Going Green for Christmas?

As the festive time of year is fast approaching again, we look forward to celebrating it with our family and friends. As we enjoy Christmas, let’s not forget about the importance of reducing energy waste. There are just so many ways that you can contribute to a Greener Christmas this year. When the family are all together, why not take some time out and talk about what you can do to help. Here are a few thoughts and ideas that will make it easier for you to move towards a much Greener Christmas.

Why not start off by setting out a list of tasks for the family, assign one to each member, and make that task their responsibility, this way everyone in the family is doing their bit and it can also be a lot of fun,

Did you know that Irish families this Christmas will consume an estimated 1 million selection boxes, 1.4 million boxes of biscuits and will pull 16 million Christmas Crackers. All this waste will result in a packaging mountain this Christmas, unless we do our part!

Real Tree V’s Artificial Trees

The decision you make when buying your Christmas tree is very important. Buying a real tree is more helpful to the environment than an artificial one and can be recycled after. Just ensure you have a solution for recycling it afterwards before you complete your purchase. Most Local Authorities collect trees after Christmas, you may just need to contact them. It is important that you ask yourself some questions when choosing where your tree. Where are the trees coming from? Are they sustainably managed? Coillte have depots all over Ireland that sell sustainably managed trees. Christmas trees are in short supply this year. It takes 7 years for a Christmas tree to grow and 7 years ago they did not plant a sufficient amount of trees to cater for this year’s demand.Artificial trees are made from non-renewable resources, and while they are a good alternative as they can be reused, they are usually made from a number of different materials including plastics that are difficult to recycle once they are no longer needed. Christmas tree safety is also very important, don’t forget to unplug lights at night and when you are leaving the house.


In recent years, exterior lighting has become a big issue and an environmental hazard. The energy consumption is colossal, for every KW used, 2/3 of a KG of CO² is released into the atmosphere. Choose LED lights, (Light Emitting Diode) when buying lights this Christmas. LED lights are up to 90% more efficient and the lifespan of one LED is 50,000 hours which makes them a cost effective choice. They last 10 times longer and are more Eco – Friendly.


Each household will generate approximately 64 Kilos of used packaging this Christmas, which will result in waste weighing up to 80,000 tonnes in the new year, that’s a 30% increase in the overall amount of used packaging at this time of year, so when you are buying this Christmas, make sure to pick products that have less packaging.

Remember to think before you shop, and be more selective in what you buy. We shouldn’t have to recycle as much as we do. Also consider food waste this Christmas, only buy what you actually need, don’t worry the shops will be open again after Christmas! Do bear in mind that there are over 1 Billion starving people in the world at the moment.


It is estimated that 164 million drink containers will be consumed this Christmas. So it is very important to remember to organise a trip to the bottle bank, and recycle them appropriately.

When buying Christmas gifts be more selective in what you buy, many gifts and toys received this Christmas will be powered by batteries, and it is important that people are aware how easy it is to recycle them after. Most supermarkets and other retail outlet stores have free of charge battery recycling boxes available. 1/3 of Irish batteries are purchased at Christmas.

By following these tips this Christmas it will all contribute to a much Greener and Happier Christmas for everyone and for the environment.

Integrating Systems a Key to Building Efficiency

We’ve said it before: Some serious efficiencies—including energy efficiency—can be realized by integrating systems such as lighting, HVAC, security and audio/video in buildings and homes.

And the key to a lot of it is security. Home service providers like ADT, Comcast, Verizon, Vivint, Alarm.com and others know this well, as they sell “smart home” and “connected home” services allowing remote control of lights, surveillance cameras and thermostats from smartphones. Though the core of their offerings—the big draw—is security.

People will pay for security monitoring in the home—hello, recurring revenue—and tying security or access control to systems like lighting and HVAC makes sense to shut devices down when the system is armed. Leave and arm the system, and your lights turn off, the AC dials back a few degrees, and you save energy and money.

This thinking is coming to the commercial building market. Control and automation companies are eager to connect to existing building access control systems to operate lighting and HVAC as well as audio/video. And there are plenty of benefits.

In business, of course, it’s all about the money. And if business can save money on energy and space costs, all the better.

