Ireland will be one of the first countries in Europe to participate in the new INDICATE initiative, which aims to boost the availability of quality building climate data, a critical step towards full decarbonisation.
The initiative, known as INDICATE, will bring together government, industry, and academia to tackle one of the key barriers to decarbonising Ireland’s built environment: a lack of reliable and comprehensive emissions data for buildings.
Embodied carbon emissions in Ireland
Pat Barry, CEO, Irish Green Building Council (IGBC,) said: “In Ireland, embodied carbon emissions associated with the production, transport, construction, maintenance, repair, and disposal of buildings and infrastructure account for 14% of our national emissions. These are likely to increase significantly over the next decade as we build more homes and infrastructure, yet they remain unregulated.”
The EU recently took its own first steps towards whole-life carbon regulation with proposals to introduce mandatory reporting for larger buildings by 2027 and all buildings by the end of the decade in the revision of a key piece of European buildings policy, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).
Countries such as Denmark, Finland, France, and the Netherlands, are moving faster and have already regulated embodied carbon emissions. In all these markets, the first crucial step in mandating whole-life carbon measurements and reduction was to develop a robust methodology and establish high-quality baselines.
Commenting on the launch of the project, Francis Noel Duffy TD and IGBC #BuildingLife Ambassador noted, “Addressing embodied carbon emissions is critical to halve our emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The development of high-quality data and baseline data for buildings constructed in Ireland through pilot projects is a key step in supporting the regulation of these emissions in Ireland.”
INDICATE seeks to accelerate this policy development in Ireland, Spain and Czechia (Czech Republic) by generating critical baseline data for buildings, which will allow policymakers to set carbon limits that cover the full lifecycle impact of buildings, from manufacture and construction through to deconstruction and waste processing – so-called ‘whole life carbon limits’. In Ireland, the initiative is led by the IGBC and the University of Galway, with support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Reacting to the launch of the initiative, Joe Durkan, Head of Technical National Retrofit at SEAI commented: “High-quality data on whole-life carbon emissions associated with our built environment is critical to support policymaking and the decarbonisation of our building stock. SEAI recognises the importance of collecting standardised data through the development of a national methodology to assess these emissions and is pleased to support the INDICATE project.”
The innovative public-private approach of INDICATE aims to secure broad support from industry and policymakers alike, helping to ensure the resulting data is quickly put to use. The project is just the beginning of what the coalition hope will be a European-wide programme to finally quantify and drive a quick reduction in unregulated carbon emissions.
The INDICATE initiative supports the implementation of the “Building a Zero Carbon Ireland” roadmap launched by the Irish Green Building Council in late 2022. The roadmap sets a clear path to reach net zero by 2050 and highlights the importance of developing a national methodology and a database of building Life Cycle Assessments leading to benchmarks being set and the introduction of mandatory whole-life carbon disclosure.
What is INDICATE?
INDICATE is an accelerator offering a project framework and co-funding to support efforts to generate much-needed building-level WLC data in Europe. This data must be generated now if industry and policy action on decarbonising buildings are to be brought in line with the 1,5 °C target from the 2015 Paris COP21 agreement.
National partnerships will be forged between industry, academia, and national government. This co-creation approach promises to ensure the stakeholders will act on the data and the outcomes to accelerate policy and industry change.
The generated data will support:
- The demand for product level LCA
- The push towards setting WLC benchmarks
- Setting national regulations
- Preparations for EU EPBD negotiations.