Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, TD, has unveiled a public consultation on draft guidance for upgrading the energy efficiency of traditional buildings.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is preparing this guidance under Action 50d of the Climate Action Plan 2019.

Minister Noonan welcomes views from the public on the draft guidance which will help shape priorities and actions in improving the energy efficiency of Ireland’s traditional buildings.

Details on how to make submissions are outlined at: https://www.gov.ie/en/consultation/42161-public-consultation-on-the-draft-guidance-for-energy-efficiency-in-traditional-buildings/

Traditional buildings are the buildings that form the core of our cities and towns, and populate our countryside. They can be landmark buildings of high cultural heritage significance, they can be simple single-family dwellings or they can be any building type in between. Their continued existence as the backdrop to our everyday lives plays a key role in our cultural heritage, our identity and our sense of place.

Key component of our built environment

In Ireland, traditional buildings those built with solid, load-bearing masonry walls, single-glazed windows and timber-framed roofs. This type of construction was used in the majority of buildings built in this country before 1940 and forms a key component of our built environment.

The guidance being developed will assist specifiers and installers in making the right decisions when undertaking retrofitting works to traditional buildings. It explains how traditional buildings work, how to assess their performance and how to plan for climate change.

Advice is given, not only on options for upgrading the building fabric, but also on efficiency measures for building services and what to take into consideration when upgrading existing services or choosing a new energy system for a traditional building.

A number of case studies are included to show what energy-efficiency options are appropriate and what they are likely to achieve in terms of improvement to their BER and how choices can be made to avoid damage to the fabric and character of the building in the Irish climate.

'Part of the solution'

Minister Noonan said: "One of the key messages I would like you to take away from your discussions is that our traditional buildings are not part of the climate problem, they are part of the solution. 

"There’s a widely held belief that our older, traditional buildings are not energy-efficient, and that they need radical upgrading to improve their performance. In fact, the reality is more complicated. Assumptions about the poor performance of these buildings are not always justified. That being said, the energy performance of most of our historic and traditional buildings can be improved. This will help them continue to be viable and useful, both now and into the future.

"Improving energy efficiency in the traditional building stock is key to meeting our commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. We want to keep our traditional buildings in use while protecting their cultural heritage values, to allow them to provide comfortable, safe and beautiful places to live and work.  And we want to show how they can make a substantial contribution to climate-change mitigation.’

The draft report is available to view at: https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/public-consultation-on-the-draft-guidance-for-energy-efficiency-in-traditional-buildings-en/  

The deadline for submissions is September 10, 2021.