CAP A3 Baselines: Mitigation and Adaptation

Appendix 3 Baselines: Mitigation and Adaptation


Note to the Reader

The baselines in this appendix were produced using available data at the time of the plan's drafting. It is expected that over the lifetime of this plan new research and data will emerge. As such the actions in this plan will be revised accordingly.

The baselines were produced by third parties for Dublin City Council. Full reports are available on request.

DCC is responsible for the energy use and emissions from its buildings and facilities, its public lighting, and from its vehicle fleet. This section highlights DCC’s current energy use and the progress DCC has made in energy efficiency, using the most recently available data. The information from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) Monitoring and Reporting (M&R) database shows that DCC consumed a total of nearly 111 gigawatt hours (GWh) of final energy consumption in 2021, which would represent 161 GWh of primary energy (Figure 1). [1]

Table 2 below highlights the energy efficiency improvement DCC has achieved to date:

Energy Efficiency Improvements from DCC

Energy efficiency improvement in 2008 vs 2021

  • 40.90%

Table 2 - DCC's Energy Efficiency Improvements

As shown in Figure 1 In 2021, DCC’s Public Lighting was the highest energy consumer, accounting for 29% (46.6GWh) of the Council’s overall primary energy consumption or Total Primary Energy Requirement (TPER). Offices and Depots accounted for 19% (30.6GWh). Vehicles fuels, Fire station, Libraries and Galleries and others accounted for 22% (36.4GWh) of the total energy use. Housing accounted for 19% (30.3GWh) and the remaining energy consumers which mostly consist of sports facilities accounted for 11% (17.1GWh) of the total energy use.

Figure 1 - DCC Significant Energy Users TPER in 2021 (Primary Energy)

DCC Significant energy users tper in 2021

DCC’s Emissions – Current Status

Among the Council’s total emissions of 30,427 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (tCO2) in 2021, buildings and facilities were the highest contributors, accounting for 59.4% of total emissions. This was followed by public lighting and the municipal fleet, each contributing 28.1% and 9.1% to the Council’s emissions, respectively.

Largest Emitters

Public Lighting

Buildings and Facilities

Municipal Fleet


Proportion of the emissions by energy source





Table 3 - Main sources of emissions in DCC in 2021

In 2021, 54% of the Council’s emissions came from electricity; this was mainly due to the large amount of electricity used in public lighting (half of total electricity consumption) and in the Council’s buildings and facilities. The use of natural gas was the second highest contributor of emissions at 35%. Most of this gas was used for space heating in Council buildings and facilities. The use of diesel, which made up most of the energy used for the vehicle fleet, contributed 8.9% to the total emissions.



Natural Gas



Proportion of the emissions by energy source





Table 4 - Proportion of emissions for each energy source in DCC 2021

Gap to Target

The gap-to-target model (GTT model) is a spreadsheet model for use by public bodies to evaluate their energy efficiency performance and energy-related GHG emissions over time, in accordance with SEAI’s public sector energy monitoring and reporting framework for the period to 2030. 

The gap-to-target analysis highlights the future emissions reductions required for DCC to meet its 2030 targets. The 2022 gap-to-target for thermal and transport emissions is estimated at 48%. This means in order to meet its 51% reduction target in thermal (heating and transport) related GHG emissions, between 2022 and 2030, DCC must reduce its non-electricity related emissions by a further 48% compared to the 2018 baseline.[2]

Overall GHG emissions have reduced by 21% since the 2018 baseline, this is mainly due to reduction from electricity sources. Non-electricity related emissions have reduced by 3% since the baseline was established. 

As seen in Figure 2 below, based on successful completion of the decarbonisation projects identified in DCC’s project pipeline, significant progress is possible.

total ghg target

Figure 2 - Gap-to-Target Tool, Total DCC Emissions Targets for 2030 and Current Emissions


Total Emissions of Dublin City Council Area

Ireland has committed to reduce its emissions by a minimum of 51% by the year 2030. The 2030 target corresponds to a 51% reduction from 2018 figures, as defined by the Programme for Government[3], which states that Ireland is ‘committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2018 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade)’. The significance of the Dublin region in the Irish economy means that it is imperative to plan and commit to energy saving and CO2 reductions at a local and regional level, in order to meet national level targets.

