Thursday, 7th November: The Irish Green Building Council launched a zero-carbon standard for new homes at the Better Homes conference today. The new standard will enable Irish Home builders to offer certified zero carbon homes to home buyers.
Besides energy efficiency, the new zero carbon standard considers the upfront carbon emissions associated with the construction of the homes. It also encourages home builders to actually measure how the homes perform after they are purchased and lived in. Under the new building regulations all new homes must reach a minimum Building Energy Rating (BER) of A2. While this means all new homes must be highly energy efficient, it does not take into account the emissions associated with the construction of a house. These emissions account for more than half of the whole lifetime carbon emissions from new homes.
The zero-carbon standard has been introduced within the new version of the Home Performance Index certification. The Home Performance Index is Ireland’s first national certification system for quality and sustainable residential development. The certificate demonstrates that a home has been designed and constructed with care to ensure low running costs, enhance the health and wellbeing of the occupants and minimise environmental impacts.
Speaking at today’s conference, Dr. Sarah Rock of Technical University Dublin shared best international practice in designing car free residential development.
Reacting to the comments, Pat Barry CEO of the Irish Green Building Council said: “I welcome the implementation of the nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) standard as a significant step in the right direction. To limit global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels, going forward we need to ensure that all new homes are built not only to the Zero carbon standard but are in walkable locations, enabling home buyers to live low carbon lifestyles”.
The Better Homes conference was closed by Minister Eoghan Murphy T.D. who stated: “As a Government we are committed to responding to climate change through our policies and legislation. We have set ambitious targets for the decarbonisation of our built environment – these form an integral part of our All of Government Action Plan to tackle Climate Breakdown and we are driving a number of actions that will contribute to energy efficient housing. One of the key functions of my Department is creating the regulatory framework to achieve this, and I was very pleased to sign the regulations implementing NZEB for dwellings earlier this year. Early next year I will be implementing legislation to provide for Electric Vehicle Recharging Infrastructure. Lack of this infrastructure is a barrier to the take up of electric vehicles and these measures aim to encourage this take up.