“If you do have a bona fide security system, if you do arm it, what better time to say the building is unoccupied, is secure, so now it’s time to shut some things down and save money,” says Kirk Phillips, product manager with security systems provider Elk Products.

At the green-tech filled Earth Rangers Centre near Toronto, a security system interfaces with Schneider Electric’s Continuum building automation system not only to shut lights and systems down when the system is armed, but allows the facility to dynamically schedule the building’s time of use, meaning systems that are needed for occupied hours only run when people are actually in the building.

“The top three expenses of a business are people, space and energy,” says Mike Carter, director of Integrated Building Solutions with control and automation company AMX. “Bringing all the technology together within the building can help companies make all three of those—people, space and energy—more efficient. Once you tie all of them together you get the old adage about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”

Hotelling Models for Offices
Some businesses where largely mobile workforces render corporate spaces less than 50 percent occupied are adopting hotelling models that assign workspaces when people do come into the office.

With a control and automation system you can dynamically adjust an HVAC system to accommodate how many people are there and reassign them to common areas to minimize the amount of space that needs to be climate-controlled.

“The biggest driving factor is efficiency in the workplace,” says David Silberstein, director of Channel Development for control company Crestron. “Anything I can do to make the entire process more efficient for people should be done.”

Conference rooms can be made more efficient with scheduling functions so A/V systems start up automatically and shut down equipment when security occupancy sensors detect no one is in the room. This saves energy and saves employees from wasting valuable time waiting for systems to boot up.

Still a Tough Sell
A lot of building efficiencies are possible with systems integration. But it can still be a hard sell, due to the number of stakeholders involved, the fear of new technologies, the complex process that can be involved in getting one system in one silo to communicate with another.

“Sometimes it takes the heating and cooling guys to get used to getting signals from the alarm system rather than a motion sensor. The biggest hurdle is getting people used to a new way,” says Crestron’s Silberstein.

“People want to be more energy conscious and realize more savings, but whether they’re turning into product sales I don’t know,” says Elk Products’ Phillips.

It’s just a matter of time before systems integration becomes the thing to do. Stakeholders need to get accustomed to the idea. Now some are opting for the easy, low-hanging fruit of efficiency measures identified by virtual energy audits. And they should look for the easy stuff to do first. Once that happens, they’ll seek more efficiencies. And control and automation will be the answer.

- http://www. greentechadvocates.com/ by Steven Castle

House insulation scheme unlikely to hit target, says Rabbitte

You sometimes wonder if Pat Rabbitte is Minister for Communications because he is responsible for all telecoms, broadcast and media matters in the State or because no other minister is more willing or accomplished in confronting the threat posed by a journalist’s microphone.
On RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland last week he defended the new broadcasting fee by assuring listeners there were no longer any “cavemen” in Ireland who “don’t watch television and don’t access content on their iPad or their iPhone or whatever”. Before the summer break it was Michael McDowell who felt the lash of his tongue. Mr McDowell had been out defending the Seanad.
When it was put to Mr Rabbitte that he of all Ministers might appreciate a high standard of parliamentary debate, he replied: “There are and have been some very exotic birds in the Seanad over the years but whether we require a State- funded aviary for them to display their plumage, I don’t think so.”

