Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD today (Tuesday) announced funding of €26 million for the third call of the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme for the higher education sector.
This is a key climate action measure which will support higher education institutions in making progress towards 2030 targets of a 50% improvement in energy efficiency and 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The pathfinder programme will continue to test a range of building retrofit approaches to build evidence and capability in the sector, and to inform decisions as larger scale programmes are rolled out in the future.
The programme is co-funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications under Project Ireland 2040, and administered through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Higher Education Authority (HEA).
Speaking today, Minster Harris said: “I am delighted to announce that we are again increasing the funding available in this programme to advance the climate action agenda in the higher education sector.
“This is part of our national endeavour requiring sustained engagement with the higher education sector. We want more institutions involved and more money making a difference and enabling transformational change. The HEA are playing a key role in leading out this programme within the sector, and are crucially gathering lessons learned from this key pathfinding programme.
“Our 2030 targets for energy efficiency and decarbonisation are ambitious, but I’m here to say that we are committed to doing our part. This programme will help institutions get there, developing and disseminating knowledge on a range of decarbonisation pathways will work for the sector as a whole. This of course is building on the excellent work already being done by the sector in the area of sustainability and climate action.”
Minister Ryan said: “The Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme is delivering significant energy savings and emission reductions while improving learning environments for our young people.
“The Programme also continues to be highly successful in testing retrofit and decarbonisation solutions in higher education campuses across the country, meaning that we are gathering the evidence needed to scale up and speed up our transition over coming years.
“I am delighted that we are announcing this third call for funding, building on the work that has been done already and putting in place the new systems and processes we need to continue to make progress towards the 2030 targets of a 50% improvement in energy efficiency and 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
Ciarán McCaffrey, Head of Capital Programmes in the HEA, added: “We welcome today’s announcement of funding available for another round the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme.
“The investment announced today is key in advancing the climate action agenda in the higher education sector and will support the sector in progressing towards our ambitious 2030 energy efficiency and decarbonisation targets.
“This programme will also expand on the body of knowledge which has been built through previous rounds of this programme in relation to the retrofit pathways for the higher education estate. We look forward to delivering this programme for the sector and continuing to work with Higher Education Institutions on this important and ambitious agenda.”
Higher education institutions will be invited shortly to apply for funding for projects to be commenced in 2023 under the programme.
Among the pathways that will be considered for funding include: deep retrofit with low temperature air source heat pumps; geothermal water source heat pump with borehole; deep fabric retrofit; medium retrofit with high temperature air source heat pump; biomass and medium fabric upgrade; and medium retrofit with mechanical and electrical upgrades.
Grants will be provided for successful projects through the Higher Education Authority.