What is the Home Performance Index? What is Sustainable residential development? The seemingly unimportant things we do every day can have a direct effect on our health and carbon footprint. Simply where we live and the distance traveled to and from work, dictates whether we are inclined to drive, walk or take the bus. While we might consider the energy efficiency and emissions of our household or appliances, we may not take into account the emissions caused by the location of where we choose to put down our roots. In addition, we might overlook how this location may impact our health and wellbeing.
How are buildings affecting Human Health and Wellbeing? The core function of buildings is to be inhabited by people. However, many of us are unaware of how the built environment can have a considerable impact on human health and wellbeing. While there are numerous factors that can influence human health, one of these is the home environment. For example, the area surrounding our home can promote physical activity, such as a safe sidewalk or local green spaces. Within the home for example, proper air ventilation prevents the build-up of pollutants and ensures good air quality. For further details on these factors and others see the UK Green Building Councils report on Health and wellbeing in homes.
What about Buildings and the environment? Buildings and construction are connected to 29% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and a total of 36% of our energy use globally, according to the UN Environment Global Status Report 2017. In Ireland, the design of our built environment has long lasting impacts on the Irish community from a small to larger scale. Green building is a fantastic opportunity for ensuring sustainability in our residential housing sector and for tackling these building related emissions. Sustainable building is especially crucial in the current climate of predicted economic and population growth in Ireland. The demand for housing under such growth is strong and it is essential that housing is provided for in a way that supports sustainable quality housing.
Sustainable building measures will also help Ireland in its efforts to reach requirements under the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). This directive requires all new buildings to be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) by 31st December 2020 and all buildings acquired by public bodies by 31st December 2018.
Sustainable location of our developments is only one of the many factors we need to bear in mind when creating a home. The Home Performance Index is an Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) initiative which aims to provide a label for quality sustainable residential development, by examining the home under several performance indicators that effect our daily lives:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Quality Assurance
- Sustainable Location
In conjunction to complementing existing certification schemes such as BREEAM and LEED, the HPI takes an holistic approach to future-proofing Irish housing stock. A house with a HPI certificate demonstrates that the home has been designed and constructed with care to ensure low running costs, enhance the health and wellbeing of the occupants and minimise environmental impacts.
Since the first HPI certificate was presented to a social housing scheme in Dublin’s Rathgar in 2016, the HPI certification is now appearing on #QualityHomes building sites around the country. The label allows housing providers and private developers to highlight the quality and sustainability of their homes to occupants, investors and home buyers.
Want to find out more about certification?
If you are interested in learning more about the Home Performance Index and how it can benefit you, visit us at homeperformanceindex.ie, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out our list of HPI accredited professionals here.
Know that your house is a home!
The Irish Green Building Council – IGBC, a non-profit organisation was launched in 2011 with organisations and businesses from the entire value chain of the built environment. The IGBC aims to transform the Irish industry to sustainable practices through policy creation, education, events and provision of tools to measure and accelerate progress.