Cllr Eoin Ó Broin, Social Democrats, Clondalkin has criticized the low level of ambition evident in plans for low carbon renovation of Social Housing. Cllr Ó Broin brought a resolution to South Dublin County Council (SDCC) recently calling for an ambitious timeframe for retrofitting South Dublin County Council’s existing housing stock to a level that ensures (i) the comfort of tenants via efficient heating systems, (ii) the health of tenants by the elimination of damp and mould and (iii) that climate targets are met via a substantial reduction in the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooking.
The response from SDCC management was that the 2023 target issued by the Irish Government Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) on 31st May 2023 for their Energy Efficiency Retrofit Programme (EERP) for SDCC is 110 properties.
According to Ó Broin, as SDCC have a housing stock of over 10,000 properties between houses and apartments, it will take decades to renovate them at the rate funded by Central Government. Decades the climate does not have.
Speaking for the motion Cllr Ó Broin stated that it was clear that the bourgeois FF-FG-Green government did not want to set an example of low carbon renovation with Social Housing and instead preferred to rely on the market and individual house owners to renovate private homes. He added that this was disappointing given the chance to ‘lead by example’ in publicly owned housing and also reduce levels of fuel poverty and air pollution.
It also transpired that SDCC will tender for the renovation of the 110 houses for 2023, rather than using their own well qualified housing maintenance staff. A problem with this is that the opportunity for in-house ‘learning by doing’ by SDCC will be lost especially given that many of the designs of Social Housing built in the 1970’s and 1980’s are the same. SDCC have an opportunity to find generic renovation solutions to bringing their Social Housing to BER of B2 through learning by doing. This won’t be achieved by piecemeal tendering of renovation contracts.