7 September 2022
By Tom Collins
The Cabinet has today approved a suite of energy-efficiency measures across the public sector. All public sector bodies will, from September, take a leading role in lowering their energy consumption and costs – as a first step in the new Autumn Reduce Your Use energy efficiency campaign.
The Reduce Your Use energy efficiency campaign is designed to target reductions in energy use. This includes targeted reductions in energy use by public sector bodies, through simple and easy to implement measures, such as:
reducing the temperature and duration of heating systems;
reducing energy use from lighting;
reducing electricity use at peaks times whenever possible; and
making more efficient use of buildings where occupancy is low, at certain times, due to remote working.
Public sector bodies will be required to set temperatures to a guideline 19 degrees where appropriate, to turn off heat in office buildings at least 1-2 hours before the buildings close and to ensure that there is no non-security/safety lighting in use after 8:00pm. However, this requirement allows for consideration of the public service being delivered at that location, and the suitability of reducing temperatures in particular circumstances – for example; hospitals will not be required to reduce temperatures to 19 degrees.
It is expected that this campaign can deliver 5-10% energy savings overall across the sector, and up to 15% in buildings.
In 2020, the public sector achieved its ambitious target to attain a 33% energy efficiency improvement, compared to an overall economy target of 20%. There will now be a concerted effort across the public sector to continue this leadership role in reducing energy use.
Public sector organisations will be supported with energy awareness resources, including online seminars, live webinars and one-to-one online energy clinics.
As a result of the impact of the war in Ukraine, a number of EU Member States have already taken significant steps to implement emergency energy saving measures across their public bodies and economies.
Today’s memo is the first in a series of actions expected on energy efficiency, security and supply over the coming weeks. On Friday of this week, Minister Ryan will attend a meeting of EU Energy Ministers to discuss ways to tackle the surge in energy prices. Significant measures will be also be introduced in Budget 2023 to ensure that households and businesses receive help to meet their rising energy costs.
Reduce Your Use Campaign
The nationwide Reduce Your Use campaign is a key part of the Government’s wider approach under the National Energy Security Framework. The public information campaign promotes and encourages energy efficiency, while highlighting the range of Government supports that are available for households and businesses to assist with rising energy costs.
The campaign will be phased, tailored for different seasons, activities and energy demands. It will highlight how war and conflicts are affecting energy costs across Europe and how, now, more than ever, we need to be mindful of how we use energy in our daily lives. The campaign empowers people to reduce their energy use and encourage long-term sustainable behaviour.
Energy efficiency advice within the campaign is provided by experts at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). It is practical and evidenced-based, detailing what actions can help to save the most money and energy.