€540,000 investment for UN Centre of Excellence in Enniscorthy

Wexford County Council is to receive a €540,000 investment from the Department of Housing to establish both a UN Secretariat office and UNECE Centre of Excellence in Enniscorthy.

In November last year Enniscorthy’s High Performance Building Alliance (HPBA) was designated as a UN Centre of Excellence at the COP 26 climate change conference.

€180,000  will be allocated per annum over three years, and will serve as a significant step to assist with the establishment of a UNECE Centre of Excellence in Enniscorthy.

In 2021 Minister Darragh O’Brien and Cllr. Barbara Anne Murphy, Chairperson of Wexford County Council signed an MoU designating the High Performance Building Alliance (HPBA) as a designated UN Centre of Excellence, at a prestigious event at the COP 26 Climate Change conference.

At the time, Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy, who is also chairperson of the HPBA, addressed the live stream COP 26 conference and said the HPBA:

“Is determined to be a leader and champion of high-performance energy buildings and to increase knowledge, capacity and demand for low carbon emissions buildings.”

It’s envisaged that Enniscorthy will become a global hub into which a worldwide network of centres of excellence will report and it’s anticipated that as a result the town and County Wexford will become a significant location on the global map.

Wexford County Council (WCC) and Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) worked together to establish the Centre of Excellence as the first local authority provider of NZEB social housing and the first Education and Training Board to provide NZEB training nationally with over 1,000 people trained to date at the WWETB NZEB training centre in Enniscorthy.

The WWETB flagship Enniscorthy training centre model, funded by SOLAS, is being rolled out by the Irish Government to four other regional centres to ensure the industry has trained and skilled staff working in the delivery of new and retrofit energy-efficient  buildings.

The built environment and construction sector is central to tackling climate change, with buildings consuming as much as 70% of the electricity generated globally and accounting for 40% of Co2 emissions.  High performance buildings are designed to use minimal amounts of energy for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation with a range of benefits for both the environment and the people who live and work in them.

Providing education and training and other critical resources the centres will support  their local industries to move forward in line with the UN framework guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings.