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Category: Energy (Page 1 of 8)

New Planning Exemptions for Solar Installations

Substantial increases to the existing planning exemption thresholds for solar panels are now available.

Two new sets of regulations entitled the Planning and Development Act (Exempted Development) (No.3) Regulations 2022 and the Planning and Development (Solar Safeguarding Zone) Regulations 2022 which have immediate effect have been published on the 7th October 2022 .

Additionally two new classes of exempted development have been introduced.

For clarity, works that benefit from Planning Exemptions do not require Planning Permission.

What are the main changes?

In a nutshell,

  • the 12sqm/ 50% roof limit which applied to houses has been removed nationwide. There is no rooftop limit on houses, regardless of whether the house is located within or outside of a Solar Safeguarding Zone (SSZ). Houses are now able to erect unlimited rooftop solar panels subject to certain conditions.
  • The 50sqm/ 50% roof limit which applied to other specified classes of development has been removed for solar developments that are located outside of an SSZ. Such developments, located outside of an SSZ, are able to erect unlimited rooftop solar panels subject to certain conditions.

The Planning and Development (Solar Safeguarding Zone) Regulations 2022 (S.I. No. 492 of 2022) support the Planning and Development Act (Exempted Development) (No.3) Regulations 2022 and set out 43 Solar Safeguarding Zones (SSZs) within which a rooftop limit on solar panels continues to apply. The SSZs are applicable to all classes of development other than houses.

Wexford Town Solar Safeguarding Zone

Conditions and Limitations

The Planning and Development Act (Exempted Development) (No.3) Regulations 2022 (S.I. No. 493 of 2022) set out the main amendments to the existing solar planning exemptions contained in the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (the Principal Regulations). These regulations set out the updated conditions and limitations which apply to the various pre-existing classes of development (e.g. houses, industrial, light industrial, business premises and agricultural).

The exemptions are aimed at increasing Ireland’s generation of solar energy and combating climate change.

Isabel Discusses a Zero-Carbon Future at AT Webinar

UPDATE 23.11.2021: The webinar is now available on YouTube:

Passive House, County Wexford, designed by Isabel Barros Architects

As Architects, it is important to move forward with the times, not only to modernise design but to look at a more sustainable and environmental zero-carbon future.

Isabel will be joining Pat Barry, Chief Executive Officer, Irish Green Building Council, Daria Blanc-Mathieu, Senior Sustainability Consultant, Meehan Green. and David Murray, Head of Technical Affairs & Ireland Sales, MEDITE SMARTPLY on AT live webinar at 10:00 am on Wednesday 17th November to discuss intelligent specification for a zero-carbon future.

They will be covering a wide range of topics including:

  • Meeting the challenges facing the construction industry
  • Understanding government targets
  • Green Building Council incentive programmes
  • The importance of green building certifications
  • Making positive specification and informed material selection for sustainability, ethics and health
  • The importance of EPDs and how to use them
  • Building differently towards a carbon vernacular
  • Supporting specification in line with green build certification
  • Taking wider responsibility – delivering building fabric solutions with guaranteed and enduring performance

To join this discussion and learn more about what we can do to have a zero-carbon future Register Here .

Irish Architects Declare Climate & Biodiversity Emergency

Climate change is a serious global issue. The use of fossil fuels as our main source of energy generation is largely contributing to the problem. Human activity is releasing billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the earth’s atmosphere and adding substantially to the greenhouse effect.

Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.

As architects, we have the ability and responsibility to provide solutions that minimize the climate impact of the structures we design.

Larry Strain

Together with our clients, Architects will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.

The research and technology exist for Architects to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, and as one of the founding signatories of Architects Declare , Isabel Barros Architects are committing to strengthen our working practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us.

This collective effort seeks to:

  • Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst our clients and supply chains.
  • Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher Governmental funding priority to support this.
  • Establish climate and biodiversity mitigation principles as the key measure of our industry’s success: demonstrated through awards, prizes and listings.
  • Share knowledge and research to that end on an open source basis.
  • Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown, and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.
  • Upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.
  • Include life cycle costing, whole life carbon modelling and post occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.
  • Adopt more regenerative design principles in our studios, with the aim of designing architecture and urbanism that goes beyond the standard of net zero carbon in use.
  • Collaborate with engineers, contractors and clients to further reduce construction waste.
  • Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work.
  • Minimise wasteful use of resources in architecture and urban planning, both in quantum and in detail

The make-up of greenhouse gas emissions differs in Ireland from most other European countries because of the role Ireland plays in supplying meat and dairy products across Europe and the world. Agriculture (largely through methane associated with our herds) makes up 32% of emissions from sectors in Ireland compared to just 11% in the rest of Europe. However, in all other major sectors (Electricity, Buildings, Transport, and Waste Management) we also have a higher carbon footprint per head of population.

Ireland faces a number of challenges in reducing emissions from our buildings. Our homes use 7% more energy than the EU average and emit 58% more carbon dioxide equivalent. Our buildings are 70% reliant on fossil fuels, including oil fired boilers; over 80% of our homes and other buildings assessed for their BER have a rating of C or worse; and the current annual retrofit activity for existing stock is far too limited (approximately 23,000, mainly shallow, retrofits).

Climate Action Plan 2019 , Government of Ireland

We are aware that for everyone working in the construction industry a paradigm shift in our behaviour is required in order to achieve a substantial reduction of the worldwide CO2 emissions. We will do our best to support this shift while encouraging our clients to also adopt this approach.

Isabel Barros Architects in Wexford are committed to face these challenges by fundamentally rethinking the way we design, construct and operate buildings.

As of January 2020 a total of 69 Irish architects/architectural practices have signed the declaration. We hope that many more will join us in making this commitment. Please visit to join.

Better architecture for a better world!

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