At the height of the economic boom, the construction industry accounted for a sizeable proportion of the Irish economy (approximately €28 billion or 24% of GNP) and provided direct employment to 235,000 people. The relationship between construction activities, and the built environment on the one hand, and sustainable development on the other, is both significant and complex. Construction uses more raw materials than any other sector and the creation and operation of the built environment accounts for a significant proportion of the consumption of natural resources.

In the recent past, poor planning and urban design resulted in large amounts of urban sprawl development on the outskirts of our major cities. These developments were often not adequately serviced in terms of infrastructure and public transport, which often led to long commuting distances, usually by private car. This led continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions associated with transport.

In addition to this, the developments did not always take account of long term sustainability of buildings, proper energy management, or the overall building design and use. All of these issues meant that the sector has influenced both directly and indirectly, the level of greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland .

The current recession has had a devastating impact on the construction sector in Ireland. As a result CO2 emissions from the cement sector decreased by 11% (0.43 Mt) between 2007 and 2008 and a further 38% (1.3 Mt) between 2008 and 2009. However, the recovery since then has seen an increase in ghg emissions in this sector of almost 18 percent over 2011 in 2012. To see the outlook for the construction industry in 2015 click here.

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