The local authority housing will be among the most environmentally friendly built in Ireland, according to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Environment minister John Gormley said: “These seven projects indicate that in the current environment, that we can make the quantum leap towards carbon neutral housing without any real impact on the overall cost of housing.

“They will also show that very low energy homes can be built without huge costs, using a lot of the existing technology and knowledge available to the construction industry.”

Residents of the new homes – to be built to a Building Energy Rating of at least A2, the second highest – will also benefit from “very low” energy bills, the government says.

A three-bedroom semi-detached house is expected to cost less than €300 (£260) a year to run.

Mr Gormley describes construction costs are “very competitive”.

“I have said on many occasions previously that doing things the green way is always cheaper in the long run,” he said.

“But the preliminary costing for these seven projects are very interesting and show that the costs from the outset represent excellent value for money.”

The seven projects, being built as part of the “towards zero carbon homes” scheme are in Tramore, County Waterford; Clondalkin, South Dublin; Tralee, County Kerry; Newbridge, County Kildare; Roscommon Town, County Roscommon; Tahmahon, County Wexford, and Portlaoise, County Laois.

Meanwhile, other projects are being considered for funding, the government says.

Mr Gormley announced the schemes as he turned the sod on the Emerald Project in Ballymun, on Dublin’s north side, set to be one of Ireland’s most energy efficient housing developments.

“These projects are just one element of the overall approach to the greening of the social housing stock,” he said.

“The improvement in the energy efficiency of all housing is a key objective for my department in the coming years.”

David Gibbs

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