Dáil Éireann - Volume 616 - 08 March, 2006

Written Answers. - Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

  28. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the steps he intends to take in view of the fact that CO 2 emissions attributable to the concrete industry increased in 2004 by almost 20% and since the building trend continues to rise to ensure that this trend does not continue in 2006; the actions he will take to promote energy efficient modern methods of construction; and the way in which he intends to ensure that there is an actual reduction of emissions. [9573/06]

  Mr. Roche: The 20% increase in cement emissions in 2004, as contained in the EPA’s provisional report on greenhouse gas emissions, relates to increased emissions from cement manufacturing installations. Since 2005, these cement installations have been participating in the EU emissions trading scheme, which will contribute to control of emissions from this sector, as the cost of purchasing carbon allowances will act as an incentive for industry to invest in new technologies and processes that will reduce CO 2 emissions.

As regards energy efficiency in the construction sector generally, my Department has progressed a number of important measures which will reduce CO 2 emissions from construction activity. For instance, higher thermal performance standards apply to new dwellings commencing on or after 1 January 2003 under amended [649] Part L — conservation of fuel and energy — of the Building Regulations 2002 and the related 2002 edition of Technical Guidance Document L published by my Department.

It is currently estimated that the amendment to the Part L regime in 2002 will reduce CO 2 emissions by at least 250,000 tonnes per annum by end 2012 in line with the estimate contained in the national climate change strategy, NCCS. This estimate is based on the assumption that some 420,000 new houses will be completed to the amended Part L standards by the end of 2012.

In addition, I brought in regulations in December 2005 which amended Part L of the building regulations to set higher thermal performance and insulation standards for new non-domestic buildings commencing on or after 1 July 2006, which it is estimated will result in a further reduction in CO 2 emissions of 45,000 tonnes per annum by the end of 2012. The thermal performance standards for new dwellings are due for review and further upward adjustment by 2008. I am advised that these prospective developments should enable CO 2 emission reduction targets from new construction, as contained in the NCCS, to be exceeded by 2012.