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In relation to the Domestic Building Regulations in Ireland Part L, the most recent amendment of which came into effect in 2011.  These amendments are applicable to buildings where the work, material alteration or the change of use commences or takes place, as the case may be, on or before 30 November 2011, or where planning approval or permission has been applied for on or before 30 November 2011 and substantial work has been completed by 30 November 2013.

The purpose of this amendment is to improve the energy efficiency of new domestic buildings in Ireland.  This aspect of Part L only relates to domestic applications, not non domestic construction work.  In addition to limiting the amount of energy a dwelling now needs to produce, a target efficiency of 0.4 MPEPC is outlined in the 2011 Regulations, (MPEPC stands for the Maximum Permitted Energy Performance Coefficient).

The achievement of this value eclipses all of the other minimums in the Part L Regulations (air tightness, thermal bridging and U values) and must be determined prior to construction.  How this is to be delivered as the dwelling needs to be assessed in it totality is done using the DEAP (Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure) software.   This software can be downloaded from the SEAI website here.

Essentially this means that a dwelling built to the new Part L is limited to using 40% of the energy of a house built in 2005. There are a number of methods being deployed to achieve this target, including higher performance building fabrication and more efficient equipment.

As outlined in a recent report from the International Energy Agency (download the IEA’s report) earlier this year one of the most efficient methods for heating space and hot water is through District Heating installations, in particular through co-generation from Combined Heat and Power installations.  To understand in a simple format the differences between CHP and traditional power generation, our simple Infographic.

District Heating Infographic, which distribute thermal energy among end users in a network, can be coupled with efficient generation sources such as CHP or with other locally available energy sources, such as waste heat, renewables or natural cooling from water sources, for further environmental gains.  District Heat networks based on these sources can be five to ten times more efficient than traditional electricity-driven equipment.  A recent report from the International Energy Agency explored District Heating Networks and co-generation and places particular emphasis on encouraging policy makers to learn from existing successful installations.

“As we move forward, efficient and flexible technologies will become increasingly important, and policy makers and project developers should learn from the experiences of others in order to fully realise the potential of co‚Äźgeneration and DHC. By building upon past successes, we can use lessons learned to help create a better integrated energy system in the future.”

Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director, International Energy Agency (IEA)

The full report can be downloaded here.  For information on Frontline Energy’s district heating service, please visit our District Heating Service page or get in touch with the Frontline Energy Team