Tuesday, 14th July: The Irish Green Building Council has called on the Government to prioritise deep energy home renovation in the supplementary budget to be published this month and to focus on developing skills for those hit by the crisis to work in this sector.

The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) which represents over 170 major construction and property related businesses urge the Government to use the stimulus plan to tackle simultaneously two of the most imminent challenges facing Ireland, climate change and the economic crisis. According to the IGBC, this can only be achieved through a strong focus on energy renovation and building the skills to do it.

Pat Barry, CEO of the Irish Green Building Council said: ‘The Programme for Government’s commitment to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030 as well as build more homes, means we need to rapidly increase the number of skilled construction and renovation workers. The current crisis has created unemployment, which disproportionately affects young people and those living in rural Ireland. The stimulus plan should hence focus on helping the transfer of workers from hard hit sectors into areas such as green renovation where they not only have a long-term future but within their own locality.’

The Irish Green Building Council urge the Government to learn from the mistakes made during the last economic downturn and to prioritise those sectors which can deliver sustainable jobs across the country, while supporting Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.

More specifically, Pat Barry explained that Government should:

  • provide absolute long-term financial certainty on renovation, by putting in place a 10-year ring fenced budget for retrofit consistent with the 2030 targets.
  • offer an attractive financial package such as a form of COVID-19 payment for suitable workers to transfer from hard hit sectors, such as hospitality and tourism, to upskilling training and apprenticeships in renovation.
  • reduce VAT on professional services offered for advice on home energy renovation which is currently set at 23% and to encourage the use of quality tax compliant contractors by reducing VAT on energy renovation.

The recommendations are detailed in a letter sent to the members of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery & Investment earlier on this week.