Decarbonising social housing will be crucial if Ireland is to meet its climate goals.

Decarbonising of social homes crucial for climate goals

Grace Sweeney

A new report has been published exploring how best to deliver a decarbonised housing sector in Ireland that meets national climate targets.

Launched by the Housing Alliance, the report aims to identify the issues, challenges, and opportunities for delivering decarbonised housing here in Cork and across Ireland.

The organisation says access to funding for retrofitting is a significant challenge for approved housing bodies (AHBs) in Cork in meeting net zero carbon targets.

The report sets out recommendations to enable the six Housing Alliance members to work together to tackle climate challenges. The report found that across all stakeholder groups, the top three climate related issues for the housing sector is energy management, fuel poverty, and retrofit finance.

It also showed that gaining access to finance to retrofit older homes is a challenge due to structural issues around how the AHB sector is funded.

Finally, it was revealed that there are retrofit supply chain challenges like shortages in materials, equipment, and labour.

The report was launched by Steven Mattews, Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Mattews said: “It is the challenge of our time to provide public and private housing on a scale that is affordable to purchase or rent, that is energy efficient, warm, healthy, and affordable to run and all this is framed in the obligation to decarbonise construction, building materials and domestic energy requirements.”

Commenting on the findings of the report, John Hannigan, Chair of the Housing Alliance, said: “Approved housing bodies (AHBs) across Ireland have a central role in providing social and affordable housing in Cork and across Ireland. With over 43,000 homes, decarbonising the sector will be essential in tackling the climate crisis and meeting national targets.”

He continued: “We commissioned this report with the goal of identifying tangible actions to enable the Housing Alliance members to work together to tackle the challenges of decarbonisation. We are proposing that the Housing Alliance should be seen as strategic partners for Government, contractors, and finance. Through collaboration and partnership, we can create an efficient and cost-saving way of achieving our housing targets.”