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EASCA, the Environmental and Sustainable Construction Association, has been founded by Duncan Stewart (RTE1’s About the House), Professor Tom Woolley (Queens’ University Belfast), Paul Leech (Leech-Gaia Ecotecture), and Construct Ireland’s editor Jeff Colley, to promote the viability of sustainable construction in Ireland.

In order to achieve this, EASCA’s primary role will be to act as a service provider, designed to respond to the growing demand for information on the services, materials and technologies, geared towards high levels of energy efficiency, occupant health and comfort, and environmental performance.

The Emergence of Sustainable Construction in Ireland

Tom WooleyInterest in sustainable construction, both from private sector individuals and businesses and from the public sector has grown rapidly in the last couple of years. Unfortunately the ability of the industry to respond to this interest is under developed
Tom Woolley.

The demand for more sustainable construction output is greater than it has ever been, due to a variety of factors. Ireland’s commitment to reducing national emissions levels under the Kyoto Protocol is beginning to force the hand of the construction industry, to improve the thermal performance of buildings. Aside from the minimum requirements posed by changes to Part L of the Building Regulations, the Irish construction industry faces a number of imminent changes, ranging from the introduction of energy ratings for virtually every category of building at point of transaction, to a national carbon tax, to EU programmes and initiatives such as the Green Light Programme, and the Green Building Programme.

EASCA can lead the way for the mainstream construction sector, which needs guidance on how to negotiate the carrots and sticks shortly to be introduced by governance
Paul Leech.

The move to more sustainable construction is also being aided by an increasingly health and environment conscious public. Irish people are beginning to demand higher performance from buildings in terms of health and comfort, and public awareness of the effect buildings can have on the environment has never been higher.

Responding to the Demand

Although more and more services, materials and technologies with positive health, energy and environment implications are emerging on the Irish market, until now this information has lacked a dedicated forum, which has significantly impeded the shift towards more sustainable construction. Professionals within the industry are having trouble sourcing materials, technologies and services, and the general public are understandably less informed. The need for a resource dedicated to companies equipped to deliver sustainable construction has become evident, and is a key motivation behind the formation of EASCA.

Tom WooleyEASCA will network together architects, builders, materials suppliers and others in the construction industry, so that they are able to respond to the interest in sustainable construction and assist each other in providing a professional and commercially viable service”.
Tom Woolley

The need for a dedicated sustainable construction resource is compounded by the degree in which standards vary in current construction output. Allied to this is the fact that many companies are marketing their products or services as green, healthy, or energy efficient without justification.

There are many designs and solutions that don’t actually work. Mistakes are being made. Yet out there is a huge resource of very well proven products, systems, experts and skills. It’s a matter of coordinating these so that on one level the consumer trying to do the right thing can source the right product or system and at the same time those providing the right skills have a market”.
Duncan Stewart

Although EASCA cannot offer guarantees of quality, its membership will consist of companies EASCA believes to offer useful products and services in helping to deliver more sustainable construction. EASCA will direct people towards existing Irish and European certification, where relevant, which EASCA members may carry.

For more information, email [email protected]