Conference Report – Mainstreaming Low Carbon Buildings, Zero Carbon Cities

My reports on two conferences on sucessive days organised by the Cultivate Centre.

The first report is in the form of the recommendations I have taken from the discussion as to the successful implementation of energy standards in Local Area Plans.

Seminar on
Sustainable Communities and Mainstreaming low-carbon
Wood Quay, 23rd

From discussion at the
seminar, it seems that the planning applications for developments within the
LAPs should contain (at least) two distinct conditions in relation to meeting
the energy standards.

  1. Prior to development condition that
    a certificate be submitted that the detailed design meets the
  2. A
    requirement for submission of a certificate of testing of air-tightness and
    thermal imaging testing of insulation quality at the earliest appropriate stage
    of construction, certifying that the work has been done to the levels required
    by the detailed design.  Doing this at the earliest appropriate stage is
    important both in terms of facilitating corrections and also as the Planning
    Department’s leverage in enforcement is still strong at this

Building to these
standards will require

  • training
  • ensuring the contractual duties and
    incentives are there to get the building done to the necessary
  • checking of the quality of work at
    an early stage so that corrections can be made


The process of building
to these standards will require training for the workers involved, to understand
the value of and reason for airtight membrances, prevention of cold bridging

It is also likely to
require different contractual approaches whereby all subcontractors would also
be under a legal obligation as regards their impact on the insulation values and
airtightness of the building.   If for example someone putting in windows is not
responsible for an airtight seal between their work and the rest of the wall,
then the airtightness won’t work.  All parties (contractor, sub-contractor etc.)
should be under an incentive to cooperate to achieve the necessary airtightness
and insulation.  

It was suggested that as
Fingal is the largest landowner in many of the LAPs and certainly in the LAP
lands taken as a whole, it is in a good position to work through these details
and get an effective system in operation, with the proper contracts, procedures
and checks in operation.  The training would logically be most effectively
provided on-site and this would tie in as well.  Fingal should possibly look at
working with the instutions responsible for training in order to get their help
on this.

The speakers at the
Friday morning seminar (Gavin Killip of Environmental Change Institute and Paul
Evans of Inreb Faraday Partnership consider what Fingal is doing to
be achievable and valuable, but requiring some signficant changes from current
building practices.  They are both willing to assist Fingal in this should we
need their advice.


Towards zero carbon cities
, 22nd June, Cultivate


Gleeson, Dublin

Attended Sustainable
Sweden tour

Taking climate issues
seriously and integrating them into planning


Susan Roaf, Oxford

15-20 kWh/m2yr
to run lifts in high-rise  (is this correct?  What



Kronsberg, Hannover,

Bo01, Malmo

Hockerton, Nottingham, 24



Use of post-construction
testing for air infiltration and thermal


I gave a presentation in
the afternoon.


Three other
presentations, all clear and informative:

McClintock transport

Wardell Climate neutral

van der Kamp planning, densities, planning system