Business leaders support Dún Laoghaire Rathdown passive house plan
John Fahy

Business leaders support Dún Laoghaire Rathdown passive house plan

Leading businesses in the building materials sector — including semi-state timber company Coillte and insulation manufacturer Kingspan — have declared their support for plans by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to make the passive house standard mandatory for new buildings.

The proposal, contained in the draft of the council’s development plan for 2016 to 2021, will be voted on by councillors later this year. Dublin City Council has included a similar proposal in its latest draft development plan.

Coillte said: “As a statement of intent in relation to delivering low carbon footprint buildings which are sustainable, this approach is to be welcomed.” The company manufacturers a range of timber-frame building products through its Coillte Panel Products division. 

Meanwhile Paul Butler, senior commercialisation specialist at Enterprise Ireland, stated: “This is a tremendous initiative by the council… Practitioners of this build standard have significant potential given the right business model to export this expertise all over the world.”

Leading timber frame manufacturer Cygnum also issued support for the policy, saying: “A movement to passive house in Ireland would really enhance Ireland’s reputation as a source of low energy building products and expertise and be of enormous benefit in export markets to companies like ours.”

Kingspan Insulation commercial director Jim Loughran said: “The initiative shown by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown and Dublin City Council in proposing to make the passive house standard mandatory - along with other equivalent approaches - is to be applauded. Passive house is a world-leading quality-assured standard for low energy, healthy, comfortable buildings. This initiative will not only help ensure that house buyers can have real confidence that they're buying quality. It will help Ireland to develop a reputation as a world-leader on sustainable building.”

A statement from Munster Joinery said: "We applaud the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council intention to promote low carbon development and passive housing through their new county development plan. This shows exemplary forethought and leadership.”

The other companies who have offered statements of support to Passive House Plus so far are Ecological Building Systems, Isocell, Airpacks and Highway Wholesalers. All the statements are printed in full below, and they emphasise that these businesses see the passive house standard as a driver for innovation, new product development and employment. They also stress that companies in sector do not believe it is more expensive to build to the passive house standard.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has come under pressure to eliminate the passive house clause from its draft development plan after objections from the government. Earlier this year, environment minister Alan Kelly and housing minister Paudie Coffey wrote a letter to all local authorities in the Dublin region warning them not to implement stricter building standards locally. The Construction Industry Federation and Nama have also objected to the local authority’s plans.

Readers of Passive House Plus can register their support for the plan by signing our petition. Passive House Plus will update this story as more statements are received.

Full statements

Coillte:

As a European leader of sustainable and innovative building products, Coillte is pleased to support Dún Laoghaire Rathdown’s proposal that all new buildings should be built to the passive house standard from 2016 onwards. As a statement of intent in relation to delivering low carbon footprint buildings which are sustainable, this approach is to be welcomed.

“Coillte Panel Products (CPP), who are founding members of the Passive House Association of Ireland, have recently developed two ground-breaking new products designed specifically for passive house and low energy timber frame buildings. The company is playing its part in promoting Ireland’s growing stature as a global hub for R&D and commercialisation of energy efficient building solutions. These innovative new wood-based panel products offer practical, cost-effective energy efficiency solutions in buildings, in response to the global shift towards energy efficient buildings. Currently in commercialisation stage, these new products are being very well received by the European passive house community, including policy makers, specifiers, housing manufacturers and developers.

“A €59 million development at Coillte’s SmartPly’s OSB manufacturing facility in Waterford — including a state of the art continuous press and finishing line as well as a new innovation centre — will enable the company to produce more higher value and innovative products that meet the demands created by market drivers such as the rapid emergence of the passive house standard as a recommended minimum energy efficiency standard to which all new buildings should be built. The investment will secure the plant as one of the region’s most important export industries and support a number of high skilled research and development positions. The expansion of the plant is also expected to create additional construction jobs across 2015 and 2016.”

Munster Joinery:

"We applaud the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council intention to promote low carbon development and passive housing through their new county development plan. This shows exemplary forethought and leadership. In recent years we have developed many energy excellent products and we will welcome the opportunity to tender to have these showcased on DLRCC projects."

Cygnum:

“Established in 1997 and based in Cork, Cygnum have a capacity to produce 2,500 passive housing units per annum with scope to more than double this. We have been exporting to the UK since 2007 and began building to the passive house standard there in 2011. As the market for passive house buildings increased we have focused on value engineering our product to compete with other forms of construction. We have significantly reduced our costs. We have supplied schools, a university building, an archive centre and are currently working on over two hundred residential units in East Anglia, all of which have been competitively priced. If the DLR implements a passive house policy it will cause others in the residential housing supply chain to do likewise and bring more value to the market.

“Since the housing crash, our business has recognised the importance of looking at opportunities abroad to grow our business. A movement to passive house in Ireland would really enhance Ireland’s reputation as a source of low energy building products and expertise and be of enormous benefit in export markets to companies like ours.”

Ecological Building Systems:

“By referencing passive house, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown can pioneer a truly low energy building concept which has been tried and tested in practically every climate throughout the world. In our experience over the last 15 years in Ireland passive house constructions not only deliver in terms of performance, but also in terms of cost, from construction to running costs. It is our wish that once this worthwhile policy in hopefully passed, it will be duplicated in other regions.”

Isocell Ltd:

Over the years Isocell Ltd has been involved in many passive structures throughout Ireland and further afield. We have first-hand experience of the considerable benefits in regards to comfort and ongoing cost savings to end users. Isocell would encourage the adoption of [the] passive standard not only in the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown development plan but in all development plans throughout Ireland. It’s not rocket science. It’s an investment in the future that can be achieved at little cost, [with] clever design and good quality workmanship, something everyone should aspire to be part of.”

Paul Butler, senior commercialisation specialist, Enterprise Ireland:

“This is a tremendous initiative by the council that will provide opportunity for those very developers that have adopted the best of building standards. Passive house is well respected in that [it] has internationalised through acceptance of its rigorous build standards. Practitioners of this build standard have significant potential given the right business model to export this expertise all over the world. I am delighted that the council have taken this initiative and pushed the standard which will benefit full cycle cost of ownership, our energy imports and positively reduce our heating related carbon emissions.”

Airpacks Ltd (manufacturers of Kore Insulation):

“As an indigenous manufacturing company based in Cavan, we manufacture expanded polystyrene products for use in the construction of buildings. A significant and growing part of our organisation over the past number of years is the passive house market in Ireland and the UK. Our products have been designed to satisfy the requirements of the passive house and our solutions are proving popular amongst both self-builders and construction professionals in the industry.

“The passive house policy outlined in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown's draft county development plan is an exciting development for our organisation and one we think would significantly impact our business moving forward. We can already see the number of people in our industry interested in passive design and opting to design and build passive houses. Exemplary leadership such as that shown by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown will further legitimatise the passive house standard, as industry professionals will see the commitment to this standard from local government.

“The passive house standard, in our opinion, offers the industry standards both in terms of product and installation quality. We have seen and can prove that the cost of building a passive house does not cost more than building to the current TDG Part L. In summary, we welcome the draft development plan by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and we look forward to extending our offering to meet the needs of Ireland’s passive house market.”

Highway Wholesalers Ltd:

“Highway Wholesalers Ltd is 100% supportive of the proposal to make the passive house standard mandatory for all new buildings in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown. I hope this is incorporated into the county development plan and this acts as a catalyst for a countrywide move to passive house standard for all new buildings.”

 

Last modified on Saturday, 17 October 2015 23:42

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