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Buncrana heating row reaches Seanad 01.02.08

THE Office of Public Works' decision to heat Buncrana's new decentralised offices exclusively with oil reached the floor of the Seanad this week.
Senator Pearse Doherty demanded to know from Minister for State with responsibility for the OPW, Noel Ahern how he could continue supporting the OPWs Energy Awareness Campaign in light of the Buncrana decision.
How can the Minster in one breath promote energy efficiency whilst in another allow a brand new Government building to be heated exclusively by oil?" asked the Sinn Fin senator.
If the OPW is serious about reducing its carbon emissions by 15% across 250 State buildings over an 18 month period, surely a biomass burner or other environmental heating systems rather than oil should be incorporated into any new developments."
He said it was "indefensible" for the OPW to say alternative options were examined for the Buncrana site but for practical reasons an oil fired system was deemed best.
"If the OPW cannot include such a system in a brand new building how can we have faith in them converting 20 large State buildings from oil to biomass as promised by the Minister today? I suspect this is yet another Government broken promise to be realised in the future."
When the row erupted in recent weeks, the OPW told InishowenNews.com that the Buncrana building was "sustainable...when all its aspects are taken as a whole". It said the building was naturally ventilated so there would be no energy required for mechanical air conditioning while there was also an atrium allowing for the best use of natural light.
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