Industry Led Report sets out clear recommendations to advance healthier, greener homes
Healthy Homes Ireland (HHI), an initiative promoting the case for healthier, greener homes, will today (Thursday, 1st June, 2023) present its extensive report of policy recommendations on Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) to Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, Kieran O’Donnell, T.D., cross party representatives and key stakeholders at the Royal College of Physicians, Kildare Street, Dublin.
Supported by VELUX and the Irish Green Building Council, Healthy Homes Ireland is a steering group of building and environmental experts from the housing industry and academia.
The report “Our Place: Towards Healthier, Greener Homes” is a result of two years of research, facilitated by CBRE Ireland, into how public policy, building industry practice and other factors have helped or hindered the achievement of healthy homes.
Describing the report as “a roadmap for change,” Kevin O’Rourke, Chair of HHI said:
“There is no doubt that issues in poor indoor environmental quality identified in this report are further compounded by skills and labour shortages, insufficient rental accommodation and increases in fuel prices. However, with the comprehensive research work commissioned by Healthy Homes Ireland, we now have practical solutions to address this pressing issue. We are calling on the Government to action what we have proposed, including a central leadership body on IEQ, greater education and upskilling in the industry and a public awareness campaign to inform people how to run an energy-efficient and healthy home”.
The report outlines recommendations across six key areas including – Leadership, Education & Upskilling, Occupant Empowerment, Regulation, Knowledge and Funding. HHI highlights Leadership and Education and Upskilling for the following reasons:
A review of relevant Government policies found limited focus on IEQ standards in existing homes. The issue of healthy homes is also highly technical, and funding programmes and policies involve several government departments and agencies. A centralised, coordinated leadership approach is needed to deliver best practice.
Education and Upskilling:
While the IEQ of new homes built to current building regulations should be very high, it can vary significantly in existing homes. HHI therefore recommends defining IEQ best practice in Irish homes and promoting the skills, funding and policy mechanisms that can deliver healthy and energy-efficient homes.
CSO data from 2021 states that more than 40% of rental homes have a BER of D or lower. These lower rated homes are more costly to heat, leading to low temperatures and issues with dampness and mould. Many tenants living in housing with poor energy efficiency struggle to pay inflated heating bills and have limited options to remedy the situation.
Marion Jammet, Head of Policy and Advocacy, Irish Green Building Council (IGBC), added:
“Ireland’s ambitious retrofit programme to deliver 500,000 homes to at least a BER of B2 by 2030 provides a fantastic opportunity to enhance people’s health and wellbeing. High quality energy renovations, when associated with adequate ventilation, not only reduce carbon emission but they can also improve thermal comfort and indoor air quality. Our report is grounded in industry expertise to support the Government to act to deliver greener, healthier homes”.
Neil Freshwater, Public Affairs Manager, Great Britain and Ireland, VELUX concluded:
“Indoor environmental hazards, such as damp and mould, excessive noise, cold or lack of daylight are all-too common. In fact, according to our latest Healthy Homes Barometer research, 24% of households in Ireland are negatively affected by poor indoor climate and exposed to at least one of these hazards. The work undertaken by HHI addresses this issue head on and gives Ireland the opportunity to show leadership to ensure all homes, whether existing or new, meet indoor environmental quality best practice”.
Healthy Homes Ireland will continue to advocate for the integration of health considerations into public policy and industry delivery of both new build and retrofit homes, in their planning, design, construction as well as householder operation. To read the full report, visit www.igbc.ie
Members of the Steering Group include:
Dr. Marie Coggins – Senior Lecturer, Physics, School of Natural Science, University of Galway
Mr. Neil Freshwater – Public Affairs Manager GB & Ireland, VELUX
Mr. Conor Hanniffy – Energy Poverty Manager, SEAI
Ms. Marion Jammet – Head of Policy and Advocacy, Irish Green Building Council
Mr. Niall Jordan – Irish Home Builders Association
Ms Müge Karasahin – Director of Sustainability, Ethos Engineering
Ms Deirdre Keeley – Assistant Practice Director, Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland
Mr Michael Kelly-Mór – Technical Manager and member, Environmental / Sustainability Working Group, Cairn Homes plc
Dr Paul Kenny – Associate Dean, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, UCD
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