The Tipperary-based Sustainable Energy for the Rural Village Environment (SERVE) project is claiming that 1m Irish buildings will have to undergo energy upgrades by 2020 in order for Ireland to meet its legal obligations under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive that was approved by the European Parliament on 11 September.
The directive itself introduces mandatory measures for member states for the EU to meet its 20pc energy-efficiency target. Measures in the directive include energy-efficiency schemes for utilities, renovating public buildings and energy audits for large firms.
The EU-funded SERVE project itself started in 2007 and is managed by LIT Tipperary. Partners in the project include North Tipperary County Council and the Tipperary Energy Agency.
According to SERVE, 1m Irish buildings will have to undergo energy upgrades by 2020 in order to comply with the directive and the National Energy Retrofit programme.
SERVE claims that Ireland is unlikely to meet this target because its research posits that less than 50,000 buildings will undergo energy upgrades in 2012. This, it said, was due to a reduction in Government grant levels and a lack of public investment in energy-efficient projects because of the economic downturn.
"Unless there is Government intervention, Ireland faces possible EU fines and a situation whereby Irish householders and businesses will continue to waste millions of euro each year on heating poorly insulated and energy-inefficient buildings," said SERVE’s manager Seamus Hoyne today.
He called for the full implementation of the National Energy Retrofit programme, along with the creation of alternative financing measures and increased public investment in energy-efficient projects, to help Ireland meet its legal obligations under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive that’s due to come into force in the coming months.
SERVE carried out its research in the context of a five-year project in North Tipperary that is soon finishing up. According to those behind SERVE, it has resulted in 400 buildings receiving energy upgrades, and the development of the eco-village in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary.