Exactly 10 years ago we launched the Irish Green Building Council on 24th of May 2011 in Engineers Ireland with 35 founder members. In the room that day there was a real buzz of what might be possible.
It was an interesting time to launch an organization related to the built environment with the doomsayers saying we would never build a house in Ireland again. Like now, we were in a terrible but very different crisis. The construction industry had entirely collapsed, companies were struggling, staff were laid off. It took an incredible vote of confidence in a Green future for the founder members to invest in a fledgeling Irish Green Building Council.
However, in times of crisis change happens, old moulds are broken and opportunities seized. Those same companies and organizations had a vision and not surprisingly they continued to grow through the crisis to thrive in the green sector.
IGBC has now grown to over 220 members who span the entire value chain from development finance to products. A staff of 10 now work on a whole range of projects and programmes aimed at bringing about transformative change.
Things we dreamed about back that May day in Clyde road have come to pass. The founders asked ‘wouldn’t it be great if only green building was valued’
Well ten years later…. it is standard to link finance and green construction. Investors ask for Whole life carbon calculations. Government talks about health and wellbeing and deep renovation strategy for 500,000 homes. An Environmental product declaration is no longer a rare exotic creature, but almost standard for every Irish construction product manufacturer and supplier. The sustainability team is a core part of every construction organization.
The next ten years will be even more transformational. The ground has been prepared and change will accelerate. The Government and the EU are fully on board with transformational change. A 50-55% cut in carbon in 8 and half years must now be delivered.
It is no longer a case of dreaming what is possible, but implementing at breakneck speed on the dash to zero.
Pat Barry, CEO of the Irish Green Building Council