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Minister Ryan Launches Low Carbon Housing Grants

22 Jul 2008

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan TD today announced a new grant scheme which will provide financial support for the construction of highly energy efficient, low carbon housing.
The Low Carbon Homes Programme, which will be administered by Sustainable Energy Ireland, will provide grants of up to 40% of eligible expenditure to encourage large developments of new homes to an energy performance standard well in excess of the recently adopted building Regulations. Homes built under the Programme will be at least 70% more energy efficient and produce at least 70% less carbon dioxide than homes built to 2005 standards and will have a Building Energy Rating (BER) of at least A2. Homes build to the standard of the recently adopted Building Regulation s, which are already among the best in Europe, would typically have a BER of B1, two points below the minimum standard of the new programme.
With a capital envelope of €9 million until the end of 2011, the Scheme will seek to achieve zero or very low carbon emissions from supported homes by requiring a significant element of auto-generation of electricity from renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic, micro-wind and micro combined heat and power (CHP). The programme will demonstrate the efficiencies that can be achieved with low carbon housing, and will also form an evidence-base for future policy decisions in the area.
In 2007, Building Regulations were amended to establish mandatory higher energy efficiency and emissions standards which are 40% better than the 2005 Building Regulations and it has been proposed that this will be increased to 60% in 2010. This planned revision in 2010 will bring new homes up to a Building Energy Rating of A3. This new programme will prepare the building industry to move beyond that to A2 and even A1 homes.
Speaking as he launched the Programme, Minister Ryan stated, 'The recently adopted Building Regulations have placed Ireland among the best in Europe in terms of energy efficient new housing. However, the threat of climate change and the impacts of rising oil, gas and electricity prices mean that we must aim for the very highest efficiency standards possible, while tackling the carbon emissions from our electricity use in the home.
These will be houses where energy waste is minimised and where heat is produced and electricity generated on site. This is the housing of the future.'

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