The IPBN is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland under the ESP Grant programme
The final event of the IPBN Sustainability Conference was the Members meet Members Event, where sustainable initiatives within the IPBN shared their experiences in the sector. Moderated by IPBN Board Member Susan Cabeceiras of Konceptness, a sponsor of the Sustainability Conference, the event was an opportunity for members in the sustainability market to present their solutions in the area.
The IPBN Executive Partner AGREEN outlined their work in full-cycle building management. According to Business Development Director Pedro Barata, AGREEN has a 17-step sustainable development goal, the particulars of which he shared with the webinar attendees. He said that 35% of energy costs and 38% CO2 emissions come from buildings, so focusing on the conservation of resources and reusing materials are just a few ways to begin to offset these numbers. The company is aware that they cannot do everything to achieve zero emission-buildings at this stage but they are optimistic about the future with efficient lighting systems, solar paneling, ensuring waste reduction, and correctly executing construction, ideally with efficient equipment and recycled materials. AGREEN also offers air quality management services, waste management, and maintenance services for their energy equipment. The company ensures compliance with the Preventative Maintenance plan for their buildings, and in some cases, they can monitor the maintenance remotely.
João Esteves, Managing Partner of Konzept Algarve and founder of the Algarve-based mobile car cleaning business, Usesteam, explained that his company offers mobile services to wash people’s cars by appointment. Practically speaking, access to water was a priority when he was setting up the company, so Esteves soon realized that he could create an eco-carwash that uses a very powerful steam machine to wash the cars in and out. It uses 95% less water than a normal car wash as well as sanitizes the inside. No chemicals are used, so there is no need for a special facility for drainage. This technology is being used widely across the United States, but here in Portugal, it is not as common, according to Esteves. See the video on their website for more specific information.
Krystyna Rawicz, Managing Director of KRA Renewables explained that the company provides services advising clients on all aspects of sustainability from biodiversity to energy efficiency to writing sustainability plans. One of their current projects is as project coordinator for the Community Energy Grant which helps homeowners gain access to whole-house retrofits, LED lighting upgrades, and solar PV installations among other upgrades. Increasing biodiversity at existing properties is another project KRA Renewables is undertaking by building bird and insect boxes on many of their sites, for starters.
Ovo Solutions, a recent addition to the IPBN, was next represented by their Comercial Manager Pedro Antunes. The company is responsible for designing, making, and integrating waste containers and water treatment plants for cities to provide eco-friendly solutions to collect residue. Antunes described the company as the leaders in Portugal and Spain for eco-point solutions that are very cost-efficient, and he stressed that he was anxious to implement some of the best practices used on the Iberian Peninsula to cities in need of these solutions in Ireland. As a licensed recycling company, their products are geared toward a circular economy.
IPBN member Gerard Smith of PAR (Passionate About Recycling) outlined the technology that they have developed with the help of their partners to take plastics and recycle them back into bio-fuel suitable for use in automobiles, for one. The TCC Energy partnership with PAR has yielded gas, fuels, combustibles, chemical base materials, and activated carbon from wood, biomass, plastic, and organic waste. Smith also highlighted the company’s capabilities for breaking down plasterboards to their original components in order to re-create the product to be sold back to the construction market. Lastly, Smith presented his company’s ability to take sewage sludge and recycle it into fertalizer for agricultural use.
All companies were invited to present their wish list for partnerships, collaborations, expansion, and otherwise after each had highlighted its true value in the sustainability market. We thank all those involved for their presentations and invite all members and non-members to investigate the above services so that we can all take one collective step toward a greener future.
Times are changing in the building sector, and those working on both sustainable (and other) projects need to be aware of what this will mean for the sector as a whole. Luckily, the IPBN is taking an in-depth look at these and other standards that are fast approaching in our second panel discussion.
Following our annual St. Patrick’s Day Sustainability conference, the IPBN was led on an exclusive tour of the Hub Criativo do Beato in Lisbon and Ombria resort grounds in the Algarve to do a deep dive into what these projects are offering toward a greener future and what steps they have taken to ensure sustainability stays a number-one priority.