Speaking at the annual dinner of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Environment Minister Michael Kitt told the organisation it had a vital role to play in the training and upskilling of industry professionals to meet the challenges.

He reminded diners at the event, in Limerick, that Building Energy Rating Certificates (BERs) will be required for any type of building offered for sale or letting from January 1 2009.

Mr Kitt also set out the other policies the government has introduced to make buildings greener, which could have an impact on CIOB’s members.

Building Regulations have already been revised in 2007 to achieve a 40% improvement in primary energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions over 2005 standards,” he said.

“And for the first time ever, [they] include a mandatory requirement for the use of micro-renewable technologies in new dwellings.”

Planning exemptions for micro-renewables were also introduced in 2007, to tie in with the changes made to the Building Regulations.

Mr Kitt encouraged the industry to take advantage of the opportunities offered by sustainable construction.

“I urge you all to take every opportunity to upskill and adapt your approaches to building to address the new demands for sustainable construction, improved air-tightness, increased energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies together with best practice in the development of thriving, sustainable communities,” he said.

“In the process you will position yourselves to thrive also in the new era of environmentally sustainable construction, which is already with us and is here to stay.”

Kate Martin

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