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Green Building Gaining Momentum In Ireland — But Skills Gap Is A Challenge

Miesian Plaza on Baggot Street is targeting LEED Platinum certification

Over half — 54% — of Irish organisations that took part in a survey for the World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report expect most of their building projects to be green by 2021. This compares with the global average of 47%.

The biggest trigger for new green building activity in Ireland is client demand, according to the report, with 71% of respondents picking this as a reason, more than double the global average. Environmental regulations are another key motivator among Irish participants.

Forty percent of Irish-based respondents said the majority of the projects they are working on — over  60% — are green. The report suggests that this above average proportion may be due to the high number of Irish-based respondents who are Green Building Council members.

According to Irish Green Building Council Chief Executive Pat Barry, the number of green buildings in this country has increased significantly over the last five years. Examples include 32 Molesworth St. (LEED Gold certified), Baggot Plaza (LEED Gold), 1 Windmill Lane (LEED Gold), 10 Molesworth St. (LEED Platinum) and the Miesian Plaza (targeting LEED Platinum).

“There are substantial social and economic impacts of going green,” Barry said. “These buildings create a more productive workplace for occupants and can help with mitigation of climate change. Green buildings also see benefits for corporate reputation and the building itself has lower volatility in market value.” 

There are challenges, however. Lack of educated professionals was identified by 41% of respondents as a key obstacle to the development of more green building in Ireland. This compares with the European average of 17% and the global average of 22%.

“Construction professionals have substantial responsibility in promoting a greener built environment,” Barry said. “The sustainability skills of the Irish construction sector must be updated if Ireland is to achieve its climate targets.”

Participants in the survey included over 2,000 architects, engineers, contractors, owners, specialists/consultants and investors from 86 countries. The report was published by Dodge Data & Analytics.