Irish government increases energy efficiency grants

Irish minister for energy Alex White has announced a boost in the level of grants available to householders who want to undertake energy efficiency improvements. The cash value of every grant available to householders under the Better Energy Homes Scheme has been increased by between 25 to 50%. In addition, a bonus payment has been introduced which will see householders receive bonus payments if they complete three or more energy efficiency improvements.

Irish housing supply could double within two years - CIF

The supply of housing could double within two years if the government were to follow seven simple steps, according to the Construction Industry Federation.  The CIF has suggested that these measures could see 20,000 housing units built a year by 2016, curtailing the excessive prices rises in the Dublin housing market.

British 'green deal' must win consumer confidence, say Velux

Velux has warned that if the British government's 'green deal' fails to win the confidence of consumers it could be a "kick in the teeth" for the energy efficiency retrofit market. The green deal will allow homeowners to pay for energy upgrades via loans paid back through their energy bills. 

Brian Motherway named new chief executive of SEAI

Dr Brian Motherway has been appointed chief executive officer of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Motherway joined SEAI in 2006 and has recently held the role of chief operations officer. He holds bachelor and master's degrees in chemical engineering and a PhD in Sociology.

Government launches public consultation on building control

The government has launched a public consultation on its proposed new building control regulations. Environment minister Phil Hogan announced the new rules last year following the high profile failure of the Priory Hall development in Dublin to meet fire regulations, but details have just been released.

Goverment launches first green public procurement action plan

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Environment minister Phil Hogan and public expenditure and reform minister Brendan Howlin today launched Green Tenders, Ireland's first green public procurement action plan. The aim of the plan is to encourage public authorities to purchase more sustainable products and services.

The action plan stresses that green public procurement can be a "driver for innovation" and "provide a competitive advantage for emerging companies".

Cuts to insulation grants will cost jobs, warns Construct Ireland

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The government's cuts to its Better Energy grants will cost jobs and make it extremely difficult for Ireland to meet its retrofit and energy reduction targets, green building magazine Construct Ireland has warned.

Following the budget, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland reduced grants for cavity wall insulation from €320 to €350. Grants for internal and external wall insulation were also reduced — previously these were €2,000 and and €4,000 respectively, but now separate rates have been introduced for different house types, with the maximum being €1,800 for internal insulation and €3,600 for external.

Green groups criticse new EU energy efficiency plan

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Environmental groups have criticised the EU's new Energy Efficiency Directive for failing to mandate member states to make big energy savings over the next decade.

According to the European Commission, the plan will deliver 20% energy savings across the union by 2020. However, Friends of the Earth said the directive would "not make savings to the extent promised, or on the scale needed to fight climate change".

Six-week consultation on green public procurement launched

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The government has published its draft national action plan on green public procurement (GPP). Environment minister Phil Hogan said the plan, when finalised later this year, will apply to all personnel involved in procurement across the public sector.

The plan aims to ensure the government purchases sustainable products and services in areas such as construction, energy, food and transport.

Grants for heat pumps and biomass boilers withdrawn

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The government is withdrawing grant support for heat pumps and biomass boilers and reducing grants for other energy efficiency upgrades as part of its new Better Energy national building upgrade programme.
 
The government has allocated an additional €30m to the programme this year in addition to the €60m set aside in this year's budget. It expects the extra funding to support an additional 2,000 jobs in the retrofit sector in 2011.

CI exclusive: Ryan dismisses reports of energy grant cuts

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Government grant schemes for energy upgrade measures such as insulation, heating controls and renewable energy systems are running as normal, energy minister Eamon Ryan TD has told Construct Ireland. The minister said that €99m is set aside for the Greener Homes scheme, Home Energy Saving scheme and Warmer Homes scheme in 2011.

Energy upgrade programmes escape budget cuts

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Government subsidies for energy efficiency and renewable energy have come through Budget 2011 unscathed in spite of swinging cuts across the economy.

Energy minister Eamon Ryan TD has announced a budget of €99m for energy upgrading Irish buildings in 2011 as the government ramps up for the launch of the National Energy Retrofit Programme (NERP).