#BuildingLife series: Addressing the environmental impacts of buildings across their lifecycle
In this #BuildingLife Ambassador Spotlight Series, Passive House Plus is profiling leaders who have endorsed the Irish Green Building Council’s (IGBC) call to address the environmental impacts of buildings across their lifecycle.
This article was originally published in issue 46 of Passive House Plus magazine. Want immediate access to all back issues and exclusive extra content? Click here to subscribe for as little as €15, or click here to receive the next issue free of charge
In this issue, Pat Crean, CEO of the Marlet Property Group tells us more about his work and why he is supporting the #BuildingLife Campaign.
Why did you choose to become a #BuildingLife ambassador?
Pat Crean: Marlet is a large-scale residential developer, predominantly operating in Dublin city, and what we do impacts established communities. We aim to build developments that, in addition to being healthy, are also sustainable places for our tenants to live. As a result of the positive work by bodies such as the IGBC, there is now a growing appreciation and understanding of the critical importance of reducing the embodied carbon of the buildings we construct and that they should also perform in carbon terms as one would expect an A-rated building to perform.
What are you hoping to achieve with the #BuildingLife campaign?
PC: For Marlet, much of our focus is on reducing scope 3 category greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions result from activities in assets we own and manage. We are a developer of a number of build to rent schemes and this includes the embodied carbon of the buildings we construct, as well as the operational emissions of the buildings. The #BuildingLife campaign is the first programme that recognises this challenge. It is encouraging the industry, suppliers and regulatory bodies to acknowledge and address where carbon starts and ends when it comes to construction and building performance. The leadership that the IGBC has shown in working with people across the industry to develop the Building a Zero Carbon Ireland roadmap to decarbonise Ireland’s construction and built environment sector has resulted in a massive change in the sector. The industry is now transitioning to a point where we are beginning to measure the impacts of buildings, not just during operation but the whole process of how they come into being and this is positive.
Can you explain a few ways in which you are working towards a sustainable built environment?
PC: In all of our contracts, we have a requirement for a minimum number of products with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to be met. If we are to progress carbon reduction in construction, EPDs for all products must be brought on-stream. One of the biggest challenges in preparing carbon figures during assessments is the huge level of approximation we still carry out. We need better data to make more specific, informed choices on what products we are using.
Through work with Bord na Móna, we introduced waste compactors at our St Clare’s development, and this has reduced the number of waste collection journeys required by our waste disposal contractor. Marlet is also moving towards taking a biodiversity net-gain approach on our schemes, even bringing biodiversity into our buildings. This is great for the environment and for the people who live and work in these buildings. We measure the biodiversity of a site at the very beginning of a project before design, and we then design in added diversity, so we not only maintain what is there but add to it. This is new but is now being incorporated into all of our early scheme designs.
#BuildingLife is a project led in Ireland by the Irish Green Building Council. The initiative aims to achieve the mix of private sector action and public policy necessary to tackle the whole-life impact of buildings. Learn more and endorse the Building a Zero Carbon Ireland Roadmap at www.igbc.ie/building-a-zero-carbon-ireland/.