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Analysis & Insights

Innovative Construction - Building for a Sustainable Future

19 Mar 2024

Our Dublin Real Estate & Construction team had the pleasure of contributing to the Women In Construction Special Edition of the Construction Industry Magazine.

In “Innovative Construction: Building for a Sustainable Future”, Mary Liz Mahony and Katelin Toomey explore how upcoming EU legislation will impact how Irish construction projects are funded, built, bought and sold.

Innovative Construction – Building for a Sustainable Future

Whatever your role in the construction sector, you will not have missed the tidal wave of recent legislation requiring more energy efficient buildings and building practices. This is impacting how construction projects are funded, built, bought and sold.

In the last six months alone, we have seen two new EU directives effecting energy usage and efficiency, changes to the construction product regulation are under discussion and a revised directive on the energy performance of buildings (the EPBD) is expected shortly.

The EPBD introduces the zero-emission building (ZEB) standard, which goes beyond the current NZEB standard and requires that buildings utilise zero or a very low amount of energy, producing zero on-site carbon emissions from fossil fuels and zero or a very low amount of greenhouse gas emissions. If enacted in its current form, the EPBD will first apply the ZEB standard to new public buildings from 2028 and all other new buildings from 2030. The overall aim is that the entire EU building stock will have reached the ZEB standard by 2050. 

Higher standards of energy performance and the increased focus on reducing carbon emissions in the construction industry means that sustainability credentials will need to be demonstrated not only on PC of a new development project but also by the process and the materials used along the way, as well as by the environmental performance of a building over its entire life cycle. Everything from the type of fuel used in transportation of materials, to the location of a supplier will need to be scrutinised.

Compliance will require strategic thinking and investment in innovative solutions to make buildings more energy efficient and less carbon intensive. It's a big task and to achieve it, all stakeholders need to work closely together, from developers and owners to contractors, design professionals and investors.  We can expect to see funding agreements, building contracts, professional appointments, leases and contracts for sale include criteria to ensure new standards are met and maintained during the life cycle of buildings and risk and reward built into these agreements for all parties.

The construction industry is now at the frontier of the sustainability transformation and has a vital role in the transformation of the Irish built environment. At Maples Group we are passionate about working on innovative construction projects designed for a sustainable future. We understand that the ESG landscape effects all stakeholders differently. Let us help you bring ESG from concept to delivery.

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