Buildings need to be more energy efficient: SEI report

14 Dec 2009

Rising energy use in buildings contributed to an increase of 1.5pc in overall energy demand in 2008, despite the economy contracting by 3pc over the same period, a new report from Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) reveals today.

This follows enhanced energy efficiency programmes for buildings being provided for in last week’s Budget.

Energy in Ireland 1990-2008 showed that increased energy for heating as a result of weather patterns in 2008 led to a 7pc increase in energy use in the commercial and public services sector.

Economic slump effect

The report also revealed that energy use linked to economic activity declined in 2008 in line with the economic slowdown, with a 5.4pc fall in energy use in industry and a first-time fall of 1.3pc in transport in 2008 mainly due to a decline in freight transport.

Imported oil and gas remained the dominant sources of fuel in 2008, accounting for 81pc of energy supply. Renewable energy use grew by 21pc in 2008, and its contribution to gross electricity consumption was 12pc, compared to 9.4pc in 2007. This suggests that Ireland is on track to meet the White Paper 2010 target of 15pc.

Overall, renewable energy represented 4.5pc of gross final energy use in 2008 and the estimated amount of avoided CO2 emissions from renewables was one and a half times the emissions from coal burned in Ireland in 2008.

Energy in Ireland 1990-2008 is a significant report revealing new insights on what drives Ireland’s energy demand and clearly showing where we need to concentrate our efforts. Improving the energy performance of our buildings remains a key priority and the government’s recent Budget support for energy retrofits and upgrades will greatly aid this in 2010 and beyond,” commented SEI chief executive Prof Owen Lewis. 

“The report also demonstrates the clear effects of the economic crisis of 2008. The key issue now is what will happen when we come out of this recession? It is critical that the return to economic growth is not matched by a corresponding growth in energy demand. The two must be fundamentally decoupled so that Ireland’s future economic successes are not undermined by unsustainable energy use.” 

Photo: The Energy in Ireland 1990-2008 report revealed that energy use linked to economic activity declined in 2008 in line with the economic slowdown.

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