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Newstalk host Ciara Kelly says EU plans for zero emission buildings is ‘unaffordable’

"Can you just tell me one thing, and it's a genuine question, how me retrofitting my house saves the planet?"

Dr Ciara Kelly

Níall FeiritearSunday World

As MEP’s in Brussels vote later today on a directive which will standardize building energy emissions across Europe by 2030, Newstalk Breakfast host, Ciara Kelly, has highlighted how appropriate financing is essential if the EU’s plans are to succeed.

Among the legislation being voted on this afternoon is that the heating of new buildings must result in zero emissions by the end of 2028. On top of that, the energy rating of existing residential buildings must meet a minimum E rating by 2030.

It is unclear who will pay for the vast amount of insulating that will have to take place right across the bloc.

"I just don't know how people are expected to bring old houses up to modern standards without bankrupting themselves?” Ms Kelly asked.

If approved, negotiations to agree on the final text of a directive will begin between the parliament, EU governments and the European Commission.

Flexibility regarding the implementation of these changes and others will be granted to member states ‘in certain circumstances’.

Ms Kelly highlighted the practical impact the EU’s plans will have on people who live in older houses.

“I live in an old house - it was built in 1882 - it's a nice-looking house but jaysus it's freezing. I don't turn on my heat 24/7 because you can't afford to heat it.

"What they're saying is from 2030 I'm going to have to improve its rating - and I don't know how I'm going to do that.

"If I'm going to wrap it around, or if I'm going to put in double-glazing, we're talking tens and tens of thousands,” she said.

Another valid point the popular presenter asked related to people’s individual freedom to live how they deem appropriate for their situation.

"It’s great if the Government is going to give me the money to do it, I'm there for that.

"I'd love to live in a warm house as well - but if they're not going to do it, I've no idea how I would come up with the cash. How does me retrofitting my house save the planet?"

"I don't turn on my heating, I just go cold; I put on jumpers and sleeves. I put it on for about an hour a day, the same as everybody else, but my house is colder. I don't think I could turn on my heat any less," Ms Kelly added.

One MEP candidate, Peter Agius, has already warned that the new directive could cause the price of a three bedroom apartment to rise by as much as €36,000 in Malta alone, a country with an average temperature of 23 degrees all year round.

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