I was recently surprised to see a Request for Tender (RFT) for a replacement of old school boiler by yet another fossil fuelled boiler. This RFT was on the Irish Office of Government Procurement website last week and was for a primary school in a rural area of Co. Meath.
If Ireland is serious about reducing its share of global warming, then actions speak louder than words. The government is planning to ban installation of oil boilers in homes from 2022 and gas boilers from 2025. However, planning to do something is not the same as doing it. If banning fossil fuelled boilers is such a good idea (and of course it is), then the government should lead by example and start banning new installations in all buildings where there is an element of public funding. Otherwise, it appears that the proposed ban is just paying lip service to the green lobby.
I have always believed in leading by example and school heating is a perfect example. The projects are visible in the local community and can be an exemplar to others. The obvious choices for a replacement heating system are either ground source heat pumps or air to air heat pumps (there are other technology’s too). These are hardly untested technologies. A quick Goggle search will find plenty of schools worldwide that have embraced such technology. The Ysgol T Llew Jones School in Wales installed a ground source heat pump in April 2013 so the technology has been around for some time.
Hopefully, the new government in Ireland, being a coalition that includes the Greens will stop paying lip service to the environment and start leading by example.
Bob Sutcliffe, a director at Environmental Efficiency, is a Certified Energy Manager working with clients to achieve compliance with the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.