Low Carbon Homes Programme

Last updated: 5 November 2017
The Low Carbon Housing Programme is the successor to Sustainable Energy Irelands (SEI) House of Tomorrow Programme. It aims to support the development of new low-carbon and energy efficient housing through providing capital grants to developers. The programme invites proposals for housing developments incorporating design and technology features that lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions from energy use in a typical new home by at least 70% relative to a reference dwelling built to baseline Building Regulations 2005 standards. The developments covered by the programme will combine heat and electricity demand reduction, efficient low-carbon heat supply, and efficient low-carbon electricity auto-generation. The minimum requirements are that development proposals reach the following targets: - A building energy rating (BER) of A2 or better; - Achieve an energy performance coefficient (EPC) less than 0.25 (below the current Building Regulations figure of 0.6); - Achieve a carbon dioxide performance coefficient (CPC) less than 0.30 (below the current Building Regulations figure of 0.69); - Generate electricity onsite (for supply or export) per unit to the equivalent of 10 kWh/m2 per year or greater (primary energy). Specific requirements include 14 different aspects: 1) Onsite electrical generation: Microgeneration technologies and large-scale solutions are both supported, both renewable and CHP. Use of smart meters is also important. 2) Passive design strategy: To minimise energy demand, particularly through passive heating, ventilation and daylighting design and technology features. 3) Site layout and house design: Should reduce site exposure using natural shelter and landscaping and to maximise solar gain. 4 & 5) Ventilation and structural sealing: To minimise heat loss and ensure good air quality. 6) Insulation of the building envelope: U-value specifications must exceed those of the 2007 Building Regulations. Indicative acceptable reference values in W/m2K are provided as follows: Doors less than or equal to 2.2; Windows less than or equal to1.8; Walls less than or equal to 0.22; Floors less than or equal to 0.20; Roofs less than or equal to 0.13. 7) Thermal bridging: To avoid excessive heat loss and local condensation. 8 & 9) Lighting and appliances: Incorporation of low-energy light fittings; all appliances provided by the developer must meet the highest energy efficiency rating for that product type (A+). 10) Principal auxiliary heating systems: Using central heating condensing oil, gas boilers (must be high efficiency, can incorporate solar panels) or wood pellet boilers, solar space heating, heat pump, group or community heating system. 11) Secondary heating systems: Must present standard of efficiency higher than prevailing practice. 12) Building materials: Must be sustainable, for example CFC and HCFC free, include recycled content, low toxicity or low embodied energy materials. 13) Water: Water economy measures must be undertaken where practicable. 14) Information and advice: The developer must commit to providing homeowners with appropriate information and advice on operating energy-saving features and appliances. The preferred scale of projects is between 5 and 15 units, though one-off houses are not precluded. Indicative funding is that up to 40% of eligible expenditure, up to a maximum of EUR 15 000 per unit will be provided. The level of support will be dependent on various factors, such as the level of innovation proposed, the performance improvement achieved (in terms of energy and CO2 reductions), and in certain cases the typical floor area of the dwellings in the development.

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