Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
494. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the funding schemes or incentives available to public sector premises, such as schools and colleges, to retrofit their fluorescent lighting to more energy efficient and eco-friendly alternatives, such as LED lighting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9593/19]
The Public sector Energy Efficiency Strategy mandates the public sector to improve its energy efficiency by 33% by 2020. Progress is monitored and publicly reported annually for each organisation. Lighting upgrades are an effective way to achieve improved energy efficiency.
SEAI operate several schemes with funding from my Department which support energy efficiency, including LED lighting upgrades, in schools and colleges. These supports include energy management training and mentoring, helping schools and colleges save energy through a structured management system, which over 700 schools have undertaken. Capital support is available under SEAI Community Grants, which support 50% of retrofit costs in schools. Since 2017, SEAI and the Department of Education and Skills have partnered to deliver a pathfinder project which has undertaken medium to deep retrofit upgrades – including lighting - in schools (with 16 schools completed to date and others to be retrofitted this year).
Since 2017 SEAI have partnered with OPW to undertake a pathfinder building retrofit programme – funded by my Department - in Central Government and other OPW estate buildings. Much of this work has had a Mechanical and Electrical services focus, with a strong emphasis on lighting retrofit. The fundamental objective of the Pilot is to test approaches, build best practice and build capacity for a large-scale energy retrofit programme through OPW. The upgrades have delivered significant savings and clients are pleased with the results. It is planned to scale this approach more widely in the OPW portfolio subject to funding availability.
Local authorities are also upgrading public lighting to more efficient LEDs. This work has already commenced in some Local Authorities and a national project involving most Local authorities is at an advanced stage of development. This upgrade, when delivered, should enable most local authorities to meet or exceed their 33% energy efficiency target and was one of the projects successful in the first round for Climate Action Fund support.