THE BETTER BUILDING CONFERENCE 2012

CAN IRELAND IMPROVE ITS ABYSMAL BUILDING ENERGY RATING AND HELP WITH EMPLOYMENT, INWARD INVESTMENT AND IRELAND’S ECONOMIC PROSPERITY AT THE SAME TIME?

Irish buildings have the highest CO2 emissions per square metre, according to a Europe-wide survey of building stock, published late 2011 by the Building Performance Institute Europe.   With such a poor rating it is imperative that Ireland addresses this and other issues and opportunities affecting the building industry, hence the first ever ‘Better Building Conference’ which takes place in Dublin on Wednesday 25th April in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.

The most significant gathering of experts in the sustainable building industry (for full Conference programme visit www.betterbuilding.ie/programme )  will gather at the Conference to debate the critical issues facing property, design and construction and will also showcase studies on exemplar projects where sustainable design and decision-making has resulted in a win-win solution for all stakeholders.

One of the keynote speakers is Adrian Joyce, Secretary General of EuroACE (the European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings) and Campaign Director of the ‘Renovate Europe’ campaign (www.renovate-europe.eu) who says  “Several studies across the EU (including Ireland) have shown that for every €1 invested by central government in energy efficiency of buildings €5 returns to the national budget, in some case within one financial year.  Germany has produced just such returns for its central government”.

Adrian Joyce continues “An average of 1.1 million jobs could be created across Europe in the construction sector for every year to 2050* and provide a return on investment of about 12% to all those that invest in energy efficiency.  In fact, numerous studies of the job creation potential of energy efficient renovation of buildings, shows that an average of 18 jobs are created for every €1m invested.  This is nearly four times more jobs than are created by a similar investment in energy production.” (*The Renovate Europe Campaign has a target of achieving an 80% reduction of energy demand of the EU building stock by 2050)

In valuing Green Building, international experts John Pike, Secretary General of the International Sustainability Alliance will be talking about how Ireland could be putting inward investment at risk by not fully embracing green building.  Large multinational technology and pharmaceutical companies now demand buildings that not only claim to be green but are certified as Green to reinforce their Corporate Social Responsibility credentials. Ireland now has an aging and unattractive stock of inefficient buildings. These need to be either completely renovated or replaced to make them attractive to this type of investor.

Jonathan Hines of Archetype (named in the top 20 influencers on sustainability in the UK) will be talking about the Passivhaus schools they have just completed.  These schools need virtually no heating and provide an environment conducive to learning.

Paul Harris of Bank of Ireland Global markets will be talking about innovative ways that we can pay for the immediate renovation of our building stock without huge investment by Government or occupiers and Stjohn O’Connor will discuss the Government scheme Pay As You Save being developed by the Department of Energy and Communications, allowing home owners to pay for the retrofit of their homes through their utility bills.

Could an effective and ambitious Green Public Procurement Plan lead to market transformation and support innovation and jobs in Ireland?  Mikael Koch, Sustainability Advisor, Danish Association of Architectural firms will discuss streamlining Green Public Procurement for smaller countries.

In these challenging times how do we transform our existing settlements to make them more energy efficient and resilient as well as being vibrant places to live and work?  A workshop exploring this issue will be chaired by Davie Philip, Education Director at Cultivate and founder/resident of ecovillage Cloghjordan in Co. Tipperary.

Chris Bird, author of Local Sustainable Homes, presents on the experience of the Transition Towns process and will give examples of neighbourhood refurbishment and community cohesion projects from the UK.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan T.D. is scheduled to open the conference and the results from the breakout workshops will be presented to the Department of the Environment after the conference.

The event features a range of seminars and debates featuring leading Irish and international experts, designers, academics, innovators and investors in sustainability for the built environment.  A full list of Speakers and Topics can be found at www.betterbuilding.ie

This event is organised by Irish Green Building Council, Cultivate and Sustainable Building Show.

With less than a week to go there are now only a limited number of delegate places available.  To secure your place visit  www.betterbuilding.ie/registration-form  Delegate places are only €125 and the price includes lunch and a networking party after the Conference.

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