Guidance clarifies Ireland’s green building regs

Making sense of energy efficiency requirements should be made easier for Ireland's designers and builders by new guidance published by environment minister Dick Roche on Wednesday.

For buildings constructed in Ireland after 1 July, new regulations require carbon emissions from heating, hot water and lighting to be limited “as far as is reasonably practicable.”

In practice, this will mean that designers and builders must measure the energy performance of new buildings – calculated as annual CO2 emissions in kg CO2 /m2/per annum – against a “reference dwelling” of a similar shape and size. The 2006 Edition of Technical Guidance Document L outline how designers and builders are to satisfy these requirements.

Ireland’s building regulations were revised at the end of last year to include the energy efficiency requirements that bring them in line with the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive when they come into force on July 1.

Minister Roche said: “The amended Part L requirement for new dwellings is set on the basis of estimated CO2 emissions associated with the energy use of dwellings.

“This complies with the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and is consistent with our need to contain the growth in CO2 emissions, in accordance with our National Climate Change Strategy,” he said.

To ensure that new homes comply with the energy efficiency requirements, designers must ensure:

1. Acceptable CO2 emissions associated with energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting

2. Acceptable levels of heat loss through building fabric:

3. Acceptable controls for space heating and hot water supply

4. Acceptable insulation of hot water storage vessels, pipes and ducts

Thermal performance standards for new homes will be made even more demanding in 2008, the minister said.

The Technical Guidance Document L can be accessed here.

Goska Romanowicz

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