Wide portfolio
However, Mr Rabbitte’s ministerial brief is far wider than just communications. His ministerial portfolio also takes in energy and natural resources and is one of the widest in the Cabinet. His concerns include the stewardship of the ESB and Bord Gáis, and issues such as fracking and oil prospecting in Ireland’s waters.
In an interview with The Irish Times, Mr Rabbitte conceded the Government’s ambitious plan to insulate a million homes in the State within seven years is unlikely to be achieved as envisaged.
The “Pay as You Save” insulation scheme (Pays) is a major policy plank of the Coalition’s programme for government as an initiative that would create jobs and have environmental benefits. Under the scheme, which is due to start next year, retrofitting work to homes would be completed first and then householders would pay for it as part of their utility bills for a number of years. The programme for government pledges to have a million homes in the State retrofitted by 2020 under Pays. But Mr Rabbitte said the outlook for the domestic side of the Government’s retrofitting programme is “not so positive”.
“It is reflecting the experience in other countries. In Britain, the ‘green deal’ [a similar pay-as-you-save scheme] has not been not so nearly as successful as expected,” he said.
The Minister will announce details of Pays in the autumn. “The concept was built on the conviction that savings accruing to households would remunerate the work done. “Now the evidence is mounting up that that won’t be the case.”
He said the retrofit schemes made homes more comfortable but the evidence was people were absorbing some of the extra savings into extra comfort.
“The equation of savings versus refurbishment won’t stand up. So we are designing a product that will be attractive but that will be realistic,” he said.
Until now, the Government has offered incentives to homes, mainly in the form of grants, which are being phased out in the run up to Pays. There has been a significant decline in domestic retrofit uptake. Some critics have said this has been because of reductions in the grant. However, Mr Rabbitte has said that the biggest factor is the recession. He has pointed to mild winters and the fact that those most committed to retrofitting have availed of the grants programme.

Electric vehicles
On the energy side, another big ambition of successive governments was a massive modal shift from gas-guzzling cars to electric vehicles.
“It is the case across Europe that the rate of uptake has not been anything like forecasted. The purchase price is still prohibitive. The ESB has continued with the roll-out of the recharging infrastructure. That is proceeding apace,” he said.
Turning to the communications side of his portfolio, he said technological convergence was exciting but not without its problems. “Advertisers are migrating online and segmenting the targets.”
“The country may well break down between those who believe quality public service influences character of society and those who think that does not matter. I tend to think that quality public service content is important for our society in circumstances where RTÉ was the first public State company to make cuts.”
He the broadcaster has undergone dramatic restructuring and is still in financial difficulties after the loss of 500 workers. “You can still see the size of the challenge.”
Source – Harry McGee, Irish Times

Howlin announces €150m construction stimulus plan

The Government is going to spend €150m on new schools, local roads and the upgrade of council houses this summer.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said that up to 3,000 jobs would be supported by the projects that were being announced.

“It is absolutely vital for our long-term well being and prosperity that children have proper school buildings in which they can learn, that our roads are safe and well maintained, and that local authority housing is as energy efficient as possible,” he said.

Mr Howlin said the funding would come on top of the €3.4bn already in the capital spending budget.

Junior Minister for Housing Jan O’Sullivan said that the new funding would allow for 25,000 council houses to get an energy efficiency upgrade. She said it would lead to an annual energy bill saving of €400 per year for some of the poorest families in the country.

“We’re ready to go. We will be able to start this summer,” she said.

And there will be an extra €50m to repair 500km of local and regional roads this year.


Solar Energy in Ireland – Is It Worth It?

After seeing that the International Energy Investments Group will not be spending any of their €140 million solar investment in Ireland , it raises the question: “is Ireland right for solar energy?”. Of course, the IEIG is in the business of developing Photovoltaic (PV) power plants but it still raises doubt about the suitability of our climate in Ireland.

Dark Winters, rainy Summers; we are surely not a country blessed with the sun. Are we able to benefit from installing solar collectors? I think it is important that we look a Ireland as a site for solar energy on a domestic level and ask ourselves, is it worth it in terms of return on investment and the environment.

Ireland receives an average of approximately 2.42 kWh/m^2/day of solar isolation annually. This is a measure of the solar intensity in Ireland. As a comparison, France receives approximately 3.36kWh/m^2/day.

So yes, we do have less solar irradiation than central Europe, but does that mean that solar collectors are useless in Ireland? No. Generally, a solar collector system will not do much for your hot water in Winter. It may only heat up to 25% of your daily needs. In the Summer, however, you will really see a benefit with a properly sized system heating up to 70% of your hot water. The return on investment of a domestic solar system in Ireland is approximately 7 years. The initial investment will depend on which grants you are awarded, the size of your system and how energy efficient you decide to be.

Environmental benefits are endless when looked on at a national level. If everyone was able to use solar energy to heat 70% of their hot water in the summer, then that would mean a huge drop in carbon output for the country. I am speaking in very simple terms here, and not taking the current economical situation into account. However, I feel that people do not realize the direct benefits of this relatively simple technology and are therefore dismissing something that they could benefit from.

