Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity right now, much of which is as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. 40% of emissions emanate from buildings, so focusing on improving energy efficiency of buildings has never been more important. One third of the world economy is engaged in construction, yet the sector has been very slow to innovate with regards to sustainability.
On 14th November 2019, a World Forum will be held in Dublin on the topic of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, or ‘NZEB’. The NZEB standard becomes mandatory in Ireland on 1st November and must be implemented right across the EU by the end of 2020. The central objective of the NZEB policy is to significantly reduce the energy demand and carbon emissions from buildings, whilst also harnessing renewable energy technologies: new-build and retrofit, residential and commercial.
Pic: County Architect Andrée Dargan, Minister Pascal Donohue TD and Cathaoirleach Cllr Ossain Smith
Ireland is one of three UNECE Global Centres of Excellence in High Performance Buildings, along with the iconic cities of New York and Vancouver. The ambition of the global network is to inspire others through the provision of exemplary solutions to bending the emissions curve. This can be realised through a variety of methods including policy measures, research and demonstration, case study projects and, most of all, education and training.
The key challenge is now engaging with the construction sector (the developers, designers, contractors, and operators) and communicating the urgency with which we much work. In terms of climate change, it’s already ten-past-midnight so we have no time to waste. We must inspire the accelerated adoption of green building practices and to communicate the very real threat that our local practices have global implications.
The World NZEB Forum conference is presented by NZEB Ireland and supported by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, one of the leading local authorities in Ireland in high performance building. The Forum will be held in Killiney with workshops and site visits around Dún Laoghaire. The panel of presenters confirmed for the conference include three experts from the USA, namely Lois Arena, SWA, Jenna Cramer, GBA and Richard Yancey, BE-Ex. Over 12 inspiring case studies will be presented from Ireland, North America and across the EU. A core theme of the conference will be delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with special emphasis on energy, buildings and sustainable cities.