Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Energy and fuels

Publication Details

Energy Policy - Volume 55, April 2013, Pages 139–151


Ireland’s housing stock has been identified as being amongst the least energy efficient in Northern Europe. Consequently, atmospheric emissions are greater than necessary. Government funded schemes have been introduced to incentivise the uptake of thermal retrofit measures in the domestic Irish market. A study of Ireland’s housing highlights the dominance of detached houses (43%), 72% of which are rurally located and are predominantly heated with fuel oil. This paper investigates the economic and carbon case for thermal retrofit measures to the existing detached, oil centrally heated, rural housing stock. The study found the case for energy efficiency measures to be categorical and supports the Irish Government’s focus on energy efficiency policy measures. Thermal retrofit measures in the detached housing stock have the potential to realise an averaged 65% theoretical reduction in heating costs and CO2 emissions for houses constructed prior to 1979 (coinciding with the introduction of building regulations) and around 26% for newer homes, thus offering a significant contribution (44%) to Ireland’s residential carbon abatement projections and hence in meeting the EU’s directives on energy and carbon. The greatest savings (36%) of Ireland’s carbon abatement projections result from improving the energy efficiency of the pre 1979 stock.