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Gormley announces details of next generation of low carbon homes

Press release July 21, 2009 Energy & Environment

John Gormley T.D, Minister for the Environment, Heritage, and Local Government, today (21 July 09) announced details of the next generation of low carbon homes to be built in Ireland.

Turning the sod on the Emerald Project in Ballymun, which will be one of the most energy efficient housing developments ever built in Ireland, the Minister also announced details of seven additional projects to be funded under a 20 million *towards zero carbon homes* scheme.

These schemes will set the benchmark for new home construction in Ireland, and will be among the most environmentally friendly ever constructed in Ireland.  They will all be built to a Building Energy Rating of at least A2.

This will result in very low heating and electricity bills for residents. According to Sustainable Energy Ireland, a standard three bed semi with an A2 rating will cost under 300 per annum to run. It is also expected that all projects will provide real value for money in terms of construction costs.

*These seven projects indicate, that in the current environment, that we can make the quantum leap towards carbon neutral housing without any real impact on the overall cost of housing. They will also show that very low energy homes can be built without huge costs, using a lot of the existing technology and knowledge available to the construction


*I am informed that the costings for these seven projects are very competitive. I have said on many occasions previously that doing things the *Green Way* is always cheaper in the long run.  But the preliminary costing for these seven projects are very interesting and show that the costs from the outset represent excellent value for

money,* said the Minister.

*We already raised the bar in terms of the environmental standards for housing generally in 2008 and we*ve indicated that a higher level of ambition still will follow next year.  What the projects now being approved will do is to push out the boundaries of environmental performance even further and, through the social housing programme, provide important experience and learning to guide us further along the path towards carbon neutral housing*, Minister Gormley said.  The seven projects, in Tramore, Co. Waterford, Clondalkin in South Dublin, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Roscommon Town, Tahmahon, Co.

Wexford, and Portlaoise, will be constructed to achieve a minimum Building Energy Rating standard of A2 and will be supported from a fund of 20 million.  A number of other projects are still under consideration for funding.

*These projects are just one element of the overall approach to the greening of the social housing stock* added the Minister noted that his colleague Michael Finneran, Minister for Housing and Local Services had previously announced close to 20m in allocations to local authorities for the retrofitting of insulation and other energy efficiency improvements in social housing prior to re-letting, and for apartment complexes.  Local authorities have been preparing energy efficiency plans for their areas to manage the delivery of these improvements which will see the majority of dwellings achieve a minimum BER of C1.  In addition, a number of demonstration projects are being progressed around the country to inform the expansion of the retrofitting programme. 

*The improvement in the energy efficiency of all housing is a key objective for my Department  in the coming years*, Minister Gormley said, citing the ambitious energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions of the current building regulations and the preparations for new regulations in 2010.  *This country has taken the lead on the energy efficiency agenda by becoming the first country to include a requirement for renewable energy sources in its building code, and it is my intention to ensure that our social housing stock sets the bar for

energy efficient housing throughout the country*.  


Note to Editors

The Emerald Housing Project

The project was conceived by The Emerald Housing Co-operative with partners Cluid Housing Association. Solearth are using the best and most appropriate techniques in consultative planning to create an integrated project featuring solar site design, passive ecological design measures and many green technologies to create a community that will be carbon neutral in terms of heating, will cleanse most of its water and grow some of its own food. Ballymun Regeneration LTD and Sustainable Energy Ireland are patrons and supporters of the project. The project was awarded at the 2005 SEI sustainability awards.

The seven shortlisted projects

Project:                    Sheltered Housing Development at Valhalla, Watery Lane, Clondalkin
Local Authority:         South Dublin County Council (in partnership with Clanmil Ireland)
Architects:                SDCC Architectural Services Department
Proposed Features:   An infill site close to services and amenities, district geothermal heating system, passive stack ventilation and winter gardens proposed.

Project:                   Mitchell's Crescent, Tralee
Local Authority:        Tralee Town Council
Architects:                NBA Architects
Proposed Features:   Good location and part of larger town centre regeneration, good u-values, traditional build, no secondary heating, draft lobbies and some solar water heating.

Project:                    Athgarvan Road, Newbridge Co. Kildare
Local Authority:         Kildare County Council
Architects:                Kildare County Council Architectural Services Department
Proposed Features:   Excellent town centre location with potential for additional units, mechanical heat recovery with innovative compact unit incorporating natural gas boiler and *solar ready* domestic hot water tank connected to solar panels, high degree of air-tightness and advanced controls.

Project:                     Abbey Court, Roscommon
Local Authority:          Roscommon County Council
Proposed Features:    Well located in existing development.  Good passive layout, u-values and air-tightness, air-to-water heat pump, solar panels and heat recovery ventilation system.

Project:                     Tagmahon, Co. Wexford
Local Authority:          Wexford County Council
Architects:                 Wexford County Council
Proposed Features:    Located relatively close to village centre facilities, wood biomass district heating scheme proposed for primary heating.

Project:                     Conniberry Way, Old Knockmay Road, Portlaoise
Local Authority:          Laois County Council
Architects:                 Evelyn Duff Architects
Proposed Features:    Site well within walking distance of town centre, Good u-values, air-tightness, heat recovery ventilation and solar water heating with traditional build.

Project:                     Beechmount, Tramore for Respond! Housing Association                     
Local Authority:          Waterford County Council
Architects:                 Respond!
Proposed Features:    Single dwelling on well located brown-field site, good renewable component with geothermal heat pump and wood pellet stove as secondary space heating.



Sean Dunne

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
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