Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Challenges to Ireland's Competitiveness: Discussion

Mr. Oliver Gilvarry:

Not per se. There is one thing more generally. I will take some of the numbers from the top of my head on the Deputy's point, but our emissions from transport last year were down significantly. The number for transport for 2020 was down something like 15% or 16%, but from households it was up 9%. On the Deputy's point, one has to heat one's home so that one can hold a pen or type on the personal computer, PC. If everyone is in one building, it is more efficient. Everyone is there for heating. A modern office building will be more efficient than people working in ten or 20 different types of houses. However, first, we have to be realistic and accept that we are now in a blended working environment.

The second point comes back to the retrofitting of the housing stock. Regardless of whether we are doing blended working or we are back in offices, we are still heating homes so we must do that in the most efficient way possible. That involves insulation, heat pumps and other things. Yes, it would be more efficient if everybody was in the office, but the pandemic has shown a new way of living and working. One could argue that it is a better quality of life, with people having more time but still being able to be as productive as if they were in offices. It is an issue. The retrofitting of houses will ultimately deal with some of that. In some ways, we cannot reverse it now. People will be in the offices for some of the time and then will be working from home. That is not just in Ireland, but globally. People will have blended working so we have to offer that and have it in Ireland so we are competitive and an attractive place to live and work.