Every eurozone government has debt problems and is cutting its spending, Richard Douthwaite says. Defaults and a prolonged depression are inevitable unless countries inject money into their economies in an unconventional way. A prosperous low-carbon economy would be the result
Due to the ill-considered productivity of the house building industry towards the tail end of the economic boom, Ireland is now saddled with hundreds of thousands of vacant homes in various states of completion. Structural engineer Sadhbh Ní Hógáin, currently writing her thesis for a masters architectural degree in advanced environmental and energy studies at the Centre for Alternative Technology, looks at the options Ireland has to address the problem.
Local authorities upgraded hundreds of houses last year under a €20m government scheme, and the Department of Environment has doubled funding for 2010. With local energy agencies playing a key role on the ground, the programme offers vital lessons for keeping quality high in energy retrofit schemes. Words: Lenny Antonelli
An experienced timber framer with an eye for detail, Tim O'Donovan set about building a low energy stick-built home in the Cork countryside and achieved a staggering level of airtightness. Words: Lenny Antonelli
Completed in December 2009, Graham Group’s new headquarters reveal the construction and asset management company’s commitment to green building. The project’s sustainability adviser, Chris Croly of BDP describes an innovative design that pushes the boundaries of natural ventilation and takes a thoughtful approach to materials and buildings services to ensure a minimal environmental impact.
A sustainable building must address more than energy, carbon or materials, argues Irish born architect Stephen Roe of up-and-coming London architects Roewu – it must respond to its environment. Not only does Roe’s design for the All Weather House achieve that, it boasts green materials, renewable heating and generous insulation too.
Since establishing UCD’s Energy Research Group in 1975, the career of Professor J Owen Lewis has taken in the role of principal at the UCD College of Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, a Bord na Móna R&D directorship and expert roles advising EU research, national energy policy and building regulations. Appointed CEO of SEAI last year, Professor Lewis has been a champion of sustainable building since before the term existed. His selection combines a proto-green Alvar Aalto design, the reimagined Reichstag and an unusual academic building with two new cutting edge sustainable buildings.
A framework for strategic sustainability is essential if we’re serious about greening the Irish built environment. According to green architect Pat Barry, we should look no further than The Natural Step.
With money leaving local economies across Ireland to service debt and significant drops in local authority revenues, towns such as Dundalk, Ennis and Kilkenny are investigating the possibility of bringing in electronic currencies to keep money circulating locally, as Richard Douthwaite reveals.
With 36 years experience in ecological architecture, Paul Leech of Gaia Ecotecture possesses a formidable knowledge of international green design. Fresh from picking up the best ecological building 2010 Lama award for the pioneering Navan Credit Union – and a favourable review in Prof George Baird’s Sustainable Buildings in Practice: What the Users Think - a global survey of green buildings - Leech describes a handful of inspirational green exemplar projects from around the world.
If you’re not assessing the environmental performance of your suppliers and their products, it’s rapidly becoming a case of “caveat emptor”. Many of the world’s biggest companies are now buying green, and the Irish government is about to follow suit. Ignore the issue and you put your company at a competitive disadvantage, argues Brian O’Kennedy, managing director of Clearstream Solutions
Mixing excellent thermal performance with renewable heating, efforts to boost biodiversity and plans for micro-generation, a new timber frame house in rural Cork shows that both appealing design and low environmental impact can be achieved with one-off rural housing.
A new extension to the EPA's headquarters in Wexford lives up to the organisation's aim of environmental protection, boasting passive ventilation and lighting, a host of green technologies and a sustainable approach to landscaping.