Education Environment News

€12 Million to Improve Energy Efficiency and Support Decarbonisation in Higher Education

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan announced funding of €12 million for the second call of the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme (EEDPP) for the higher education sector – a 50% increase on the first call last year.

Higher education institutions will soon be invited to apply for programme funding, for projects to be carried out in 2022.

Projects that will be considered for funding include:

  • Deep retrofit with low-temperature air-source heat pumps.
  • Medium retrofit with high-temperature air-source heat pump.
  • Geothermal water source heat pumps with borehole.
  • Deep fabric retrofit.
  • Biomass and medium fabric upgrade.
  • Medium retrofit with mechanical and electrical upgrades.

This is an important climate action measure, which will help higher education institutions progress to 2030 targets of a 50% improvement in energy efficiency and 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The programme will continue to test a different building retrofit approaches. This will build evidence and capability in the sector, and inform decisions for future larger-scale programmes.

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications are co-funding the programme, under Project Ireland 2040.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Higher Education Authority (HEA) are administering the programme. Grants will be provided for successful projects through the HEA.

This latest call is modelled on the first version of the programme. It also builds on lessons learned from the first round. The stakeholder technical steering group also helped in developing this call. The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science brought together the steering group to assess decarbonisation options for the higher education sector.

The former Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment announced the first round of the EEDPP in March 2020. That round included total funding of €6 million. The eight projects approved in September 2020 under the first call are now being put into action.

Minster Harris said, “I am delighted to announce that we are doubling the funding available in this programme to advance the climate action agenda in the higher education sector. We want more institutions involved and more money making a difference on the ground.”

“Our 2030 targets for energy efficiency and decarbonisation are ambitious, but I’m here to say that we plan to meet them. This programme will help institutions get there, developing and disseminating knowledge for the sector as a whole. This of course is building on the excellent work already being done by the sector in the area of sustainability and climate action.”

Minister Ryan said, “Our higher education campuses are where our young people come to learn and share ideas, and they are also places of research and innovation. So it’s appropriate that this sector is taking a lead role in energy efficiency and climate action. Our target of achieving at least 50% emissions reduction by 2030 is challenging but we are determined to achieve it. I’m impressed with what has already been done in this sector and am delighted that we are increasing the funding for another round of projects through the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme.”

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