As an answer to my initial question, “is Ireland right for solar energy”, the answer is yes. We may not have the same levels of sun (or solar irradiation) as France, Italy or Spain, but we do have enough to benefit from this technology on a domestic and on a national scale.


Launch of €70m Energy Efficiency Fund and NEEAP2

Remarks by Minister Pat Rabbitte – Launch of €70m Energy Efficiency Fund and NEEAP2

Publishing the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan
Rotunda Hospital, Dublin,
28th February 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The second National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which I am publishing today, reaffirms Ireland’s commitment to a 20% energy savings target in 2020. This is equivalent to nearly 32,000 Gigawatt hours (GWh) or a reduction in annual CO2 emissions of around 7.7 Mega tonnes (Mt). Put another way this means a potential reduction in energy spend of approximately €2.4 billion across all sectors of our economy. A very significant element of this will be Exchequer savings in the public sector. Re-invested elsewhere, this money could be well spent on sustainable employment and meeting our Presidency goals of stability, growth and jobs.

The actions outlined in the Plan are projected to realise 34,000GWh of energy savings in 2020, equivalent to a 21% saving on the baseline period. While that would be a significant achievement, it will require sustained commitment by all, including public sector bodies, energy service companies and the private sector.

Furthermore, the new Energy Efficiency Directive places challenging targets on energy suppliers, who will be expected to play a central role into the future. In short, energy efficiency policy delivery is not simply the preserve of my Department – we all have a responsibility to put our shoulder to the wheel.

The updated Plan contains 97 actions, each of which will help secure a more sustainable energy future for Ireland. Of these, I want to briefly highlight five which will play an integral role in meeting the national target:

In the Public sector, we will introduce a series of obligations on public sector bodies to address consumption, procurement and reporting of energy use. Current public sector spending on energy is between €600 million and €800 million per annum. This is unsustainable and the public sector must be a leader in our drive to reduce energy costs. We will be an exemplar in effective energy management.

We will introduce an appropriate Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) model for Ireland to replace existing exchequer supports for domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency upgrade measures. Work on the design is substantially underway by our PAYS project team.

The delivery of PAYS for the non-domestic sector is already well advanced. Next month we will publish a national Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) policy framework to deliver innovative financing models of energy efficiency measures in the commercial and public sectors. This Framework will standardise energy performance contracting in Ireland and provide a robust process for nurturing investment-ready projects. The Framework will be underpinned by an Energy Efficiency Fund. Let us be clear that it is only by tackling the energy performance of buildings and facilities that we will harvest the deep retrofit savings required to meet our ambitious targets.

The Better Energy programme will deliver energy efficiency improvements across a number of sectors including energy saving targets for energy suppliers. I commend those companies who have already signed Voluntary Agreements with the SEAI to deliver on their commitments.

A Cross-Departmental Implementation Group will ensure that the actions contained in this Plan are delivered. It will report regularly to Government on progress towards our 20% national target.
We all acknowledge that the construction sector has borne the brunt of unemployment and redundancies in recent years. However sometimes out of adversity comes opportunity. I firmly believe there are a significant proportion of construction workers who, with a little investment in re-training, could become the foundation for a customer-focused, quality driven workforce in energy services deployment. We are beginning to see a market shift with respect to building energy rating and consumer awareness of the impact a good or bad rating has on utility costs. A professional, skilled workforce will be critical to that delivery and I call on the industry organisations to front up in facilitating that transition.

I am also mindful of our responsibilities to those in severe economic hardship who are struggling to keep their homes warm. Energy efficiency can help those in energy poverty but again it cannot and should not be someone else’s problem to take ownership for meeting our responsibilities. We owe a duty of care to those less fortunate especially in these difficult times.

Last week, the Taoiseach launched the 2013 Action Plan for Jobs. The Energy Efficiency Fund is one initiative contained within the Plan that will help deliver jobs, not just this year but also in future years. Let me take a couple of moments to outline in more detail how the Fund will work.

