On July 19, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage unveiled a public consultation on the Draft Guidance for Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings.

This draft guidance has been developed as an action of the Climate Action Plan 2019 (Action 50d) to develop guidance for retrofitting traditional buildings. Its purpose is to update and build upon the advice and principles included in the existing Advice Series publication ‘Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings’ (Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, 2010) in order to provide clear and robust advice to professional users, such as specifiers and installers, while being accessible to a wide audience.

Purpose of the Guidance Document

Under Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2019, 500,000 homes must be retrofitted to a B2 equivalent Building Energy Rating (BER) or cost optimal equivalent or carbon equivalent by 2030. All public sector buildings, of which about 15% are traditional buildings, are to achieve a BER of B by 2030, with around one third of commercial properties aiming to achieve the same target.

While the current emphasis on energy retrofit of buildings is important, the integrity of those buildings of traditional construction, which have a cultural heritage value, needs to be respected.

To upgrade these buildings to achieve the required BER rating, or as close to it as possible, their specific physical properties and performance need to be considered. The risks of inappropriately applying energy-efficiency methods designed for use on modern construction to traditional buildings include potential damage to the character of the building, the building fabric and the health of the building occupants.

Given the nature of the historic building stock, the guidance is intended to be strategic more than prescriptive. Its purpose is to describe and, where appropriate, to illustrate best practice, what energy-efficiency outcomes this should achieve, and to establish the principles and processes by which due consideration of the factors involved can be properly considered. This guidance will be applicable to both residential and non-residential traditional buildings.

Making a submission

Please share your views on the draft guidance document by responding to the online questionnaire by close of business on September 10, 2021.

The document was presented and discussed during a Workshop on July 19. This can be watched here.