Galway City seeks to become European Net Zero Pilot City

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galway daily news net zero galway city councillors
Left to Right (at front) Councillor Clodagh Higgins, Mayor of Galway City, Patricia Philbin, Director of Service, Galway City Council Left to Right (at back) Patrick Greene, Director of Service, Galway City Council; Kieran Cunnane, Galway Energy Co operative; James Coyne, Westside resource Centre; Damien Redington, Acting Senior Executive Engineer, Galway City Council; Shane Garvey, Galway Harbour Company; Jimmy Fahy, Atlantic Technological Institute Galway-Mayo; John Daly, Northern & Western Regional Assembly

Galway City Council has launched an application to the European Commission to become a Net Zero Pilot City – bringing €1.5million in funding to reduce carbon emissions.

If successful, Galway will be one of 30 ‘Pilot Cities’ in Europe, working to reduce carbon across a two-year pilot programme.

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2021 commits Ireland to reach a legally binding target of net-zero emissions no later than 2050, and a cut of 51% by 2030.

The city council’s goal as part of the Pilot Cities application is to vastly reduce carbon emissions, focusing on the built environment, and specifically on the retrofit of buildings.

The pilot will focus on addressing barriers to rapid retrofitting in Galway, including lack of skilled contractors; high upfront cost of retrofitting; lack of awareness of existing incentives; long administrative & bureaucratic processes; and apathy of residents to retrofit.

Speaking about the initiative, Mayor of Galway, Cllr Clodagh Higgins, said the key goal of the pilot project in Galway City is to increase the number of retrofitted buildings.

“The pilot proposes a ‘Retrofit Accelerator Programme’ to upskill contractors, incorporate learnings from post-retrofit performance management, and support behavioural change to increase people’s engagement around retrofitting,” said Mayor Higgins.

Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, said that in the Baseline Emissions Inventory (BEI) carried out by the Council, emissions from residential buildings constituted 34% of the overall emissions in Galway City in 2018.

“In response to this, Galway is already taking part in the National Building Retrofit Pathfinder Programme and has partnered with SEAI to provide various funding schemes to facilitate retrofit implementation,” he said.

“However, this pilot project would help us accelerate this work, and to place Galway in a leadership role on the path to decarbonisation.

“It will also mean more efficient homes, and lower costs for householders.”