Priority 3: Low-Carbon Economy
The Programme recognises that energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective means to combat climate change. By targeting energy efficiency in social housing and low carbon urban mobility initiatives, the Programme will contribute towards further reductions in the region’s overall energy demand, thereby presenting NI with the opportunity to significantly reduce current levels of harmful emissions.
The Department for the Economy (DfE) recognises the pivotal role that energy efficiency plays in maximising the value we get from the energy we use. At present a number of NI government Departments and agencies have clear statutory roles in relation to energy efficiency, including the Department of Finance (DoF), the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Department for Communities (DfC). DfE has sought to play a co-ordinating role.
Energy efficiency in Social Housing
The main aim is to address energy efficiency and fuel poverty in the social housing sector. The UK needs substantial investment to meet its renewable energy obligations and higher carbon emissions standards.
More than 42% of people in NI live in fuel poverty and in the social housing sector this figure rises to 50%. The Programme will implement a targeted programme of improving insulation in properties identified through the Stock Condition Survey as having poor SAP ratings, thus improving the energy efficiency ratings of households facing severe fuel poverty.
Belfast is one of the most congested cities in the UK and there is a need for a shift from private cars to low carbon public transport ensuring reduced overall traffic volumes.
Shift from Car to Public Transport
One of the Programme’s key strategic investments is the Belfast Rapid Transport System (BRT), a new low carbon bus-based public transport service that will address current and future transport needs in Belfast and support sustainable economic growth and regeneration. A new state of the art depot utilising cutting edge energy efficient technologies combined with an off-board ticketing system will provide a modern, safe, efficient and high quality service which will encourage people to travel by public transport instead of by car.