognised as one of Ireland’s biggest energy efficiency challenges and also a major economic and employment opportunity. This was the theme of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) inaugural National Deep Retrofit Conference which took place today at the Aviva Stadium.
As many as one million homes built in the last century are considered to be significantly energy inefficient, resulting in higher energy bills and, in some cases, poorer health and wellbeing for homeowners. The upgrade work required is worth over €35 billion to the Irish economy between now and 2050.
The conference is the first of its kind to take place in Ireland with participation from key stakeholders including building design and construction professionals, financiers, Local Authorities and policy makers.
Opening today’s conference, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD said: “The performance of our building stock is one of the greatest energy efficiency challenges facing our country. Today’s conference acts as a forum to share experiences and learn from each other. However, in overcoming these challenges there is the potential for significant economic and employment opportunity, as well as delivering more comfortable, healthier homes that are cheaper to run.”
Deep retrofitting involves the complete overhaul of the energy efficiency of a home. It offers a better value alternative to piecemeal changes and additions to a house. Jim Gannon, Chief Executive, SEAI, who addressed delegates this morning said: “Through our Deep Retrofit Pilot we are exploring ways to help homeowners overcome the different barriers to deep retrofit. We’re also looking at opportunities to build a robust and sustainable supply chain to support this activity. This involves educating homeowners and communities, developing consumer friendly technologies, making clean energy finance available and delivering value by helping homeowners to lower their energy bills and to enjoy warmer and healthier homes.”
The conference featured national experts, as well as, international speakers who presented global context and learnings. Speakers discussed case studies from home and abroad; the potential within the construction sector; and challenges and opportunities facing the Government and the role of state agencies, research and education bodies and private industry in delivering energy efficient homes and sustainable communities.
Victoria Burrows, Project Manager with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), shared insights from WorldGBC’s ‘Advancing Net Zero’ project, which calls for all buildings to become net zero carbon emissions by 2050: “Buildings are responsible for around 30% of global emissions – roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of China. A monumental and coordinated effort is required by businesses, governments and non-governmental organisations to transform existing buildings into healthy, cost effective and energy efficient spaces where people can live, work and learn.”
The SEAI inaugural Deep Retrofit Conference looks to engage all stakeholders in the process and aims to encourage all homeowners to ensure their home is extremely energy efficient with a low energy requirement. Homeowners are encouraged to visit SEAI.ie to check out the range of grants available and to contact SEAI for more details on how they can save money by retrofitting their home.
The event is being live streamed from www.seai.ie