The Friends of the Earth have suggested that massive cuts in emissions as well as financial savings could be made by adopting more rigorous energy saving in schools, hospitals and other public offices. It especially highlights buildings that are heated when empty during weekends and leaving computers switched on when not in use. It estimates that it could save the state 1.75 billion euro over 10 years and calls for retrofitting such buildings with better insulation, reducing dependence on air conditioning and using low carbon heating systems. However, small changes can make a difference. A school in Clara in County Clare was able to reduce its electricity usage by 70% by simple actions such as lowering the heating setting on the central heating, using time switches for heating rooms that were not used all the time, turning off the boiler at night and weekends, and encouraging staff and pupils to close doors and turn off lights. Plans are already in place by the Government to reduce electricity use in over 10,000 buildings run by central and local government under the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan. It is claimed that the plan has already reduce energy usage by 33% across the public sector.
More information: Friends of the Earth (2013) ‘Cuts that don’t hurt’. Friends of the Earth , Dublin.
More information: The Second National Energy Plan launched in February 2013.