More people get on their bikes as cycle trips in capital double
THE number of trips made by bicycle in the capital has almost doubled over a five-year period, new research shows.
In 2006, some 10 million journeys a year were made but the number had jumped 82pc to 18 million by 2011 as people made the switch to the low-cost, greener form of transport.
It means that almost 4pc of all trips were made by bicycle, compared with 2.2pc in 2006, which suggests the city is on track to reach a national target to have 10pc of all journeys made by bike by 2020.
Researchers from the Dublin energy agency, CODEMA, said the success of the Dublin Bikes scheme, coupled with the cycle-to-work tax break for commuters and introduction of new cycle paths, helped to grow numbers.
"The increase in people walking and cycling in the city meant that 12pc of all passenger kilometres travelled used no fuel whatsoever and created zero carbon emissions," spokeswoman Donna Gartland said.
"However, the number of private car journeys is still a problem area and we need to do all we can to discourage their use within the city."
But data collated for the Dublin City Sustainable Action Plan also shows the challenge facing city planners in improving the energy efficiency of homes.
While there has been a major reduction in the city's energy consumption because of the recession - it's down 36pc over the period studied - the vast bulk of homes have poor energy ratings, meaning they are more expensive to power and heat.
Ratings for 60,000 homes were analysed and the results applied to all houses in the city.
It found that the majority of dwellings (70pc) had a Building Energy Rating (BER) of D1 or lower. Terraced housing fared the worst, with 76pc achieving a D1 rating or lower. Some 14pc of homes had a G rating.
"The majority of housing is pre-1970 and terraced houses are the oldest housing type in the city," Ms Gartland said. "These properties require a huge amount of energy to heat so this needs to be a key area to focus on for future energy-saving initiatives."
The most efficient homes are apartment blocks, which despite representing one in three properties in the city, only consume 21pc of energy. This is because most were built in recent years and to higher standards.
The largest change in energy consumption was in the commercial sector, which accounts for 27pc of all consumption today, compared with 33pc in 2006.
The vast bulk of energy (75pc) in the city is sourced from natural gas. Overall, the residential sector saw a 23pc drop in energy consumption over the five years.