Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.06 27 Sep 2019


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New energy efficiency regulations are coming into effect, which could significantly increase the cost of building or doing up a house.

From November 1st, new houses will have to have a near zero energy rating of A2, instead of the current A3 BER standard.

If major renovations or extensions are carried out on an existing home, it must be brought up to a B2 standard.

However, families building one-off houses will have the choice to opt out of the rules.

The Government says the new rules will help lower household energy bills and reduce the risk of fuel poverty.

Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English, suggested the new rules will build on improvements made since 2007.

He said: “About 40% of Ireland’s energy-related carbon emissions come from buildings.

"By making the next generation of houses and renovated houses more energy efficient, we can make a significant contribution in the national efforts to mitigate climate change.”

'Good news for everybody'

UCD's Dr Shane Colclough, vice chair of the Passive Housing Association, is welcoming the "great news".

He observed: "This is good news for everybody. All of a sudden we're mandating that builders build houses to a really low energy standard.

"This is good for the environment; it's good for people living in [the homes]; this is good for the country.

"In terms of the carbon taxes that are coming down [the road], there are going to be lower carbon taxes to heat these houses."

According to the Department of Housing, the majority of existing houses are energy inefficient - with 78% having a C2 BER or worse.

They say the main benefits of the new regulations are reduced energy bills, health improvements, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland claims the 'opt out' for self-build homes needs to be closed.

Johanna Gill, president of the SCSI, explained: “The vast majority of one-off houses which will be built next year are likely to opt out of the building control regulations introduced in 2014.

"People building one-off houses were permitted to opt-out of the regulations and in previous years 80% of them have done so. As a result, there is a concern that many of these may not comply with the new energy efficiency standards.”

Additional reporting by Shane Beatty
Main image: File photo. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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