€3 million to go towards decarbonisation in higher education institutions

Shauna Power

The Government has announced a €3 million pilot programme to improve energy efficiency and support decarbonisation in higher education institutions.

The programme is part of the governments’ climate action plan and provides strategic options for energy efficiency and decarbonisation of energy use in higher education buildings.

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh said: “The aim of this green fund is to support colleges and universities on the road to improved energy efficiency and more renewable technologies, recognising the excellent work already being done in the sector.”

“The Government will be able to use the successful projects to test and demonstrate approaches to achieving the targets of the Climate Action Plan.”

Higher education institutions will be invited to apply for grants, for projects to be carried out in 2020 and 2021 under the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme.

Projects assessed for the €3m pathfinder programme will be measured against national targets, including targets to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiencies in the public sector by 2030.

Among the initiatives that will be considered are deep retrofitting of older or low energy efficiency buildings, viable renewable technologies, decarbonisation of heating systems and projects that deliver maximum energy reduction and carbon savings.

Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “Our higher education institutions have a great record in innovation and development and are already playing a lead role when it comes to climate action and sustainability.”

“The programme will complement investments already being made and technologies tested at the level of individual institutions. We are particularly keen that lessons learned both from this programme and other initiatives are widely shared”, said O’Connor.

“The scale of the challenge in meeting the energy efficiency and decarbonisation targets of the Climate Action Plan requires a collaborative approach across the sector”, she continued.

“Our education institutions are pillars of their community”, said Richard Bruton, minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, “It is crucial they take the lead and implement the changes that are being demanded by their students.”

The €3m fund is an initial allocation for 2020 between the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment(DCCAE), with the possibility of extending the programme in 2021. Grants will be provided for successful projects through the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and through the Sustainable Energy Authority (SEAI).

Shauna Power

Image Credit: Wikipedia