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Research shows 7000 new jobs in energy efficiency

13 Feb 2009

Seven thousand jobs could be created in environmental retrofitting across the economy, according to research released today to mark the 'Green Day' of Engineers Week 2009.

Speaking today, the Minister for Environment, Heritage & Local Government, John Gormley TD, highlighted the importance of engineers to the National Insulation Programme and the broader Government Green Agenda. "Engineers have an essential and critical role to play in our energy efficiency targets and transforming Ireland into a low carbon economy and society. The ingenuity and creativity of engineers can play a significant role in making our energy efficiency targets a reality. In our current economic climate, we need direction and radical thinking from sectors such as engineering that embody ingenuity and innovation. We believe heating bill reductions of about €700 per annum for the average household are possible under our National Insulation Programme but we obviously need the professional expertise to improve design, construction and insulation of households. That's where engineers come in."

John Power, Engineers Ireland Director General, highlighted the timeliness of the Government's announcement on home insulation and the role engineering can play. "Sustainable economic development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Quite clearly these are difficult times for the construction sector but necessity is the mother of invention. Engineers now need to apply their expertise to meet the new needs of the construction sector and the wider Green Agenda. We are seeing evidence of this with more and more engineers entering the 'Green economy' and playing a part in everything from retrofitting houses to smart metering that facilitates energy efficiency. Today's DKM data emphasises the burgeoning nature of this Green economy. Given the global nature of sustainable development, engineers from the island of Ireland working on green issues are likely to be operating in one of the most consistently growing sectors of the world economy over the next 50 years. Green products and services will be a big part of the Smart Economy."

The DKM report highlighted that meeting the energy efficiency requirements of the residential sector could generate approximately €600 million in output per year as well as 7,000 sustainable jobs, if we are to meet the 2007 building energy efficiency regulations.

New houses that come on the market now require a Building Energy Rating (BER), and each second-hand house coming on the market will require a BER from 2010. The BER is estimated to cost on average €300 per existing dwelling and approximately €200 per new dwelling. It is estimated that enabling new housing to meet the regulation will cost approximately €8,000 per dwelling. Additionally, it is likely that the BER system will encourage retrofitting existing housing stock on an ongoing basis.

The specific role of engineers in the 'Green Agenda' includes the analysis of options that minimise pollution to air, land and water with regards to new construction and development as well as undertaking impact assessments on communities. Engineers can evaluate whole life costs and minimise potential costs of environmental risks as well as the application of the latest resource efficiency technologies.

The DKM research found 68% of engineers felt energy would be a key issue in the coming years with many saying the Government's Green Agenda would be very important to the industry.

Engineers Ireland

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