Environment Minister Mark H Durkan Launches Guide to Delivering Sustainable Buildings

New building guide inspires fresh approach to planning and building

– Mark H Durkan

Cross border organisation, Smart Eco Hub has produced the ‘Sustainable Building Guide’ to assist and educate those in the construction industry.

Speaking at the launch, which saw representatives from local businesses, local government and the construction industry, North and South, Minister Durkan said: “I very much support the use of sustainable renewable technologies in new buildings. We have geared planning policy to help integrate renewable energy technology into the design, siting and layout of existing and new buildings.

“This Guide demonstrates another good example of the benefits of collaboration between local authorities and the private sector. It has produced a practical document that can be applied in the planning and adaption of buildings in the North and South.

“It is important that we continue to work together and share our experiences as well as exchange ideas that will support our wider understanding of issues that affect our environment.

“There is money to be saved here as well. Sustainable building design can deliver buildings with lower running costs, an attribute that is highly attractive to both householders and businesses. The launch of the Sustainable Building Guide is appropriately timed with the recent transfer of the majority of planning powers from DOE to councils. It also coincides with the Department recently receiving a prestigious UK planning award for outstanding placemaking work in Northern Ireland for its ‘Living Places’ guide, which complements the Sustainable Buildings Guide.

“This is an additional tool available to assist councils in their new roles as decision takers and plan makers in achieving good quality sustainable development through appropriately designed buildings.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Nearly zero-energy buildings have very high energy performance. The low amount of energy that these buildings require comes mostly from renewable sources. Article 9(1) of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires Member States to ensure that by 31 December 2020, all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings; and after 31 December 2018, new buildings occupied and owned by public authorities are nearly zero energy buildings.
  2. Smart Eco Hub is a cross border cluster organisation for the sustainable energy sector. The sector are involved in activities related to the generation, storage and transmission of energy and associated Cleantech technologies such as Smart grids, energy efficient controls, materials and processes.
  3. Smart Eco Hub’s aim is to drive economic growth and job creation through collaboration and innovation in the sustainable energy sector to develop and exploit new technologies for local and international markets.
  4. The organisation consists of a number small and large enterprises, academic research organisations and local government agencies located in both the North and South of Ireland.
  5. The structure of this guide follows the ‘fabric first’ approach beginning with design issues, moving through insulation building systems, glazing and ventilation before addressing water usage and waste water practices.