Last week, the government published its advisory report ‘Skills for Zero Carbon – The Demand for Renewable Energy, Residential Retrofit and Electric Vehicle Deployment Skills to 2030’. This report identifies the skills required to deliver on key Climate Action Plan targets over the next 9 years in order to accelerate the transition to a Zero Carbon Economy and to help Ireland deliver on the binding targets for emissions reduction. 


The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, the group responsible for the report, explored the nature and potential demand for skills within the Renewable Energy, Residential Retrofit and Electric Vehicle sectors, and issued 30 recommendations to ensure these sectors can deliver on future targets.


The ‘Zero Carbon’ activities identified include 5GW of offshore and up to 8GW of onshore wind energy generation, 1.5-2.5GW of solar energy generation, the energy efficient retrofit of 500,000 homes to a minimum B2 BER, the installation of 600,000 heat pumps, and the target of having 840,000 electric cars, and 95,000 commercial vehicles, on Irish roads.


From a skills perspective, the report details how the transition to a zero-carbon economy will lead to changes in sectors and occupations, the phasing out of existing roles, but also demands for new skills and competencies, as well as employment opportunities, in the new Zero Carbon economy. It notes that “consistent demand” will be created across engineering, environmental, construction, and other sectors. Across construction, the skills shortage is particularly severe and several initiatives are underway by industry bodies such as Engineers Ireland , the Construction Industry Federation and others to address this. What the above report makes clear is that these industries must not simply look at attracting new talent to existing roles, but rather, we must understand what future roles will be and start training and retraining/upskilling in this direction. 


Speaking at the launch of the report, the Minister of State for Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth TD said:


"This report from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs underlines how while the decarbonisation of the economy will impact sectors and job roles, it also has the potential for significant employment creation in some of the key enabling activities for this transition. The report sets out a comprehensive evidence base and roadmap for facilitating the labour market shift into emerging Zero Carbon activities, including onshore and offshore wind, solar energy and residential retrofit. As well as the welcome commitment of the Department of Further and Higher Education to respond to these emerging and growing skills needs, my department will work with other stakeholders to promote the employment opportunities that will emerge across multiple occupations and sectors: engineering, environmental science, the humanities, law and finance, construction and transport."

The full report, ‘Skills for Zero Carbon – The Demand for Renewable Energy, Residential Retrofit and Electric Vehicle Deployment Skills to 2030’, is available on the website of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs and the website of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment:

Despite the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19, Point A hotel is now at the stage of practical completion.


The Sammin Engineering team has been working on the delivery of a €9.8 million hotel development at 17-19 Moore Lane, Dublin 1 under main contractor Sheahan & Collins Construction. 


This 4,053sq.m landscaped development consists of 141 bedrooms across seven-storeys (over basement, with a setback at sixth-floor level) and associated hotel facilities including reception area, restaurant and bar. The development also includes the installation of an internally illuminated fascia sign (2.57sq.m) and three projecting signs, one of which is internally illuminated (5.49sq.m). 


This was a particularly interesting project for the Sammin team, with the pandemic adding an extra layer of complexity and challenge for all delivery partners, who all worked together well to deliver this fine hotel for the Point A brand family. It is a wonderful new addition to hospitality facilities in Dublin and we have no doubt guests will enjoy the superb interiors and amenities for a long time to come. 





Developer: QMK Dublin Limited

Main Contractor: Sheahan & Collins Construction 

Architect: Morrison Design Limited

Planning Consultant: Tom Phillips and Associates

Project Manager: Virtus Contracts Management

Groundworks Contractor: Cafferkey Civils

Mechanical Contractor: F. Field Limited

Electrical Contractor: Sammin Engineering 

Assigned Certifier: Loscher Moran Consulting Engineers

Interior Designer: Leisure Concepts













The International Energy Research Centre, or IERC, at Tyndall National Institute in Cork, is leading a  new pilot scheme to encourage commercial building owners to retrofit their property with no upfront costs. 


According to the head of the IERC, the initiative will trial solutions that - if successful - could lead to investment in sustainable energy of up to €219 million. The centre has identified what it refers to as a “split-incentive problem”, which essentially means that the building owner is typically responsible for the costs associated with retrofitting the building, while the tenant is the one who benefits from the majority of the improvements, such as lower energy bills and a reduction in CO2 emissions. This lack of shared agenda is resulting in a significant level of untapped energy saving in the commercial rental sector. By changing the model of retrofitting commercial buildings to introduce a third-party who pays for upfront investment, the issue of split-incentive is overcome. This third-party recoups the initial investment through sharing the energy savings with the building owner. 


The scheme, SmartSPIN, is funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and pilot tests are now running across Spain, Greece and Ireland to see if removing upfront investment as a barrier to energy upgrades increases building enhancements.   


