The Government of Northern Ireland is proposing changes to the Building Regulations which will make the use of renewable energy compulsory in all new buildings from 2008, according to Secretary of State Peter Hain MP.
The changes, which all apply to all new homes, company and public buildings, will make micro-generation, such as solar panels to heat hot water, solar photovoltaic panels on roofs to generate electricity or small wind turbines for houses, mandatory in less than two years.
Launching an £8 million (US$14.8 million) renewable energy Household Program, Peter Hain said that Northern Ireland is leading the rest of the United Kingdom in green energy. Some 4,000 households will benefit under the Household Program to install renewable energy systems in their home.
The Department of Social Development is providing 100% grant assistance to install solar hot water systems in 500 homes in private fuel poor vulnerable households.
In the public sector, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive is to install 600 solar water panels in its properties.
As a Government, we are also moving forward in changes to the building regulations to help and encourage greater use of renewable energy. Changes will come into effect in November that will result in a 40 per cent reduction in emission and set onerous targets to encourage the use of renewables.
Planned amendments to the Building Regulations will make micro-generation mandatory in new builds from April 2008. This comprehensive range of measures puts Northern Ireland in a good position to develop its renewable energy options.—Peter Hain
The Household Program will offer grants to up to 50% to 4,000 households of the cost of installing systems such as solar heating schemes and photovoltaic panels, small scale wind turbines, biomass boilers and geothermal heat pumps.
The change to the Building Regulations is unique to Northern Ireland. To date, Building Regulations deal with insulation and efficiency, the move to micro-generation is a new initiative in which Northern Ireland is taking the lead.