Belfast conference to tackle fuel poverty through building methods
A new property conference due to be held in Belfast on Friday will challenge how ultra-low energy housing can tackle fuel poverty.
The first Passive House Association of Ireland (PHAI) Conference, to held in the city's Titanic Hotel, has been developed to address how the industry in Northern Ireland needs to move forward and embrace new ways of confronting fuel poverty.
Supported by the Royal Society of Ulster Architects and Kingspan Insulation, the event will showcase the latest research and development in the field and feature a number of expert discussions that will include the director of the Fuel Poverty Coalition NI and Green Party leader Claire Bailey.
The conference keynote speaker will be the housing development manager for Exeter City Council, Emma Osmundsen, who will be discussing her council's policy and successes in social housing by implementing low energy, healthy and climate resilient buildings.
Paul McAlister, chairman of the PHAI, said: "This is a discussion which is long overdue and we are delighted with the positive response from across the political and civic spectrum to our first ever conference tackling this issue.
"Fuel poverty affects thousands of households in Northern Ireland and decisive action is needed.
"The main issue is that there is a lack of understanding of the benefits of low energy housing and a perception that it is more costly to implement this approach; which is not correct.
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"We believe that this conference marks an important first step in addressing the problem and we hope that it will motivate our business and community leaders to embrace and be more open to recognising the potential of ultra-low energy housing."
The 2016 Northern Ireland House Condition survey highlighted that 22% of households in the province were living in fuel poverty.
The PHAI aims to increase awareness of the opportunities and benefits of low energy design based on 'Passive House principles' with an energy demand 90% lower than most buildings.