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IRI June 27, 2011 0 Comments

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan T.D., has published a draft National Action Plan on Green Public Procurement for public consultation.

The Minister said that the Action Plan, when it is finalised later this year, will apply to all personnel involved in procurement across the Public Sector. It will also be of major interest to their partners in the business community, as well as to other stakeholders in the academic community, NGOs, and other parts of civil society.

Minister Hogan said that in 2010, public procurement in Ireland amounted to €15 billion.

“This highlights the key role that Government Departments, State Agencies and public authorities play in the procurement of infrastructure, goods and services. It clearly illustrates the leadership role that these bodies can play in promoting green procurement, as we put Ireland on the path to a low-carbon, competitive and successful economy. GPP will be a key element in driving this change and this Action Plan, once finalised, will provide the framework the development of GPP in a consistent, progressive and coherent fashion.”

It is intended that this Action Plan will:

  1. highlight existing best-practice procurement as an example to procurers of similar products and services across the public sector;
  2. outline what further improvements could be made that would boost the percentage of GPP in Ireland to the most ambitious level possible.

The draft Action Plan proposes seven priority product groups for which the public sector should seek to “green” their tendering processes on a national basis. These seven product groups are:

  1. Construction
  2. Energy
  3. Food and catering services
  4. Transport
  5. Cleaning products and services
  6. Paper
  7. Uniforms and other textiles

Chapter 7 of the document deals with Energy and focuses on the “Exemplary role of the Public Sector”

“This Action Plan provides a framework that will allow the Irish public sector to play a consistent and exemplary GPP role across its entire procurement profile. This can be an important element in driving the energy efficiency agenda in the wider context of climate change and energy policy. In terms of energy efficiency, such an exemplary procurement role is legally mandated. That is to say, under the European Communities (Energy End-use Efficiency and Energy Services) Regulations 2009 public bodies are required to fulfil an exemplary procurement role. Public bodies are accordingly required to purchase products that are leaders in their class in respect of energy efficiency.

Specifically, the European Union (Energy Efficient Public Procurement) Regulations 2011 obliges public bodies to only purchase equipment and electric vehicles from the Triple E register. This register is a benchmark list of products that meet a minimum set of stringent energy efficiency criteria. They are generally of a “best in class” energy efficiency standard. Typically, they are of higher quality, have longer operational lifetimes, and can perform 10%-20% better from an energy perspective, when compared to standard alternatives. Procuring against the register provides organisations with the assurance that they are purchasing a product of very high efficiency, with consequent environmental savings and enhanced value for money. As an example, replacing a conventional motor with a high-efficiency alternative from the register can deliver a payback in as little as one year.”

The draft action plan sets out the following key actions for “the energy sector”:

  • All public bodies should use National Procurement Service framework contracts for procuring energy supplies.
  • All public bodies should consider using Energy Performance Contracting or similar models when procuring energy efficiency upgrades, retrofits etc.
  • The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) will develop new Triple E categories in line with the objectives of the recast Eco-Design for Energy-Related Products Directive (2009/125/EC)
  • When procuring equipment or vehicles from relevant product categories, public bodies shall only procure products that are listed on the Triple E register, or which satisfy the published SEAI energy efficiency criteria for the equipment or vehicle concerned.
  • Public bodies shall specify this requirement in all procurement documentation.
  • All public bodies will only purchase (or lease) buildings with a Building Energy Rating (BER) of B3 or better
  • All public bodies procuring capital projects are required to seek one-to-one advice from SEAI early in the project.
  • All public bodies are required to integrate Energy Efficient Design into the project design.
  • All public bodies are required to procure electric and electronic goods from WEEE Register Society registered producers.

The draft Action Plan is now available for public consultation and may be downloaded on the webpages of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government: