“The social housing sector is looking to deliver low carbon solutions as part of our national effort to build a more climate resilient society”. So says Dr. Donal McManus, CEO of the Irish Council for Social Housing, at their National Social Housing conference in Wexford on 10th-11th October, sponsored by AIB.
“Key low carbon housing solutions include achieving the highest energy rating possible in new build homes and embarking on a wide-scale retrofitting programme. We welcome the €45 million retrofitting commitment in Budget 2020. Our sector is ready to begin an ambitious retrofit programme of older AHB homes. Housing associations are flexible and we believe we can deliver at scale and cost effectively. Fuel poverty amongst households because of poor energy performance of homes can be alleviated through these measures. As it stands, one in three housing association tenants do not currently find it affordable to heat their homes. So retrofitting is not only a necessary climate action but a poverty proofing measure too”, Dr McManus added.
Housing associations and local authorities are leading in both dialogue and action when it comes to climate action measures in the delivery of social housing schemes. Tuath Housing’s Castleguard Manor scheme in Ardee is a great example of public, private and voluntary sector partnership in practice. Launched in April 2019, ninety per cent of 102 homes were completed in Modern Homes Ireland’s (MHI) state of the art facility in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan before being transported to Ardee to assemble on site in just over a year. The advantages for the environment of the rapid build scheme within a factory workshop is a reduced carbon footprint, fewer man hours, speed of delivery and all without compromising the quality of the homes built. Long-term building maintenance costs are also reduced as steel is resistant to rot, mould, termite and insect infestation.
At the ICSH National Social Housing Conference 2019 – Innovation Delivery & Sustainability, we will hear from a range of speakers on key actions to make our current and future homes and communities more climate resilient. Amongst these will be Ron van Eerck of Energiesprong, the Netherlands. Energiesprong delivers desirable, affordable, high-quality, and zero-energy retrofit solutions. Around 2,000 Energiesprong homes have been completed in the Netherlands, of which around 60% were renovations of existing properties and 40% new builds.
Pictured Below: Pat Doyle, ICSH Chair and CEO of Peter McVerry Trust; Mr Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government; Dr Donal McManus, CEO, Irish Council for Social Housing
Donall O’Shea, Head of AIB Real Estate Finance said, “We are delighted to be the main sponsor for this event as it is consistent with our aim to be a sustainable bank, one that is profitable, but is also conscious of its role in society. In September we became the first Irish bank to sign up to the principles of responsible banking at the UN, and our commitment to the social housing sector is an example of the work we look to do in this regard. We look forward to continued support of developers building social units, supporting Approved Housing Bodies with long term funding to support the rental of the units and providing funding to those entities that provide Mortgage to Rent solutions. Whilst proud of what we have done to date, we look to build on that and do a lot more in the future.”
Mr Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, will open the two-day conference, supported by AIB, which brings together 300 delegates, including active housing associations, currently facing the challenge of growing their housing stock and making it more environmentally sustainable. At the event, stakeholders from the public, not-for-profit and private sectors will discuss how collaboration and innovation can develop the sector’s capacity to build more sustainable and climate resilient communities.