Irish Abstract Title:
“Energy Neutral Dublin: The role of Irish Planners and Policy in the pursuit of the energy efficient City”
The European Commission recently set a number of energy targets for Europe to achieve by 2030, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 1990 (EC, 2014). Ireland was recently referred to the European Court of Justice for failing to meet emission reduction targets so it remains to be seen if this is an achievable target (Lynch, 2014). In recent years, the recognition of spatial planning’s role in formulating responses to such issues has led to the development of guidelines and strategies for the purpose of ensuring that planning for energy can be conducted at various spatial levels. This paper will provide an examination of the actions and achievements of the Irish planning sector to date in the pursuit of increased energy efficiency and seeks to establish the potential for planners to act as paradigm shapers in the development of sustainable energy solutions. The response of the Irish Planning System to the now widely accepted need to increase energy efficiency in the built environment will be evaluated (such as is outlined in the EU imposed directive on energy efficiency, 2012/27/EU).
Particular attention will be paid to the issues and challenges posed by housing and transport as obstacles to the goal of increasing energy efficiency in urban areas. A number of relevant sub-themes will be examined, such as the rise in the importance of energy efficient homes and the continued threat of urban sprawl fuelled by the renewed demand for lower density housing in suburban areas.
The ideal of the Energy Neutral City will be discussed with regards Dublin where the paper seeks to answer a number of pressing questions; Could such an ideal be plausible in a city that appears perennially characterised by urban sprawl, private car transport and lower residential densities?; Are the strategies advocating energy efficiency and sustainability (such as in Irelands Second National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, 2012-2020) undermined by policy decisions such as the recent decision by Dublin City Council to reduce permissible densities in a number of key development areas in order to allow houses as opposed to apartments? (Kelly, 2014); Are existing policies and targets to improve transport systems and residential energy efficiency enough for Dublin to satisfy the European energy agenda, or is there scope for alternative ideas which may make the Energy Neutral City a possibility?
European Commission (2014), ‘2030 framework for climate and energy policies’. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/2030/index_en.htm. [Accessed on 31st January 2014].
Lynch, S (2014), ‘EU Commission refers Ireland to European Court of Justice over failure to meet renewable energy targets’, Irish Times, 24 Jan. Available at: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/courts/eu-commission-refers-ireland-to-european-court-of-justice-over-failure-to-meet-renewable-energy-targets-1.1666177. [Accessed on 31st January 2014].
European Union (2012, ‘Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the council of 25 October 2012….’), Official Journal of the European Union: L 315/1.
Codema (2010) Dublin City Sustainable Energy Action Plan 2010-2020, Available at:http://www.dublincity.ie/WaterWasteEnvironment/Sustainability/Documents/SEAP-FINAL%20version%20for%20website.pdf (Accessed, 30/01/2014)
Kelly, O (2014) ‘Developers to be allowed build houses instead of apartments in Dublin zones’, Irish Times, 3 Jan. Available at: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/developers-to-be-allowed-build-houses-instead-of-apartments-in-dublin-zones-1.1642730.