Abstract: Reduction of building-related carbon emissions within Ireland is predicated on the implementation of an EU mandated nZEB energy standard which defaults to ‘cost optimality’ generic solutions such as an A3 rating for new builds, and a B2 rating for renovations. It is estimated that 500,000 existing buildings will need to be refurbished in this way, within 10 years and that 60% of these are urban in nature. Despite such extensive resource use, the nZEB standard is not set to significantly reduce operational energy which will, in conjunction with 950,000 new electric cars being operational by 2030, place a significant burden on our increasingly decarbonised electrical power grid. Such challenges present opportunities. One opportunity is to significantly expand the renewable capacity of the grid and strengthen its European interconnectivity, while another is to remake our rural market towns and villages with energy considerations and fabric at the centre of the process. Doing both offers an optimal solution. We can amplify societal benefits, community empowerment with grid resilience and community ownership of utilities, efficient local use of energy and low carbon transport. It so doing we ensure buildings and power grid, capable of effectively serving our 2050 energy needs.
This paper is intended as foundation research in support of Ph D Study at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown. The author wishes to thank the University for their sponsorship of these studies and his supervisors Dr Shane Colclough and Prof Philip Griffiths for their ongoing support.
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