Cork City Council join drive to renovate buildings and deliver on climate objectives

26 May 2021
By Mary Bermingham

Cork City (pictured in file photo above), along with Laois and Kilkenny joined a network of 32 European local authorities testing out how measuring the holistic benefits of energy renovation can help in addressing climate change.

This week, the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) announced that Cork City, Laois and Kilkenny County Councils are now part of the European Union (EU) funded BUILD UPON2 project.

The objective of Build Upon² is to develop and implement a Framework that allows local authorities to track and measure a wide range of benefits of building renovation, from energy efficiency to tackling energy poverty and creating jobs. By tracking the diverse environmental, social and economic benefits of renovation, Cork, Kilkenny and Laois can better identify and share retrofit best-practice and feed into Ireland’s Long Term Energy Renovation Strategy.

Brian Cassidy, Senior Engineer at Cork City Council said: “Cork City Council will retrofit 2,700 social houses by 2030. The Build Upon² Framework is a fantastic opportunity to better monitor the impact of this programme on our climate targets and to exchange best practices with fellow European Local Authorities”.

Pat Barry, CEO of The Irish Green Building Council added:

“The aim of the Framework is to help local authorities to better monitor and quantify the impact of their renovation programmes, hence supporting decision-making. I am delighted that Cork City, Kilkenny and Laois County Councils have joined Dublin City Council on this project and I look forward to working with them.”

Stephen Richardson, Director of Europe Regional Network, World Green Building Council said:

“Getting all our buildings to net zero is crucial for the EU to reach its goal of climate neutrality by 2050. And there are lots of wider benefits to renovation, such as tackling energy poverty, stimulating local economies and creating jobs, which also make it a key part of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BUILD UPON2 project shows that by starting at the local level, cities can be accelerators of the Renovation Wave. It’s very exciting that this month a further 24 cities across Europe are joining the BUILD UPON2 movement. Their involvement will contribute to making the Framework an invaluable resource to deliver the Renovation Wave and the EU Green Deal.”

A total of 32 European local authorities, including the capital cities Dublin, Madrid and Rome, are now using the BUILD UPON² Framework, which is a crucial tool to deliver climate and energy renovation targets. The EU’s Renovation Wave plan set an ambitious target to at least double the bloc’s renovation rate by 2030.

The organisations involved in BUILD UPON² are the latest in a growing trend that sees local authorities taking a leadership role on climate action. In the runup to the COP26 UN Climate Change Summit in November 2021, where BUILD UPON² will be showcased as part of the Cities and Built Environment Day co-convened by the World Green Building Council, this bold statement of intent from European local governments will help increase the pressure on world leaders to take decisive action.

About the Irish Green Building Council

The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) is Ireland’s leading authority on green building best practices with a network of over 200 green building organisations spanning the entire built environment industry. The IGBC is affiliated with the World Green Building Council. This is a network of over 80 national Green Building Councils worldwide with a total membership of over 27,000 of the most progressive international organisations and businesses making it the largest organisation globally influencing the sustainable building market.

About Build Upon2

The EU Horizon 2020 funded BUILD UPON2 project is empowering cities across Europe to join forces with national governments and industry to decarbonise their existing building stock by 2050.

The main focus is to develop and pilot a ‘multi-level renovation impact framework’. This framework is being used to track and report the diverse range of benefits of building renovation. It features a unique suite of milestones and measurable progress indicators for city renovation strategies including: emissions reductions, increased employment and improved health.

By capturing data at a local level, the framework links renovation to policy and decision-making processes at a national level, driving greater investment in city regeneration programmes and allowing best-practice initiatives to be scaled up and used more widely.

About the World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) catalyses the uptake of sustainable buildings for everyone, everywhere. Transforming the building and construction sector across three strategic areas — climate action, health & wellbeing, and resources & circularity — WGBC are a global action network comprised of 70 Green Building Councils around the globe. Through a systems change approach, their network is leading the industry towards a net zero carbon, healthy, equitable and resilient built environment.

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