Energy Upgrade Scheme Will Create Thousands Of Jobs

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Energy upgrade in Ireland

A Pay As You Save (PAYS) scheme designed to energy upgrade virtually every building in Ireland over the next decade was officially recognised at Ireland’s prestigious 2010 Green Awards in Dublin last night.

Green building magazine Construct Ireland editor Jeff Colley, who developed the financing model, received the Green Leader and Green Communications awards for his successful campaigning work on PAYS.

The scheme, which is scheduled to be rolled out by Energy Minister Eamon Ryan before the end of 2010, will enable cash-strapped homeowners and businesses to pay for energy saving measures through fixed repayments on their energy bills over several years.

“Save as You Pay can become a major driver in Ireland’s economic recovery,” commented Mr. Colley. He said the upgrading of 100,000 homes per year will create thousands of jobs, reduce Ireland’s 6bn euro energy import bill, dramatically cut carbon emissions, and enable all Irish people to have comfortable, healthy homes.

“If ever there is an idea that’s of its time, it is pay-as-you-save,” added Colley. “We have just been through a freezing winter, carbon tax is coming in, and hundreds of thousands of Irish people are stuck in badly built, draughty homes with no ability to pay for the upgrade work needed to make their home more comfortable, cheaper to run, and more valuable. PAYS is specifically designed to solve that problem, and will mean that people can add the cost of the upgrade to their energy bill over time, with the repayments offset against reduced energy costs.”

However Colley, who has no commercial interest in PAYS, cautioned that an ill-informed approach could see the scheme falling well short of its potential. He continued: “It is critical that the utilities give considered, independent advice, and that they do not contradict each other. If one utility says ‘you should put in wall insulation’ and another says ‘don’t do that – you should put in solar panels and heating controls,’ it will create confusion and lack credibility.”

Energy minister Eamon Ryan announced in December that his Department plans to test pay-as-you-save by the summer, before mandatory roll-out by the end of 2010.

Colley and Construct Ireland developed a campaign for PAYS last August and September through, with consequent national helping Colley to successfully lobby for the inclusion of PAYS in the renewed programme for government. In August an Amárach/Construct Ireland survey found that 80% of Irish homeowners would be interested in paying for energy upgrades through their utility bills.

Construct Ireland was among 20 winners of the 2010 Green Awards, which recognise excellence and outstanding achievement by organisations and individuals in tackling climate change and addressing environmental issues. Diageo won the overall green business award for its significant achievement in reducing water consumption by half; for decreasing waste sent to landfill by two thirds by putting in place an advanced waste management and waste prevention programme; and reducing their overall carbon footprint by nearly three quarters.

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