The Fund will be established with the aim of providing at least €70m to finance energy efficiency initiatives in the public and private sectors. Government has already committed €35 million as seed capital. Matching funding, in excess of €35m is being sought from private investors.

Investments by the Fund have the potential to create significant employment across a broad range of construction-related sectors. Experience from the existing grant schemes suggests that based on induced labour spend almost 450 jobs are directly supported for a year for every €10 million of expenditure, rising to 675 when indirect jobs are included. This is before competitiveness impacts due to reduced energy costs are taken into account.

NewEra has been asked by Government to facilitate the creation of the Fund, and has been actively meeting with potential investors and Fund managers over the past few months. We are confident that there is appetite within the financial community to get on board and back this initiative which could potentially open up much larger investment opportunities.

Moreover, the Government’s Green International Financial Services Centre initiative is also working with my Department in this endeavour. Firstly, Green IFSC is assisting in identifying possible international co-investors into the new Fund. Secondly, and to ensure Ireland has one of the most resource efficient international financial service centres in the world, Green IFSC will be coordinating a number of IFSC based firms in applying to the Fund to undertake retrofit activities. So from local to global, Green IFSC is accelerating the continued growth of Ireland’s green finance sector, a role Government places considerable value on.

The State is investing in the Fund for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is a well-established shortage of finance in the market. In an ideal world Government should not have to intervene but the reality is that without stimulus the necessary finance is not being provided at the levels required to meet the demand. The Fund will be set up to bridge this gap. Secondly, where finance is available, the process by which monies are lent can be extremely complicated; partially due to the nature of the projects but also due to a lack energy efficiency project expertise within the financial sector. Flow of credit to the real economy is and remains a government concern. The Fund will redress this scenario through the development of an expertise in financing energy efficiency; ideally becoming the lender of choice for such projects. I anticipate that the Fund will lend to all sectors of the economy.

To kick start this process I am announcing a call for exemplar projects that will test the Framework this year and ensure that we bring forward a pipeline of projects through the development phase. We want to prove the concept at scale utilising about 20 pilot projects in 2013. These projects will be provided with technical assistance to help them become investment ready. By introducing this discipline to the market we will instill confidence in project promoters, energy service companies and most importantly the banking industry who underwrite them.

By facilitating the development of the market in line with the direction of European policy, energy efficiency activity will have multiplier effects to drive economic recovery, restore competitiveness and create sustainable business opportunities.

I will conclude by thanking the Master of the Rotunda, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith for hosting us here this morning and Dr. Brian Motherway for the ongoing partnership with my Department in delivering on our energy mandate.

Energy budget cuts will hit EU’s low-carbon ambitions: Official

Cuts to the energy infrastructure package in the EU’s new budget will increase costs and delays to the European Commission’s plans for a low carbon economy by 2050, Philip Lowe, the EU’s top energy civil servant said on Friday (8 February).
EU commissioners publicly welcomed the budget agreement’s green energy credentials after protracted and often fractious negotiations.

The climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard professed delight at an “incredibly important day for Europe” after an EU pledge to ring-fence 20% of the budget’s €960 billion for climate measures was left standing when the budget hawks had finished their work.

But the response from the EU’s energy directorate was more guarded.

“This is at least a door opener for interconnecting European energy infrastructure in the coming years,” said Günther Oettinger, the energy commissioner. “We need to make the most out of it by using innovative financial instruments.”

Nonetheless, he warned that “if we have to make choices, that means for example, we cannot co-finance all grids necessary to connect off or onshore wind parks to the big cities.”

In the hours leading up to the final deal, Philip Lowe, the director of the EU’s energy directorate was equally cautious. Asked by EurActiv whether proposed cuts to the energy infrastructure package would affect Europe’s ability to scale back emissions to 80-95% of their 1990 levels by mid-century, he replied: “of course”.

“Any decision that fails to recognise the need to make rapid progress now increases the costs for the future of providing this infrastructure, and any decision that delays the planning and implementing of grid infrastructure will certainly frustrate investments,” he said.