This innovative Energy-Efficiency-as-a-Service model is designed to address the reluctance of real estate owners to embrace new technologies and invest in the necessary building and building systems upgrades. The model aims to effectively remove barriers faced by commercial building owners when it comes to retrofitting by covering all costs related to the energy-saving initiatives, such as equipment, construction and ongoing maintenance. Energy cost savings achieved will be shared between the service provider and the building owner.


It is estimated that there are well in excess of 100,000 commercial buildings across the country that require immediate retrofitting and even minor upgrading works could lead to potentially significant energy savings.

According to the IERC:


“The large-scale adoption of our SmartSPIN concept in Ireland could result in energy savings of 1.8 TWh per year and CO2 reductions of over 5,000 kilotonnes per year in this sector. Furthermore, we forecast that the project could trigger investment in sustainable energy of up to €219m within five years following the end of the project.” 

Commercial building owners who would like to join the pilot programme to benefit from energy savings with no up-front retrofitting costs can contact the SmartSPIN Team at the International Energy Research Centre.




An article about buildings and EV charging infrastructure by Jean-Christoph Heyne (Global Head of Future Grids at Siemens Smart Infrastructure) on Smart Energy caught our attention this week. Buildings and EV charging infrastructure, of course these must go hand-in-hand for future developments, but what about for existing buildings? This is where the issue gets more complicated. 


Heyne poses some questions that, once asked, seem obvious. For instance, “Have you ever heard about options like charging your car at your company’s site, scheduled automatically with your work schedules? Or booking a charging slot together with your movie ticket?”. We are willing to bet that most people have never thought about automatically booking EV charging slots with their cinema ticket - don’t worry, neither have we - but, when you think about it, it just makes sense for the future of cinema trips. But where do we start? Work, university, shopping centres, hospitals, places of religious worship, restaurants?  


Looking ahead, public transport is clearly the Government’s preferred mode of transport for the people. In Ireland, our rural living and inadequate public transport networks mean that private vehicles are the reality for most people for the foreseeable future. In the long term, that means a significant number of EVs. And wherever electric cars are parked for a long period of time, charging options must become available and this will fall to private building owners and operators.  Will new infrastructure to facilitate changing points on-site be sufficient or do building operators need to think about on-site energy production solutions like rooftop photovoltaics?


The above-mentioned article shares four different use cases - company premises, multi-tenanted buildings, destination charging and complex infrastructures - together with the specific challenges unique to each. For Irish portfolio owners and managers, the workplace will be the most obvious place to start. For residential developers, EV charging points are already prescribed, however, the allocation may need to be increased, as well as consideration for energy resources. Many smart buildings now have tenant engagement apps that provide for a range of ancillary or concierge services, including desk booking and car parking - EV charging might just be the next iteration of this.  


According to Heyne, “technically, it is no problem to merge the controls of charging infrastructure with existing building management solutions”, however, he stresses the importance of understanding the existing infrastructure, the general requirements, and the needs of the building users before exploring the potential solutions.


The above-referenced article is well worth a read and you can access it in full here:




The National Development Plan was issued in recent days and it outlines the shared vision for Ireland over the next decade, with public investment of €165 billion committed over the period 2021-2030.


The plan sees unprecedented investment in public transport and up to 80 percent renewable energy, which is game-changing. It is objectively the largest and greenest strategy introduced by the Irish government in the history of the State.


Speaking about the launch of the NDP, Brian Leddin TD, Green Party Spokesperson for Transport, Climate Action and Environment stated:


“The time is now for significant investment towards greening our country and our economy. A €35 billion package in transport will transform how we travel within and across urban and rural communities in Ireland with a 2:1 ratio of investment in public transport projects over roads. This will provide more people with better access to cleaner, quieter modes of transport. This includes the roll out of Bus Connects in our five cities, improved commuter rail options between regional cities, and greener cleaner bus fleets rolled out across the country. In addition, there will be ongoing investment of €360m per annum in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure throughout the rest of this decade.
This plan commits to an unprecedented scaling up of renewable energy up to 80% of supply by 2030. This will help decarbonise Ireland’s electricity supply, reduce emissions across the economy, as well as significantly reduce Ireland’s dependence on fossil fuels from abroad. Critically, there will also be an accelerated shift from a take-make-waste model of consumption to a new Circular Economy strategy and a Circular Economy innovation grant scheme.” 

According to a government publication, a climate and environmental assessment of the NDP measures has been undertaken, along with an assessment of the alignment of the plan with the ideals of a green recovery. It aims to meet Ireland’s climate targets and to deliver a carbon neutral Ireland by 2050. 

The National Development Plan in full can be downloaded from the following State website: