'Passive homes' may be the new standard in Dun Laoghaire area
PEOPLE seeking planning permission in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown may be facing a new energy efficiency standard.
A clause included in the county's draft development plan requires all new houses to be "passive houses", which are based on a German model using solar power to increase energy efficiency.
The houses are built to be almost airtight and have a ventilation system that allows for superior air quality.
While, it is more expensive to build a passive house, supporters of the model point out that energy bills are lower than in an average Irish home.
Should the clause - which deals only with residential builds - survive public consultation, the authority will be the first in the country to set the bar at passive housing.
However, concerns were raised about the feasibility of introducing the changes so suddenly.
Cllr Gerry Horkan questioned whether Ireland has enough engineers and builders qualified in the area of passive housing to meet demand.
Cllr Cormac Devlin queried whether the move would damage the council's prospects of drawing down funding for social houses from the Department of the Environment.
The draft development plan for the county will go out for public consultation on March 2 and locals can have their say on the proposed changes to planning laws.