Ireland Needs to Address Public Building Energy Efficiency

THE Irish Times report the claim by Friends of the Earth Dublin that Ireland’s Government could save €200 million annually if energy efficiency in public buildings was more thoroughly embraced.

Friends of the Earth Dublin, report that “Saving public money is a government priority . . . yet ministers are silent on cutting energy use in thousands of public buildings – in spite of official evidence that €120 million a year could be saved within two years and €200 million within five years.”

The Times reports that the environmental group asks in the report why Ireland’s Minister for Public Expenditure, Brendan Howlin, is “ignoring the proven potential for up to 20 per cent savings in Ireland’s estimated €500 million public-sector energy spend.

“That money is spent heating empty schools at weekends, powering computers all night and running many hospitals as if energy is cheap. It’s money we need desperately for home helps, disability services and teaching resources,” the report says.

The report also wants to see the governments requirement for schools to target 20 percent energy savings annually to be beefed up, claiming that across the countries 4000 schools “This would save €14 million a year – twice as much as cutting other capitation costs by 3.5 per cent.”

Friends of the Earth Dublin also turn their attention to the Irish health sector, querying why the Minister for Health, James Reilly is “presiding over a spend of at least €85 million a year on HSE energy costs while existing projects show that a fifth of this could be saved for essential services” removing the need for “so many unnecessary cuts.”

The Irish Times states, that group estimates that the savings could add up to €1.75 billion over the next decade, plus providing a reduction in carbon emissions and savings from cutting oil, gas and coal imports. They add that the more stringent energy efficiency measures would also bring a substantial boost to the number of jobs in the country through the retrofit and upgrading of buildings.

Picture of Dromore Primary School Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Tuesday 27th August 2013

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