The director general of the Construction Industry Federation (CFI) has welcomed a suggestion from the Climate Change Advisory Council that there should be more focus on smaller scale insulation measures amid the current energy crisis.
Tom Parlon told RTÉ Radio’s News at One that low-grade upgrades, such as attic insulation and installing new windows and doors, would be much more effective in the short term than major projects, such as air pumps and measures which were expensive, labour-intensive and intrusive.
A focus on individual energy upgrades,“not the full Monty”, would be effective, as would a more streamlined and simpler grant application process.
Mr Parlon called for subsidies to be implemented in builders’ merchants, rather than people having to buy the product and then apply to get the money back through a grant.
The “vast majority” of new homes being built in the State are the most energy efficient in Europe, he said. They have no chimneys, are timber framed, and are surrounded by a brick or block ‘skin’ to protect against the Irish environment, he explained.
However, calls for all new builds to automatically include solar panels would involve a cost issue, he added, as they are “extremely expensive” and there is “a lengthy payback” for solar panels unless there was some form of subsidy by the Government.
“Someone has to pay,” Mr Parlon said.
He added that inflation was adding to the cost of building, with the cost of diesel alone adding 10 per cent to every contract. “It looks like it is getting worse,” he noted.
He added that modular housing was a very good model for the future, as they are efficient with very little waste.