New-build buyers get better choice on sustainability versus quality

New-build buyers get better choice on sustainability versus quality

Throughout 2018, Ireland will see over 170 new residential developments launching. Housebuilders will promote these as ‘A’ rated, but in reality not all the homes will be on a par when it comes to quality and sustainability. 

In an effort to give new-build home buyers a more accurate way of comparing and making buying choices, the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) has devised an initiative known as The Home Performance Index (HPI), which includes greater detail than the Near Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standard.

Aided by funding from the Environment Agency, the HPI was first piloted in 2015 on a handful of developments. Prior to finalising, the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) researched other existing sustainability schemes from the UK’s Code for Sustainable Homes, LEED for Homes, the German DGNB scheme and Sweden’s GBC MiloBygnnad.

Improved health and wellbeing for Irish residents

The HPI has been successful in attracting international interest and is one of only six global green rating scales, which also includes BREEAM, LEED and Greenstar. This entitles it to gain credits measured by The International Well Building Institute for high grade planning to promote wellbeing and health in mixed communities.

In order to avoid duplication, the HPI is fully integrated with Irish building regulations and set up to be easily accessible. Having looked at other European schemes, the IGBC based their own index on the most relevant and important criteria for Ireland.

Five key factors included in the Index

This has resulted in the HPI being based on five key factors: environment, health and wellbeing, economic, quality assurance and sustainable location, each containing a set of indicators. The environment category measures the full environmental footprint of the homes, including land use, density, water consumption, embodied impacts of materials, energy use and sustainable sourcing.

The IGBC has been adopted by a number of large public and private housing schemes and is in the process of certifying Dublin City Council, Sisk and Durkan residential. One of the main objectives is to encourage designers and developers to investigate wider efficient energy models such as embodied carbon to empower the residents of Ireland to live in low carbon communities.

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