The Irish Green Building Council launched today – 4th July – a set of recommendations to improve energy efficiency standards in the rental market.
These recommendations are contained in a report – Introducing minimum energy efficiency performance standards in the rental sector – A review – which has been published to help inform the public consultation to be launched by government this year on proposed approaches to dealing with energy efficiency upgrades in rental properties.
The report emerged from a consultation process during the first half of 2019 with close to 40 key stakeholders conducted by the Irish Green Building Council with funding from Government of Ireland through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
Pat Barry, CEO of the Irish Green Building Council, said that our homes emit 58% more CO2 equivalent than average in the European Union and that the current rate of energy renovation is far too low to reach our climate targets.
“The situation is even more acute in the rental market: Approximately 20% of rented dwellings have a BER of F or G, compared to the overall housing stock where 15% of properties have a BER of F or G. Improving energy efficiency in the rental sector is challenging in the current housing market. However, it is critical if Ireland is to decarbonise its building stock by 2050. Furthermore, it would bring additional benefits such as reducing fuel poverty, improving people’s health and wellbeing and creating sustainable construction jobs across the country”.
Mr Barry said the government can play a significant role in supporting energy renovation in the rental market.
“Introducing minimum energy efficiency requirements for rental properties would send a clear signal to the market. Minimum requirements are particularly critical to improve current conditions in buildings at the lower end of the market. However, to be effective, any minimum standards must be complemented by accurate and regular information campaigns and appropriate incentives”.
More specifically, Pat Barry explained that the IGBC is proposing:
- Better enforcement of current legislation requiring all properties advertised for rent have a BER;
- Linking the BER and the Residential Property Price registers to raise awareness about the impact of BER on property value;
- Running information campaigns to ensure landlords are fully aware of their obligations and tenants understand the benefits and co-benefits of energy renovation;
- In the commercial sector, updating landlord and tenant (amendment) act 1980 to incorporate green clauses as a basic provision, hence raising energy efficiency awareness among tenants and landlords;
- Introducing minimum energy efficiency performance standards in 2025;
- Introducing technical and financial support for small landlords and tenants. E.g. Extending the Accelerated Capital Allowance scheme to private landlords;
- Improving security of tenure to incentivise tenants to invest in a property. E.g. Opening SEAI free upgrades for eligible homes programme to tenants receiving one of the required welfare payments and with a long-term lease.