- Key note speaker, Former President, Mary Robinson, calls on the public sector to show leadership in climate action
- 800 public representatives gather to progress energy efficiency and carbon reducing targets
- Public bodies have saved over €1.3 billion on energy spend and avoided 4.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2009.
800 representatives from public bodies and government departments today attended the fourth annual Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) public sector conference at the Helix in DCU to advance their energy efficiency gains. This year’s conference focused on accelerating leadership in the public sector towards the Government’s energy efficiency and CO2 reduction targets. The Government’s Climate Action Plan published last year sets out an ambitious vision for the public sector to achieve 50% energy efficiency improvement, 30% CO2 reduction and all public buildings to be B-rated by 2030.
Opening the conference today, William Walsh, CEO of SEAI said:
“We have seen excellent work in the public sector with €1.3 billion in energy savings in the last decade. However, we need to rapidly decarbonise our 350 public bodies and 3,700 schools in the next decade and move away from fossil fuels. This will require unprecedented effort, leadership, resources and collaboration in the sector.”
The keynote address at the conference was given by former President, Mary Robinson, who spoke of the challenges facing our society if we continue with our current energy use.
Attendees at the conference learned about strategic project financing, transitioning to electric fleets and achieving high performance buildings, among other topics. Evidence from SEAI showed that the winning formula to achieving energy targets is sustained senior management leadership, resources and continuous investment and improvement. Thirty public bodies are already certified to the international standard on energy management, ISO 50001, and are excelling in energy efficiency. While just over half of organisations have achieved, or on track to achieve, their 2020 energy targets, just under half will need to refocus their efforts to get on track.
Concluding, William Walsh said:
“As a nation, we can no longer be complacent about climate action. Our citizens expect that every public organisation will have a workable plan to help decarbonise our society. Only when there’s commitment like this, will we see the change that’s needed.”