Environmental management

An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a management tool that public sector bodies can use to help it manage the environmental aspects of its operation. In Ireland there are two EMS standards in operation:

  • ISO 14001;

  • EMAS.

EMS in Ireland is certified by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and more information can be found on their website. EMS does not necessarily make you more environmentally friendly, but it does provide you with a system within which improvements can more easily be planned and implemented.


In order to achieve the goal of 33% energy savings across the public sector, the government has devised the following key programmes, initiatives and goals:

  • Energy Performance Building Directive EPBD – A key requirement of the EPBD is display of a Building Energy Rating (BER) for all new public service buildings over 1000mē from July 2008. The directive was applied to large existing public buildings from Jan 2009. It will demonstrate improvements in energy efficiency and conservation over time and will lead to transparency of energy performance.

  • Lighting CFL light bulbs were put in place in public sector buildings by end of 2007 to replace old incandescent light bulbs.

  • A programme to ensure that street lighting and traffic lighting are energy efficient will be developed by DECLG and local authorities.

  • Public sector organisation emissions targets Every public service organisation is required to adopt emissions targets and to benchmark and report on their progress in annual reports.

  • Offsetting official air travel – The Government put in place an offsetting scheme for business flights taken by ministers and civil servants.

  • A policy of progressive biomass installation in schools has now progressed. Additionally, the Department of Education and Science, together with SEAI, have developed generic, low-energy school building designs.

  • The OPW, as the property manager for public buildings, has developed a multi-tiered strategy to reduce energy consumption and therefore greenhouse gases through the following measures;

  1. Heating Fuel Conversion Programme – This programme aims to convert heating systems in about 20 large public buildings from oil or gas burners to biomass burners.

  2. Energy Awareness Campaigns –  A pilot staff energy awareness campaign has been launched in 20 OPW buildings with a target to reduce energy consumption by 10%.

  3. Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings –  In its new buildings, the OPW has specified higher energy standards in building design and sustainable construction and is promoting the greater use of bio-energy.


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