Landlords who are paid through the State’s rent assistance scheme have been told they must upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties or lose the allowance.
Announcing plans to cut private sector energy wastage by 20 per cent by 2020, and by 33 per cent in the public sector, Mr Ryan said landlords will have to have a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate, and achieve specific standards, by the end of this year, if they want to go on qualifying for the rental subsidy.
More than €700 million a year is paid out to landlords through the scheme.
Mr Ryan said the move would result in “warmer, happier homes” for tenants while reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. He added the investment by landlords was the “single best investment they can make in their properties getting an annual return of about 20 percent and increasing the value of the property”.
The move is one of almost 100 detailed steps the Government plans to introduce over the coming years to make Ireland a greener country and achieve annual savings by 2020 of €1.6billion.
At this morning's announcement, Mr Ryan was accompanied by Amory Lovins, chairman and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Since the 1970s, Mr Lovins, named as one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People of 2009, has been an advocate for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“In 1976, Amory Lovins predicted that by the beginnings of this century, 20 per cent of the energy we use will be wasted energy. It is the case that one fifth of all our energy is unused. Such waste with an expensive commodity makes no sense”, said Mr Ryan.
“Today, we will bring the sense back into our energy use. In my first year in Government, I focused on changing how we create our energy. This year, we will prioritise how we save on energy use and energy costs, bringing down our emissions at the same time.
"€1.6 billion is money that our economy could do with at this time.Vast savings on business and householder energy bills will help our competitiveness. The carbon emissions reductions will help us meet our Kyoto targets," the Minister said.
"There is a Turkish proverb, “No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, turn back'. Today we are turning back, plotting a new energy direction and saving billions in the process.”