European leaders signed off on a €5.1 billion envelope for energy infrastructure projects as part of the Connecting Europe facility. This is almost half the European Commission’s initial proposal of €9.1 billion, which was intended to leverage €200 billion of private sector funding for vital grid transmission projects, in the form of project bonds.

Anticipating the widely-expected budget cut, Lowe said that the final sum raised for energy infrastructure “will certainly be significantly below the capacity to stimulate €200 billion.”

This was “obviously disappointing,” he said. But the percentage cut in public support would not automatically translate into total investment, he added.

Grid signals

EU officials believe that the budget’s worst problem is the signal it sends out to investors about the EU’s seriousness in tackling grid deficiencies, and a symbolic retreat into national financial concerns at the expense of the bigger European picture.

Last November, the transport commissioner Siim Kallas said that budget cuts threatened EU fundamentals – particularly in the transport and energy sectors – and posed the question of whether Europe-wide policies were needed at all.

The first energy victims of the financial cutbacks may be projects such as a gas pipeline between Latvia and Lithuania, which EurActiv understands is unlikely to attract public or private investors without EU support.

However, other aspects of the energy infrastructure package, such as a three-year guillotine on permitting approval procedures for new builds were unchanged by the budget.

The EU’s Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, speaking with one eye on international climate negotiations hailed the budget as “a major step forward for our efforts to handle the climate crisis.”

“Rather than being parked in a corner of the EU budget, climate action will now be integrated into all main spending areas – cohesion, innovation, infrastructure, agriculture,” she said. “If all other major economies were to make similar commitments, it would have a very significant impact.”

Making the books looks green

But environmentalists suspect that, far from tripling climate funds in these areas, as the Commission claims, the environmental quotient of budget actions will just be ticked off to make the books look green.

The climate-friendly credentials of proposals to green the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by up to 30% will be counted towards the budget’s green character, but arouse considerable suspicion. Some EU officials also see them as ‘greenwash’.

The prioritisation of agriculture in the final draft – won by France – is widely questioned in Brussels, with proportionately greater cuts being made to the rural development budget than other areas, and allowances being made for its transfer to fund direct payments to farmers.

More generally, the overall reduction of the budget could drain the funding pool for Europe-wide environmental policies, observers say.

“A smaller budget could trigger unfavourable changes to the proposed concentration of the regional development fund on low carbon objectives,” said David Baldock, director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy

“One perverse consequence of drastically cutting the Connecting Europe Facility could lead to greater pressure on the future Cohesion Policy to prioritise road building and fossil fuel facilities rather than more sustainable modes of transport and cleaner energy supply systems,” Baldock said.

Hans Marten, the director of the European Policy Center, a Brussels-based think tank, said that he was “depressed” by developments, at a sustainable energy meeting organised by the group as budget negotiators were wrapping up.

“I have never seen such a display of national interests playing around with so little discussion about Europe’s needs,” he said. How can we talk about smart grids if we don’t have a unified grid?”

EU rules on energy efficiency published

The Energy Efficiency Directive will enter force today(4th December) following its publication in the EU’s official journal on Wednesday last. EU lawmakers reached an agreement on the new law in mid-June.

Member states will have until June 2014 to transpose it into national law. Each year they will have to report on progress towards meeting their efficiency targets. And national action plans must be issued every three years from April 2014.

The indicative efficiency targets will be based on either primary or final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings, or energy intensity.

No more than 1,474 million tonnes of oil equivalent of primary energy or 1,078Mtoe of final energy should be consumed in Europe by 2020, notes the directive. This is in line with the EU’s 20% energy efficiency goal for the end of this decade.

The law is expected to cut energy use by at least 15% below business-as-usual by then. Another 2% could be delivered by tougher emission standards for cars and vans, and the remaining 3% through new ecodesign measures.

One of the directive’s main requirements is an obligation on energy suppliers to deliver an annual 1.5% energy saving among end-users. No more than 25% of this objective should be achieved through “flexibility measures” listed in article 7.

Member states can opt out from this obligation scheme. Examples of possible alternative policy measures to meet this objective, such as energy or CO2 taxes to reduce end-use energy consumption, are given in this article. Alternative measures should be notified to the commission by 5 December 2013.

