The need for Irish cities to become more sustainable in order to attract inward investment was discussed today (24.05) at Green Building Cork 2019.
Irish regional cities will continue to grow in the next 20 years. But they must significantly reduce their building and transport emissions if Ireland is to reach its climate targets. Making Irish cities greener could enhance their international reputation and increase inward investment. These were some of the key messages of Green Building Cork 2019.
Opening the conference Pat Barry, CEO of the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) said: “Edinburgh has just committed to be carbon neutral by 2035 and Copenhagen is already on track to reach this target by 2025. Irish cities must follow. They need to move beyond energy efficiency and enable all citizens to make low-carbon choices and live in truly sustainable neighbourhoods. The IGBC has developed the Home Performance Index certification to give local authorities a framework for better built, better quality, healthy homes, in connected and ecologically enhanced communities”.
Kay Killmann of the certification arm of the US Green Building Council added that greener cities are not only better for people and the planet, they also support a strong economy. “Cities are increasingly competing internationally to attract capital and talents. To keep up with a new generation of well-informed and engaged citizens, cities must innovate and commit to sustainability. Savona in Italy has recently become the first LEED-certified city in Europe. LEED for cities is an exacting environmental certification. It allows cities to benchmark progress and measure performance while considering social equity and human experience”.
Beth Massey, Head of Research at Cork based International Energy Research Centre said: “Technology has a key role to play in supporting our energy transition. Grid-integrated buildings and transport can dynamically interact to create not only energy positive homes but energy positive communities and districts. But technology is just one aspect. Policy, regulations and awareness raising are also critical”.
Green Building Cork 2019 is a half-day conference organised by the Irish Green Building Council to explore what needs to happen next to transition to genuinely low carbon buildings and communities.