Dáil Éireann - Volume 686 - 30 June, 2009

Written Answers. - Social and Affordable Housing.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to ensure all new social housing is fitted with energy efficient alternative energy sources. [25771/09]

  Deputy Michael Finneran: In recent years significant efforts have been made to ensure that all new construction projects, including the delivery of local authority housing stock, are designed and built to high energy efficiency and sustainable development standards. To that end, Part L of the current Building Regulations requires that all new housing, including social housing:

has 40% lower heat energy demand than previous building standards;

requires the installation of boilers with not less than 86% energy efficiency (condensing boilers);

requires the mandatory use of renewable energy sources (a minimum of 10 kilowatt hours per square metre per annum).

Ireland has become the first country to include a mandatory provision for renewable energy sources in its building code. My Department is committed to building on this success by pushing beyond these recommended levels in the 2010 Building Regulations.

For social housing specifically, my Department issued a call for proposals for new social housing projects that will go beyond the current building regulations and will achieve a minimum Building Energy Rating of A2 for each dwelling. These Towards Carbon Neutral demonstration projects will be supported from a fund of €20 million and will serve to further the local authority’s knowledge and experience in the design and construction of high performing energy efficient social housing. The 27 proposals received have been evaluated by my Department in partnership with Sustainable Energy Ireland and the successful authorities will be notified shortly. Following this programme, it is intended that the successful, viable processes and [545] technologies identified in the demonstration projects would be mainstreamed into general social housing provision.