Housing Associations at AGM 2019 Ready for Strategic Delivery Partner Role in National Climate Action Plan

 

Wednesday, 19th June 2019

PRESS RELEASE

 

Housing Associations at AGM 2019 Ready for Strategic Delivery Partner Role in National Climate Action Plan

Housing associations attending the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) AGM 2019 are ready to partner up with local authorities to deliver ambitious climate action measures for Ireland’s housing stock

 

The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) welcomes the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019, launched this week, and its ambition to deliver an extensive deep retrofitting programme with approved housing bodies and local authorities working in partnership as strategic delivery partners. So says Dr. Donal McManus, Chief Executive of the ICSH, speaking today (19th June 2019) at the organisation’s AGM in the Ashling Hotel Dublin.

Welcoming Mr. Damien English T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Development to the ICSH AGM 2019, Dr. McManus says that low-carbon solutions for Ireland’s national housing stock are key to sustainable buildings and construction. “An area-based approach to retrofitting starting with public housing to deliver economies of scale makes sense. The housing association sector is well-placed to roll-out a retrofitting programme at scale to our tenants in communities throughout Ireland.  From 2010-2012, we worked with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to retrofit 1500 of our members’ homes under the ‘Better Energy Homes Scheme’. We can do a lot more now with the financial support from Government alongside a robust delivery structure. The Climate Action Plan 2019 needs to operate alongside the National Planning Framework (Project Ireland 2040) with front-loaded funding for public housing retrofitting. It is important too that existing retrofitting commitments via the European Investment Bank (EIB) and through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) continue to address the energy deficit of our social housing stock”.

Ireland’s residential sector accounts for almost 10% of our greenhouse gas emissions and almost 24% of CO2 emissions. Regulations governing the energy efficiency of new dwellings were not introduced in the Republic of Ireland until 1979. But just over half of Ireland’s 1,700,000 (occupied) homes were built after 1980, and only 30% were built post-2001. CO2 emissions per dwelling in 2005 were 104% more than the EU-27 average. However, in 2015, the average Irish dwelling emitted 58% more energy-related CO2 than the average EU dwelling. Clearly, we have made significant improvements in the energy efficiency of our homes, but there remains considerable work ahead. Housing association and local authorities completed almost 8,500 newer, more energy-efficient, homes in 2018, but Ireland’s public and social housing stock is ageing alongside the nation’s demographic profile. This makes for very significant challenges for both local authorities and housing associations in addressing the energy needs of older tenants, who are more vulnerable to energy poverty.

“Housing associations are governed by a robust regulatory regime, so the sector is in a good position to start with, and can work rapidly alongside local authorities and Government agencies to make our public and social housing stock more energy efficient. The challenges we face are daunting. But if we look at climate-resilience through a ‘public good’ lens, then the human factor comes into play and health and wellbeing in energy efficient and low-carbon buildings can become part of the sustainability discussion. A transition to a low-carbon economy can have major benefits for society at large.”, says Dr. McManus.

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

  • The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) was established in 1982 and is the national social housing federation of nonprofit voluntary and other national housing associations. The ICSH represents approximately 270 member organisations that manage 35,000 homes and house 90,000 people including families on a low income, older people, people with disabilities and households experiencing homelessness. ICSH members operate in every local authority area in the country and in over 500 communities across Ireland.
  • The Government of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2019, envisages a ‘strategic delivery partner’ role for approved housing bodies and local authorities as part of a new delivery structure for retrofitting. The Plan proposes an area-based retrofit programme to capitalise on critical mass and leverage economies of scale to benefit both householders and the supply chain. The ‘area-based’ approach could include a mix of residential stock in public ownership and other social housing to provide a ‘core project’, and also to address energy poor homes (p75). https://assets.gov.ie/10206/d042e174c1654c6ca14f39242fb07d22.pdf
  • A recent €405 million initiative followed a €300 million social housing lending programme agreed between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) in December 2014. This supported construction of 1,302 new homes and retrofitting of 550 properties by eight different Approved Housing Bodies http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/record-irish-social-housing-investment-programme/ . The Southern & Eastern Regional Operational Programme 2014-20, for example, has a €133m investment commitment, of which €66,5m is European Regional Development Funding (ERDF). €47,5m of which is towards social housing retrofitting. https://www.southernassembly.ie/eu-programmes/southern-and-eastern-regional-operational-programme-2014-2020
  • Irish homes emitted 58% more C02 than the average EU home in 2015 due to greater use of high-carbon fuels including oil, coal and peat (p3) https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Energy-in-the-Residential-Sector-2018-Final.pdf. Much of this is due to Ireland’s ageing housing stock, with fewer than 500,000 homes built after 2001 (see www.cso.ie Profile 1 - Housing in Ireland: Private Households in Permanent Housing Units 2011 to 2016 by County and City, Type of Private Accommodation, Period in which Built and Census Year https://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Database/eirestat/Profile%201%20-%20Housing%20in%20Ireland/Profile%201%20-%20Housing%20in%20Ireland_statbank.asp?sp=Profile%201%20-%20Housing%20in%20Ireland&ProductID=DB_E1). The 2012-2013 Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), a nationally representative cohort study of 8,175 community dwelling adults aged 50 years and over identified that adults in lower socio-economic groups, and those living in older houses and rented accommodation are more likely to report housing problems. Policies addressing housing quality, energy efficiency and central heating should be targeted in these specific groups to improve housing conditions and potentially to improve health and reduce morbidity and mortality. https://tilda.tcd.ie/publications/reports/pdf/Report_HousingConditions.pdf
  • As set out in National Policy Objectives 64, the National Planning Framework (Project Ireland 2040) seeks to promote of energy efficient buildings and homes, heating systems with zero local emissions, green infrastructure planning and innovative design solutions (p129).  http://npf.ie/wp-content/uploads/Project-Ireland-2040-NPF.pdf
Date: 
Wednesday, 19 June, 2019