Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Reduction of Carbon Emissions of 51% by 2030: Discussion (Resumed)
Mr. Dara Lynott:
A lot of research has been done. The Environmental Protection Agency, through its climate action seminars, has started to look at some of the pioneers of energy efficiency, who are now revisiting their initial data on, for example, ripping up a building in order to renovate it and what that is costing. The reason I was nodding is because it comes very much into life cycle analysis. There are a lot of data on it. We live in a world of data. A significant amount of data are being generated from initiatives such as the building energy rating, BER, ratings scheme that the SEAI is running, as well as the GeoHive initiative that is being done by Ordnance Survey Ireland.
Some research has been done on this issue at a European level. I am not sure what research has been done in Ireland. This research is relevant, not so much in respect of one-off houses but rather in respect of estates where there are similar houses that were all built at around the same time and to the same standard. Research should be available on the life cycle cost and the entire carbon cost associated with substantially demolishing or renovating a building and a calculation being made as to whether it is the best option, as opposed to minimising the destruction of materials only to bring in brand new materials that have to be manufactured at a carbon cost.
The work has started. I have heard discussions on this subject at some of the EPA climate talks and they are most interesting. It would be well worth researching. The findings of the research would be most fruitful in respect of those large estates in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford that were built around the same time, where one could focus on one type. There could be co-operation on the sharing of data between the SEAI and the likes of Ordnance Survey Ireland. As with many general data protection regulation, GDPR, issues, a lot of this data sharing has to be facilitated in primary legislation. Legislators could take on board the question of how anonymised data could be used in this way to facilitate the research and some of the actions that will help us get to carbon neutrality.