A wide range of guidelines, policy and legislation dealing with planning, construction and sustainability issues have been produced over the last number of years. These aim to promote and encourage more sustainable forms of building, planning, urban design and sustainable/efficient architectural design. Sustainability in planning, design and construction is becoming more sought after, not only by key developers but also by the ever-growing environmentally conscious consumer, the ultimate users of the end product. An increase in demand from consumers for higher quality, more energy efficient buildings will assist in bringing about real change in this regard. 

Sustainable Planning and Design

Although reductions can be achieved through the implementation of technologies and policies during the construction process, adaptation of sustainable planning and design practices early on in the project development can reduce the overall emissions of dwellings and entire communities for the lifetime of the building. It is, therefore, important that energy efficiency is considered at the planning and design stage.

Planning Guidelines and Policy Statements

For more information, click on the following links:

Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities

Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities - Guidelines

Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas

General Planning Information 

Planning and Development Regulations

Repair and Maintenance

An average household can spend up to €1,700 per year on energy; as demand for oil and gas continues to increase, this is likely to increase. However, the application of energy efficient technology, renewable energy sources and the use of sustainable materials provide an opportunity to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of dwellings and on a larger scale, entire communities. This can be the case not only for new developments but also for householders who may be extending their home, carrying out household repairs or changing their energy/heating system. Since the changes made will potentially affect buildings for their entire lifetime, the savings both in terms of cost and carbon can be great.

Renewable Energy for Housing Developments

Part L (2011) of the Building Regulations states that the overall aim is to achieve carbon neutral dwellings at the earliest date practicable. Renewable technologies are an ideal means of achieving this target both in newly constructed and older dwellings.
Small scale renewable energy units can provide part of, or all if used in conjunction with another renewable source, the heat and/or energy needs of single dwellings or groups of dwellings. Each technology described below has its own advantages and disadvantage and some are more suitable to certain types of dwelling. Each house or group of houses should be considered on a case by case basis.

The section below outlines some of the main renewable technologies available in Ireland. However, the Renewable Energy Information Office (REIO), which is part of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), provides a range of information on renewable energy technologies and their environmental and cost benefits.

  • Solar Thermal
  • Solar Electric/ Photovoltaic
  • Heat Pumps
  • Biomass - Wood Chip / Wood Pellet
  • Heat Recovery Units
  • Wind Turbines

More information on renewable energy is available on the SEAI website.

Construction Materials

The choice of different types of construction materials can have an impact on climate change. For example, timber framed houses will result in a different carbon footprint compared to houses that use proportionally more cement in their construction.

previousPrevious - Construction
Next - Building regulationsnext