It is particularly important for urban regions to focus on their reduction in emissions, as more than 70% of global emissions are caused by activities in urban areas, such as manufacturing, transportation and energy demand. Carbon sinks tend to be limited in cities, given the number of built-up areas, and the limited number of natural ecosystems, which have the ability to absorb CO2.

The overall emissions for the Dublin city Council area have been calculated for the baseline year of 2018. This ‘Baseline Emissions Inventory’ (BEI) uses data from the 2016 census, and additional data collected as part of the Dublin Region Energy Masterplan (DREM) project, to make an estimation of the BEI for the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Area for 2018. Total emissions are estimated to be 2,183,270 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) (Figure 3).[4]

total ghg emissions

Figure 3 - Total GHG Emissions for Dublin City per Sector

Dublin City Council’s Social Housing

Dublin City Council is responsible for the allocation, maintenance, and refurbishment of its social housing stock, but not for the day-to-day energy use of its tenants. Nevertheless, the Council can proactively address these emissions by implementing energy efficiency enhancements. To gather the most up-to-date insights into DCC's social housing, the Council's social housing data and reports from 2022, along with the Building Energy Rating (BER) Research Tool provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), serve as the primary sources. The BER serves as a certification indicating the energy efficiency level of a property, with an 'A1' rating signifying the highest energy efficiency and a 'G' rating representing the lowest level of efficiency.

Distribution of BER by Dwelling Type for Total Housing Stock

 Figure 4: Distribution of BER by Dwelling Type for Total Housing Stock

The Distribution of BER by Dwelling Type for Total Housing Stock shows the breakdown of properties across different energy efficiency categories for four types of dwellings: Detached, Semi-Detached, Terraced, and Apartments.

 Building Energy Ratings for all the Dublin City Social Housing Stock in 2009, 2016 and 2022

Figure 5: Building Energy Ratings for all the Dublin City Social Housing Stock in 2009, 2016 and 2022

The data reveals a positive trend in the energy efficiency of buildings in Dublin City. From 2009 to 2022, there has been a significant decrease in lower-rated BERs, with a reduction of 72.1% for ratings D1, D2, E1, E2, F, and G. Additionally, there has been a significant increase in higher-rated BERs, specifically A1, A2, A3, B1, and B2 categories. Moderate efficiency ratings (C1, C2, and C3) remain dominant, representing 47.8% of buildings in 2022.

Share of Total Emissions from Social Housing by Fuel Type

Figure 6: Share of Total Emissions from Social Housing by Fuel Type

The data reveals that social housing in DCC contributes with 114,574 tonnes of CO2 emissions, where natural gas alone accounts for 83% of CO2 emissions, electricity 16%, Liquid gas with 0.1%, Heating oil with 1% and other Fossil fuel usage with 0.2 %.

Total Dublin City Emissions

This Baseline Emissions Inventory uses data from the 2016 census, and additional data collected as part of the Dublin Region Energy Masterplan (DREM) project released in 2021, to make an estimation of the baseline emissions for the Dublin City area for 2018. Total emissions are estimated to be 2,617,676 tonnes of CO2 equivalent for the 2018 baseline.

The sectors that produced the most emissions were the residential (excluding social housing), commercial and transport sectors, accounting for 21.8%, 39.4%, and 30.8% of the total emissions, respectively. Dublin City Council’s own emissions accounted for 1.5% of this total, with social housing contributing another 4.4%. This highlights the need for collaboration and action from all stakeholders to tackle the remaining 94.1% of emissions from public and private sector sources in Dublin City.

Total GHG Emissions for Dublin City per Sector

Figure 7: Total GHG Emissions for Dublin City per Sector



Adapting to Climate Change

Making Dublin resilient to climate change is a target the CAP, this calls for adapting the city and residents for a future where we live with the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, extreme temperatures, and extreme weather events, that are locked in and are prepared for the unknown impacts.

Uncertainty adds to the challenge of implementing actions that contribute to the city’s resilience. Despite this DCC has made progress in the implementation of actions that contribute to our overall resilience, particularly in the use of nature-based solutions to respond to flood risk in the city. However, we have not adequately responded to other known climate risks, such as heat.

