The Government’s National Energy Efficiency Plan, laying down “clear and unambiguous targets” for all sectors of the economy is to be published shortly, according to Minister for the Environment John Gormley. Speaking last night at the presentation of the Irish Architecture Awards 2009, he said the new targets would apply to the public service, residential, commercial and industrial sectors, transport providers and energy suppliers. The Minister noted that minimum energy performance standards for all homes covered by Part L of the building regulations become fully effective from next Wednesday. These would result in a 40 per cent improvement on the previous (2005) standards. “A framework for achieving the ultimate goal of a carbon neutral building standard for dwellings by 2013 is nearing completion and will be available for consultation with industry and the wider public in the near future,” he said. He added “green economy thinking is no hollow aspiration”, but was already happening as a result of Government interventions. For example, he noted that 1,400 small construction firms had registered for Sustainable Energy Ireland’s Greener Homes scheme.