As reported before, there is also a 3% renovation target for central government offices, first applying to “total useful floor areas” of more than 500 square metres and then to those of more than 250m2 from July 2015.

The directive also seeks to promote efficiency in heating and cooling. For example, member states must conduct a comprehensive assessment of the potential for high efficiency cogeneration and efficient district heating by December 2015.

All companies except SMEs must be subject to energy audits by 5 December 2015. Companies with certified energy and environmental systems will also be exempted. These audits will be conducted at least every four years.

HPA: it’s official, heat pumps offer the lowest running costs

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has introduced estimated running costs for heat pumps into its monthly domestic fuel costs report.

Click here to view the full report.

The figures for July released by SEAI now include a section on electricity used by heat pumps, highlighting the difference in operating costs for heat pump technology over other fuels for the first time.

Responding to the report, the Heat Pump Association of Ireland (HPA) said that the figures confirmed that heat pumps are the cheapest form of heating.

Oil burnt at 80% efficiency – perhaps the most commonly achieved average – costs an estimated 10.73 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh), reducing to 9.54C at 90% efficiency. Bulk LPG at 80% efficiency costs 15.46C per kWh, while bulk wood pellets at 80% efficiency cost 6.27C per kWh.

For homes on the natural gas grid, and on the band D2 rate, the cost is 7.73C per kWh at 80% efficiency.

Heat pumps with a listed average seasonal performance factor of 4, (day rate electricity band DD) score at 4.53C per kWh for band DD day rate electricity, falling to a mere 2.13C per kW on night rate.

“Most heatpump installations run on a 50/50 mix of night and day rate electricity which would therefore average out at 3.33cent per kW Hour,” a HPA spokesperson said.

“In money terms an average bungalow in Ireland using 30,000 kWh would currently cost €999 with a heat pump.” The spokesperson said that meeting the same energy supply from oil at 80% efficiency would cost €3,219. “An annual saving of €2220 is possible,” he added.

Article from Construct Ireland – www.constructireland.ie

SEAI Chief – Irelands Renewable Energy Use Needs To Double In The Next 8 Years

Ireland’s renewable energy use needs to more than double in the next 8 years to meet jobs potential and binding energy targets says SEAI Chief

~ Renewable energy saved 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in Ireland in 2011 ~

Launching a proposed new guide to help local authorities expedite renewable energy developments, the Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Dr Brian Motherway said that if Ireland is to meet its binding targets to year 2020, cut €1 billion in annual fossil fuel imports, save over 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and support 13,000 jobs in the process, we need to more than double our use of renewable energy over the next 8 years.

“These benefits are well worth chasing but delivering is no easy task. To make this happen, many organisations will need to work together.” Dr. Motherway added.

“It is important that the planning process is well equipped to facilitate the pace of development of wind generation capacity. This is why SEAI has been working in partnership with representative bodies to develop a new guide that will encourage all local authorities to adopt a structured and consistent framework for renewable energy planning. This will provide clear signals to renewable energy developers and help ensure that projects are delivered more quickly, in the right places and in the right way, in accordance with good planning and environmental practice. ”

Continuing, Dr Motherway said: “Ireland has been successful in its development of renewable energy to date, having trebled its usage in the past twelve years. The growth in wind energy deployment especially is a real success story, and we’ve shown that we can deliver. We now need to continue that push to achieve our binding national target of 16% of energy supply from renewables, and reap the obvious economic and societal benefits.”

Statistics also published by SEAI today show that the share of national energy demand met from renewable energy grew by 20% during 2011 and now stands at 6.5%. This growth was mainly in wind energy production which accounted for almost half of the renewable contribution in 2011. Last year the displacement of fossil fuel by renewable energy equated to an avoidance of almost €400 million in fossil fuel imports and 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions – equivalent to the annual energy needs of almost 350,000 homes.

Concluding, Brian Motherway said: “As well as local authorities developing integrated renewable energy strategies, we need to encourage the industry to engage appropriately with local communities and address any concerns they may have. This will be important to enhancing community acceptance of projects and enabling the contribution of renewables to continue to grow at pace to year 2020 and well beyond. ”

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