Further, the long-term challenge is ensuring that the adaptation actions we implement are just.   The implementation of city development plan is vital to making the city and residents resilient to climate change. The decisions we make about land-use and land-use change will determine our adaptive capacity. The location of housing, employment determines our vulnerability and exposure to climate risk.

We need to map our hazards, risks and vulnerability and use this to inform our decisions and investments. Critically this needs to be done regularly, as during the time that this plan has been written, Ireland has experienced the driest June on record, followed by the wettest July and Storm Betty.  The last three months demonstrates that climate change is not only sudden events, but slower onset events with cascading and compounding impacts.

The Climate Change Risk Assessment that has been updated in the process of developing this plan, highlights that the frequency and intensity of events will increase in future, but that there are still unknowns.  


Key Results and Findings

As illustrated in the climate risk matrix on the right, projections indicate that the level of risk associated with some hazards (e.g., river and pluvial flooding, heatwaves and droughts) will increase while the level of risk will remain the same for others (e.g., severe windstorms and groundwater flooding). Risks associated with some hazards are expected to decrease due to projected reductions in hazard frequency, such as cold spells and heavy snowfalls.

• Pluvial flooding poses a relatively high risk for Dublin City and occurs on frequent basis with a moderate impact associated with the inundation of assets and road infrastructure. The risks associated with pluvial flooding are projected to increase in the future as a result of projected increases in the frequency of hazard events and also due to an increase in the areas, assets and populations exposed to these hazards.

• River flooding and coastal flooding occurs less often, but with a greater overall impact on Dublin City primarily due to direct and substantial damage to assets and infrastructure, disruption of transport networks and mobilisation of pollutants with detrimental impacts on bathing water areas. The risks associated with existing hazards such as river and coastal flooding are projected to increase in the future.

• Severe windstorms are currently experienced on a very frequent basis across Dublin city and result in wide-ranging impacts, including damages to power and communication infrastructure and disruption to transport networks. Projections indicate no significant change to this frequency.

• Dublin City experienced both a heatwave and drought in 2018, while a heatwave was also recorded in 2022. The most notable and costly impacts relate to the management of facilities at key recreational areas, and increased use of mechanical cooling. Projected increases in the frequency of heatwaves and drought conditions will mean that events currently experienced on an infrequent basis will become more frequent.

• Recent experiences of cold spells and heavy snowfall events in 2018 (e.g. Storm Emma) and 2022, demonstrated the wide range of impacts for Dublin City. These included, amongst others, road closures, disruption to public transport, power outages, an increase in the frequency of trips and falls, and impacts on water resources. Projected increases in average temperature and decreases in the frequency of snowfall indicate a decrease in the frequency of cold spells, heavy snowfall, and their associated impacts.

• Groundwater flooding is currently experienced rarely in Dublin City and has limited impacts such as damages to roads and transport disruption. Groundwater flooding is also thought to be unchanged in the future.

current to future risk matrix

Limitations and Key Recommendations:

This report has been developed on the basis of the most-up-to-date climate projection data available for Ireland at the time of writing. This data focuses on changes in average climatic conditions for a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5). Where risks have been identified as part of this initial qualitative CCRA, further more detailed assessment should be undertaken as part of semi-quantitative and/or quantitative site specific CCRAs which employ the full range of projected changes in climate parameters (including extremes) and more up-to-date climate projection information where available.

The CCRA report focuses on the direct risks posed by climate change for Dublin City and the implications of these for Dublin City Council. It is important to note that climate change will also pose indirect risks for Dublin City as a result of changes in climate conditions at international and global scales. These include amongst others forced migration of populations, increase in vector-borne disease and disruption of supply chains. 

highlights of observed climate change

seasonal mean temperature

climate hazards profile

[1] Primary energy is raw unprocessed inputs put into the energy system. Once this energy arrives to the user after production, distribution and transmission losses, it is considered Final Energy.

[2] Annual Dublin City Council emissions were estimated to be 38,326 tCOfor the 2018 GHG emissions baseline from the SEAI M&R system. 

[4] ‘CO2e’ refers to the quantification of multiple GHGs in an equivalent amount of CO2. If the quantity of GHGs other than COis significant for a specific sector, then they are converted to CO2e. If they are insignificant, then only CO2 is considered. In mathematical terms , CO= CO2e.

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