Tuesday 29 January 2008

Bungalows least energy efficient, survey finds

Bungalow-type dwellings have been found to be the least energy efficient when it comes to complying with new energy regulations, according to a UCD study.

From July 1st, new dwellings seeking planning permission will have to achieve a 40 per cent reduction in energy consumption and a 40 per cent reduction in related CO2 emissions.

The UCD study, commissioned by the Department of the Environment, looked at nine different-sized detached, semi-detached and terraced houses and apartments, to see how they would comply with the 40 per cent reduction in energy consumption.

Vivienne Brophy, director of UCD energy group, said the bungalow was the only dwelling type which still did not comply with the proposed regulations after a number of modifications were made. Changes included improving insulation, glazing and boiler efficiency and switching to low-energy lighting.

The apartments and a terraced house were the first of the nine dwellings to comply after initial modifications were made.

Ms Brophy outlined the findings yesterday at a conference for architects and planners, organised by the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland with the Department of the Environment and the Centre for Housing Research.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley told the conference that the Government was fully committed to ensuring that the 40 per cent target would be met. He said the regulations - known as Part L - would also affect some existing homes if boilers were being replaced. New boilers will have to have an energy efficiency of at least 86 per cent, compared with an average of 70-80 per cent in currently installed boilers.

The conference also heard about the need to start designing houses for a changing climate.

Bill Gething, of the Architects' Council of Europe, said summer overheating would have to be countered with measures such as large and secure ventilation openings, carefully orientated modest-sized windows and low-energy appliances.

Architect and broadcaster Duncan Stewart said the slowdown in the housing market gave an opportunity to developers to respond to climate change needs.

The Irish Times


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