Building Innovations in Sustainability

Panel two of the IPBN's Sustainability Conference

Building a sustainable future isn’t just about policy, it’s also about the actual art of construction and practices that must be implemented to ensure a green tomorrow. To understand more about the innovations in this sector, the IPBN, with the help of Enterprise IrelandHeritage HotelsKRA Renewables, and Konceptness, invited leaders from the sector to present their research, work on the ground, and ideas for the future at the IPBN’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Sustainability Conference on March 17 at the Center for Commerce and Industry (CCIP) in Lisbon. 

This panel of the conference was moderated by IPBN board member and CEO of Konceptness, Susan Cabeceiras, and was comprised of keynote speakers Laura McMahon, Krystyna Rawicz, Pedro Barata, and Declan Wynne. 

Head of Sustainability Consulting for Lawler Sustainability, Laura McMahon, took the podium first to highlight some of the innovations the award-winning company is taking in driving sustainability in Ireland, projects that are neatly tied to Ireland’s landmark climate bill that will put the country on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050. Laura pointed out that the effectiveness of a business energy and CO2 strategy directly affects business value, which is the tack Lawler is taking in creating buildings where people are the priority through air quality, movement, materials, community, and more. She highlighted the company’s work in energy performance contracting where invoices are based on energy savings, and their drive to offset residual carbon with organization like buying carbon credits and carbon capture initiatives. These initiatives not only reduce energy usage, but also costs, and the savings, Laura said, are substantial.

Krystyna Rawicz, the Managing Director of IPBN member company KRA Renewables next took conference attendees through the company’s myriad projects whether through their work as project managers, engineers, consultants, or all of the above. Krystyna began with the Nissan Headquarters where they installed solar PV, battery storage, solar window film, and EV chargers. She elaborated that the project only went forward when one person from Nissan’s team believed enough in going green to support the project to fruition, against the original plan of the rest of the board, only to see immediate payoffs and a new standard set for the company. She also discussed KRA’s work with the energy transition plan set in place for Inishbofin island, the EV chargers, LED lighting, and energy audit carried out for the Hyde Building, and eleven other latest projects that have been realized by the firm. 

Next, IPBN board member and Pedro Barata, Business Development Director of AGREEN presented projects that the engineering consulting company has been working on through their expertise in project and facilities management and consultancy. The comapny’s concept is of Full Cycle Building Management, so Pedro began with an overall look at the 2020 global status report for buildings and construction when it comes to energy and emissions and compared them the the sustainable development goals put in place by the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD). The Zero Emissions Buildings (ZEB) requirement, according to Pedro, should apply as of 1 January 2030 to all new buildings, and as of 1 January 2027 to all new buildings occupied or owned by public authorities, therefore the principles of sustainable construction must be adhered to in order to realize this goal. Therefors, AGREEN is helping buildings access real estate’s sustainability certifications (like BREEM, LEED, and WELL) while supervising and managing construction sites to reduce waste, maintain green areas, implement energy efficient equipment, and more.

Lastly, Declan Wynne, Managing Director of Skanstec Engineering Limited spoke on the topic of key infrastructural projects in Energy and Telecommunication sectors. Skanstec offers services in everything from consultancy to survey, to testing and commissioning, to asset management while protecting the natural environment and prioritizing the health and wellbeing of people. Declan cited an ongoing large-scale engineering project in Turkey where innovation and technology are key players, and later presented Skanstec’s renewable energy presence in the form of windfarms both on and offshore, solar farms, battery storage, and R&D in alternative energies like hydrogen. To finish, Declan presented the firm’s Virtual Factory Witness Tests (FWT) through augmented reality and their capabilities in 3D Lazer scanning which eneble you to compare the design of a building with what has been built in order to problem solve as the project is underway, on the spot. 

For more on the Sustainability Conference, you can read this review on the first panel of speakers, entitled “The Big Picture.