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Term of the week

Retrofitting (energy retrofitting)

In relation to buildings, energy retrofitting is anything done to improve the energy efficiency of an existing building. This usually includes upgrading the roof and wall insulation to help keep the heat in, and installing renewable energy systems like heat pumps.

Examples: improving wall and roof insulation, and upgrading the heating and hot water system to systems using renewable energy like solar panels and heat pumps.

You can find more information about this on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website at

Related terms:

Heat pumps

Heat pumps are mainly electrical devices which convert available heat for use in homes, offices and other suitable buildings. As they use renewable heat sources, they are more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel heating. Different types of heat pump systems draw heat from different sources including:

  • air
  • water
  • ground.

NZEB ‘Nearly Zero Energy Buildings’

A building that has a very high energy performance. This means they need a very low amount of energy, fuelled mainly by renewable energy sources, in these houses or nearby. NZEB homes will be 70% more energy efficient and emit 70% less carbon dioxide than those built under previous building rules.

Example: New homes must be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) and typically have an “A2” Building Energy Rating (BER). These houses have high levels of insulation. They have mechanical ventilation systems and renewable heating systems or solar panels.

You can find out more information at

District Heating
This type of heating delivers centrally produced heat to buildings in a specific area. It uses an underground network of insulated pipes. It can reduce heating costs for customers and is better for the environment than using individual sources of fossil fuels like coal and oil for heating.

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