Can Europe train seven million construction workers?

There is a great urgency, as Europe moves closer to the 2020 energy efficiency targets, to develop a skilled workforce that can work together to deliver low-energy projects. One EU initiative, Build Up Skills, has been designed to “stimulate the training of craftspeople and other on-site workers in the building sector on the topics of energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

Department of the Environment objects to higher housing standards

The Department of the Environment has written to Dublin’s local authorities warning against adopting higher quality housing standards – and threatened to overrule Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s proposal to mandate the passive house standard – in correspondence obtained by Passive House Plus magazine.

Dublin goes passive: city set to make passive house mandatory

Dublin City Council has passed a motion so that new buildings in the city must be constructed to the passive house standard. The measure was agreed at a council meeting on Tuesday to discuss the drafting of the new Dublin City Development Plan for 2016-2022. 

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

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

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


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

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.