Built Environment | Leitrim Cróga Climate Dialogue

Built Environment overview

The discussions at this table were based on three key points:

  • greenhouse gas emissions from the residential sector (space and water heating in the houses)
  • greenhouse gas emissions from the commercial and public services sector (public administration, education, health and care, accommodation & food services)
  • greenhouse gas emissions from the industry sector (road transport, fossil fuels used by industry firms)

People participating in the Climate Dialogue were particularly active when it came to retrofitting houses and upgrading space heating systems because it directly affects their daily life.

The Built Environment table

Climate discussions

We focused more on retrofitting our houses and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from households. At the moment the average emissions per house in County Leitrim is estimated to be 25% more than the national average.

People paid attention to the aging population and noticed that in most cases people lack the finances to renovate their old houses and make them more eco-friendly and sustainable.

The main points identified were:

  • we need to retrofit our houses, particularly old ones, in order to lower emissions and to reduce heating costs
  • we need better insulation for our houses
  • the optimal temperature in a house should be 20°C
  • we need to use solar and water energy, we can harvest water to use it in the household
  • paying grants for retrofitting can be ineffective as very often the cost of retrofitting consequently increases!

Moreover, we found out the relationship between the size of houses and the amount of the greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion for space heating. The bigger a house is, the more fuel is needed to heat it. One of the questions raised was “Do we really need such spacious houses as we live in now?”.

We also spoke about lowering emissions in the commercial & public services and industry sectors. What we need to do is:

  • implement sustainable transport plans for employees
  • raise public employee awareness about climate change and how to reduce it at work
  • switch from fossil to alternative fuels
  • switch to electric vehicles or vehicles with low fuel consumption
  • built infrastructure for electric vehicles
The outcome of the Built Environment table

Main conclusions and possible solutions:

We had a very dynamic discussion and as a result of the dialogue we identified some possible solutions.

Improving residential sector

  • lower energy use by houses – retrofitting, insulation, double or triple glazing
  • switch to renewable fuels for space heating systems – biofuels, wind, solar

Commercial & public services and industry sector

  • raise public employee awareness about climate change and how to reduce it at workplaces
  • implement sustainable transport plans for employees
  • use renewable energy (wind, solar, thermal)
  • switch to electric vehicles or vehicles with low fuel consumption, create infrastructure for electric vehicles
  • set sustainable transport plans for employees

The Climate Dialogue is the beginning of a longer climate discussion in Leitrim. Please join our Leitrim Climate Dialogue Facebook Group to share your ideas and continue the dialogue.

And stay tuned for the announcement of our next Leitrim Climate Dialogue in Carrick-On-Shannon in February 2020.