The Green Party has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Richard Bruton TD, to review energy-efficiency grant schemes as a new EU audit reveals that over half the grants given out did not result in energy rating improvements.
The Special Report from the European Union Court of Auditors 11/2020 on ‘Energy efficiency in buildings: greater focus on cost-effectiveness still needed’ examined practices in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy (Puglia), and Lithuania. It states that: “Irish authorities reported that energy ratings did not improve for 52 % of households… While Member States required buildings to be renovated to save a minimum of energy and improve their energy rating, this sometimes happened at a high cost.”
In addition the report singled out Ireland and reveals that as EU funding increased, the Irish Government’s contribution diminished, which was “not consistent with a significant scale-up or acceleration of investments in energy efficiency”. Worryingly, in the case of Bulgaria and Ireland, the Reports states that “the lack of monitoring data on energy saved by projects in residential buildings means it is impossible to assess the cost-effectiveness of the investments.”
Green Party MEP for Dublin Ciarán Cuffe said: “While this report is critical of Irish Government policies it points to the need for more investment from the EU and National Governments to improve the energy efficiency of our building stock. Massive investments are needed to tackle energy poverty and meet our Greenhouse Gas emission targets, but we need to get the funding right and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Now is the time for a ‘Renovation wave’ and we need to get it right.”
Brian Leddin, TD for Limerick and the Party’s Communications, Climate Action & Environment spokesperson said: “The figures reported by the Court of Auditors are concerning. Retrofitting family homes has potential to deliver warmer homes, lower emissions and much lower fuel costs but we need to take it seriously and make sure we deliver those benefits. Our party is committed to not only a significant new investment in energy efficiency at national and EU levels, but also to make sure that this investment represents value for money and results in measurable improvements for families.”
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