Study highlights large potential market for Energy Performance Contracting in Ireland

A new report carried out by the Dublin Energy Agency Codema shows that energy-efficiency upgrades carried out through an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) can contribute significantly to Ireland’s energy targets, but a lack of knowledge about EPC in general is preventing the uptake of new projects nationally.

The Market Report on the Irish EPC Market also highlights how a lack of successful case studies is hindering the development of the EPC market in Ireland, with only one local authority EPC project initiated to date.

An EPC is a contractual agreement by an Energy Service Company (ESCo) to guarantee energy savings in a building over an agreed period of time.  This type of performance-related model is well-established in countries such as Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, but is at a very early development stage in Ireland.

The report, which analysed the views of 25 experts in Ireland including ESCOs and customers in the private and public sectors, shows that cost savings, increased comfort and reduced maintenance are seen as the main drivers in carrying out EPC projects. 

While the potential market size for ESCOs in Ireland could be as high as €110 million per year by 2020, this potential is unlikely to be realised due to the lack of existing ESCOs and opportunity for training of new ESCOs on the market.  

Speaking today, Codema’s Executive Engineer and author of the report, Joe Hayden, said: “What the report highlights today is a huge opportunity to retrofit thousands of buildings across the country and to guarantee the energy performance of these buildings using the EPC model, which is tried and tested in many European countries.  However, we know that many potential customers are hesitant to initiate EPC projects in their buildings, so proper communication and information to all stakeholders is essential for the market to expand in Ireland.”

In Ireland, there is currently just one local authority EPC project initiated, involving the upgrade of Dublin City Council’s Markievicz, Ballymun and Finglas Sports and Fitness Centres.  This project will achieve average energy savings of more than 30% per year through a range of energy-efficiency upgrades, and is expected to deliver 2% of the 3% annual energy savings required by the City Council to stay on track of 2020 targets.

“These figures show that there is great potential for other local authorities to replicate this project and achieve similar savings,” Mr Hayden added.

The Market Report on the Irish EPC Market was developed through Codema’s partnership in the GuarantEE project, which aims to further develop Energy Performance Contracting in Europe, and is funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.