Emissions from heating in homes and businesses falling, but not fast enough

  • Progress in heat is the priority in next wave of Government climate action

Energy use for heat in homes and businesses decreased by only 0.7% in 2019 when the impact of warmer weather last year is accounted for, according to the latest figures released today from SEAI. Collectively, these sectors account for over one third of our national energy use and CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuels. The slow level of progress is not at the rate required to achieve our climate ambitions. This data underpins the Government’s current focus on improving the energy efficiency of 500,000 homes and delivering renewable heat to more homes and businesses by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heating.

William Walsh, CEO at SEAI said:

The stagnation in reducing heat demand is a major cause for concern given the large share of fossil fuel consumption used for heat. The Government has laid out very strong targets for decarbonising how we use heat in our homes and businesses, and is making this a national priority. In order to get on track with eliminating fossil fuels from our energy system, we need a significant increase in the number of homes and businesses improving energy efficiency and switching to renewable sources of energy. As Ireland’s National Retrofit Delivery Body, SEAI is collaborating with Government and a broad range of stakeholders to support households and businesses to take action. This work will accelerate in 2021 thanks to increased budgets recently committed by Government. SEAI is further supporting the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications to determine policy pathways to fully decarbonise Ireland’s heat use by 2050 - a very significant challenge.
William Walsh, CEO, SEAI

Walsh continued,

We have seen considerable energy emissions reductions in 2020, particularly in the transport sector which was most impacted by the public health emergency. However, these reductions could be short lived as and when the economy recovers.  We urgently need to find opportunities to start a green wave of economic activity that is compatible with the climate imperative and provides significant employment. Eliminating fossil fuel use from our homes and businesses provides such an opportunity. SEAI has significant Government supports available for people who want to save energy, improve their building efficiency and make the switch to renewable technologies right now. I’d encourage everyone to look at these supports, contact SEAI and take climate action now for warmer buildings and lower energy bills.
William Walsh, CEO, SEAI

The Energy in Ireland 2020 report and related infographic can be found here.