The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) which represents over 170 major construction and property related businesses urge the Government to use the stimulus plan to tackle simultaneously two of the most imminent challenges facing Ireland, climate change and the economic crisis. According to the IGBC, this can only be achieved through a strong focus on energy renovation.
Pat Barry, CEO of the Irish Green Building Council said: ‘We welcome the Government’s commitment to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030. But this target is extremely ambitious, and it will require significant actions to address the barriers to renovation, including labour and skills shortage. In a context of high unemployment, disproportionately affecting young people and those living in rural Ireland, the stimulus plan provides a unique opportunity to build solid foundations for a successful renovation programme, while delivering a strong job led recovery.’
The Irish Green Building Council urge the Government to learn from the mistakes made during the last economic downturn and to prioritise those sectors which can deliver sustainable jobs across the country, while supporting Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.
More specifically, Pat Barry explained that the IGBC is proposing:
- To provide absolute long-term financial certainty on renovation, by putting in place a 10-year ring fenced budget for retrofit consistent with the 2030 targets.
- To offer an attractive financial package such as a form of COVID-19 payment for suitable workers to transfer from hard hit sectors, such as hospitality and tourism, to upskilling training and apprenticeships in renovation.
- To reduce VAT on professional services offered for advice on home energy renovation and to encourage the use of quality tax compliant contractors by reducing VAT on energy renovation.
The recommendations are detailed in a letter sent to the members of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery & Investment earlier on this week.