Elected members of South Dublin County Council (SDCC) have approved a range of climate actions for 2022 as the Council continues to meet the challenges of responding to climate change. The implementation plan contains 130 actions and was approved by the Council to progress or be carried out this year. Projects include mitigation and adaptation measures in the areas of energy, transport, flood resilience, nature-based solutions and resource management. SDCC will also continue to engage with the public on climate change through initiatives like a new climate change website, by providing interactive workshops for community groups and more.
Each year, SDCC prepares a climate action implementation plan based on the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan 2019 – 2024. The action plan, launched in September 2019, is part of a collaborative response to climate change in the Dublin region by the four Dublin local authorities, the Dublin Metropolitan Climate Action Regional Office (CARO), and the City of Dublin Energy Management Agency (Codema) together to develop Climate Change Action Plans for each local authority.
A Climate Action Innovation Budget for South Dublin County Council of €300,000 has been approved for 2022 to deliver action plan initiatives across the areas of energy, transport, biodiversity, resource management and community engagement projects.
Among the key climate actions being progressed in 2022 include:
District Heating – Work will continue to progress on Heatworks, Ireland’s first publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company, to provide low carbon heat to local community buildings. Trading as Heatworks, the company will deliver the Tallaght District Heating Network, estimated when completed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the South Dublin County area by nearly 1,500 tonnes per year. The network will use excess heat from a customisation to Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) recently completed data centre to provide low carbon heat to public sector, residential and commercial customers. The system is expected to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2022.
Public Lighting Upgrades – With more than 30,000 units across the county, public lighting accounts for approximately 44% of the energy used by South Dublin County Council (as per a 2019 Energy Review). SDCC has committed to upgrading the public lighting network from older Sodium Oxide to more energy-efficient LED units. Phase 2 of the upgrade works, scheduled for completion between 2020 and 2025 will see 10,000 of the older lighting units being replaced at a total cost of €11M. 1,500 of these replacements are scheduled for 2022. Energy savings of between 50% and 65% are expected between the old and new equipment.
Energy Management System– South Dublin County Council has engaged Energy Elephant to set up a cloud-based Energy Management System. The proposed cloud-based energy data management solution will assist South Dublin County Council in efficiently managing and reducing ongoing energy use, carbon emissions and utility costs for our buildings, assets, public lighting, and vehicles. This solution will help to provide a strategic overview of energy use and costs, promote user engagement, build a comprehensive searchable energy database, record energy initiatives and verify energy savings.
Growing our Cycling Network – As part of SDCC’s commitment to making the County a national leader in providing a quality network of routes for cyclists, the Cycle South Dublin Plan is in development. This plan will provide comprehensive guidance for the planning, construction and upgrading of cycle tracks and junctions for all vulnerable road users. The plan will identify existing cycle routes and future strategic links it will include 263km of infrastructure to promote active travel options for both leisure and commuter users.
Citizen Engagement – The South Dublin County Council Climate Action website will be launched early in 2022 to inform and educate the citizens of South Dublin County on what the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) is and to provide transparency on the execution of the plan and progress towards achieving our targets. The website will be a portal for citizens to engage and learn practical solutions to reducing carbon emissions at individual and local levels.
The 2022 implementation plan builds on significant gains for South Dublin County Council in the years following the Climate Change Action Plan’s launch. In September 2021, SDCC was presented with energy performance figures for 2020. The report indicated that by the end of 2020, SDCC had reached a 45.7% improvement in energy efficiency over the baseline figure. In October 2021, SDCC presented its second annual progress report to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. The report indicated that 91.5% of the 130 actions had either started or were complete, 7.7% had not yet started and 0.8% (one action) of all climate actions had been postponed due to COVID-19.