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Northern Ireland Proposes Mandatory Solar or Wind on All New Buildings

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.


Bud Johns Here is a link to a company that has a home model about the size of a dishwasher, that will provide all the heat and hot water for a home......very quiet too. They have models that use natural gas, LPG, Diesel, ect. Excess power can be returned to the grid. No more power outages either! Here in the US, we have an abundance of Natural Gas, and it doesn't pollute!


North American NG production peaked a few years back, so technically there's a lot left, however, I wouldn't say there's an abundance. Consumption is increasing and production is now on the downslope, plans are being made to build new LNG terminals so it can be imported from around the world. A portion may be able to be produced from renewable sources domestically, but I think the amount we use right now is going to have to be curbed quite drastically.


For more then two decades Israel uses solar water heaters. Installation comprises of two parts: greenhouse heating panel of 0.8 by 1.5 meter size and 100 liter insulated tank. It is so effective, that 9 months a year all family needs for hot water (especially showering in hot climate) is 90% served by so called "dood shamesh" solar heaters. For cold weather insulated tank is equipped with thermostatic electric heater. It is so effective and offers such high savings in electricity bills, that it is not only part of the all new building projects, but is universally retrofitted to virtually all old-built dwellings, including high rises. you can distinct this installations form any picture of Israel cities. Recent building code requires installation of highly advanced centralized solar heating systems for all new high rise buildings, and it is accomplished with quite impressive architectural ingenuity. Overall, solar heating accounts for more then 5% of all energy consumption of the country. Now, I do not know about Ireland, but for California it is no brainer..


Funny isn't it - this comes from a country like Ireland where it is pretty cold and wet when a country like mine, Australia, with its hugely abundant solar and wind resources can only think of mining more coal. Perth, where I live, has something like an average of 10 sun hours per day in the summer. Hot water heaters are not compulsory here however where they are installed they work really well.

Gridtie solar PVs should be mandatory where new airconditioning is installed. This way when the sun is shining and it is hot the solar PVs are supplying most of the electricity for the aircon.


That should be:

Solar hot water heaters are not compulsory here however where they are installed they work really well.


Once again, this summer has shown that global warming, if anything, is exceeding scientist's expectations. For starters, there should be a moratorium on all new coal fired plants or expansion of existing plants. More heat means more air conditioning which provides a positive feedback effect, leading to runaway global warming.

The policy in Northern Ireland needs to be expanded world wide.


I used to live in Northern Ireland and it was always cloudy... or rainy... how will this work?


Even in the North of Scotland, which is darker and ranier, these things work well for much of the year. On sunny winter days they can provide water at 60oC. Also, because they work mainly on infra-red, they are much less sensitive to cloud cover than solar PV.

John Ard

Sounds like a winner for Alabama. Our power is generally unreliable (I'm on borrowed time writing this!). If this were billed as a self-reliance deal all of my fellow rednecks would jump on it.

Harvey D.

We should rejoice to hear that Ireland is showing the way among cool weather countries.. Other sunny areas like southern USA, most of Australia, south mid-west Canada, southern Spain, etc etc could do as much and upgrade their building code to conserve energy and use free sun/wind energies.

If done on a massive scale + widespread use of PHEVs and EVs, USA (and many other industrial nations) could drastically reduce crude oil imports and GHG.

Conservation is cheaper and easier to achieve than continuously increasing energy production.

Max Reid

Very good move. China has installed 30 million solar water heater and Japan more than 4 million. India is also stepping up.

Wind mills on building is also a novel idea. Being taller they will grab the high speed wind.

Either the governments in many countries should make this type of step or tell their people to manager their energy resources on their own without expecting any subsidies.


Way to go Ireland. Here in Florida, we don't even have incentives to buy solar panels, and we know how much sun Florida gets! Idiotic. Let's hope this keeps up at a faster pace.

Richard C Burton

anybody know a source for a fairly inexpensive solar hot water heaters for mild Northern Calif climate(mild infrequent freezes),long dry summers.??(I Googled "dood shemesh" to no avail..)


Florida has no state incentives? Thats amazing.
Considering also the ongoing building, potentially severe weather the state gets, flat land, minimal large trees.........


Our family house in Florida had a little pipe that ran around the edge of the roof to soak up the sun and heat the water in the swimming pool. However, suburban areas in South Florida have an abundance of large trees (not minimal, as some would think) and recurring hurricanes. A typical Israeli roof-top water heater would be blown from its moorings in a storm, and flying debris could put standard PV panels at risk on a recurring basis.

However, the sun is so strong, it would seem possible to get good results from a low-risk low-profile simple black pipe on the roof, and I'd be darned to know why they don't do more to encourage at least that down there.

allen Z

Hot water/water warming panels added to photovoltaic panels could drive a heat pump system on the side. During colder, less sunny months, they could provide for heat and hot water/water preheating.
___Another possiblility would be variable reflecivity panels that would be black during colder/cooler months, and white, yellow, mirror during hot months. This of course would entail some installation, but may make it cooler for the building/structure. They could be as simple as surface panels in contaict with the tubes underneath that could be easily and securely swapped. Or it could be some high tech paint. Perhaps even a thin coat of whitewash could do as well.


Try google solar water heater California. There are plenty of information, and actually one link to state insentives program.


You can find U.S. state incentives for renewables at:

"The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy."


We are setting up a solar company in Thailand and wish to import solar roof tiles and solar PV window glass. Are there any companies out there who can help?

Mr. Leo Sobers

Photovoltaic cells to provide electricity is a very good idea.I live in Barbados and have sunshine 365 days a year.Can your panels provide enough electricity to make a large house or an office self sufficient?Are photovoltaic cells expensive?

Jay Draiman


In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy." We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy."
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

The implementation could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy.

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

Jay Draiman
Northridge, CA. 91325

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

Logan Wu

we are a manufacturer of solar water heater in China.produce high efficiency solar water heating system and offered at competitive price. if anyone interest, please feel free to contact with us.


Mike McFadden

great site

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