As noted here frequently, 37 percent of all carbon emissions come from the construction and built environment sector. 23 percent of this is due to the operation of a building over the lifecycle, for example, the heating, lighting and cooling of our buildings. The remaining 14 percent accounts for the embodied carbon, i.e. the carbon emissions resulting from the production and transport of construction materials, and the maintenance, repair and ultimate disposal of buildings and infrastructure.

The Joint Houses of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage recently published a report on ‘Embodied Carbon in the Built Environment’. This report is in response to the  government’s stated need to address climate change in the context of property, construction and infrastructure. Under Housing for All, the State has committed to the delivery of 400,000 new homes, however, under current traditional construction methodologies, meeting this demand could push emissions from the built environment to three times the national target by 2030, with embodied carbon expected to increase by a factor of 5 in the same timeframe, according to a recently published report from the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC). This is clearly unsustainable. In order to meet the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 commitments of net zero carbon by 2050 and to achieve a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Ireland needs to change how housing is delivered. 

Earlier this summer we shared the findings of a study conducted by academics from the University of Cambridge and Edinburgh Napier University, which demonstrated conclusively that offsite and other modern methods of construction (MMC) reduce the overall carbon footprint of a building by almost a half. You can read the details of this study here:

The Oireachtas report shows an understanding by the State that offsite and other modern methods of construction offer the best hope of increasing housing delivery, while reducing carbon emissions. Two of the recommendations in the report are as follows:

(1) That the Department engages further with Enterprise Ireland to prioritise the support of those indigenous industries specialising in modern methods of construction with the aim of reducing embodied carbon.

(2) That the Department engages with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform/Office of Government Procurement to prioritise the development of revised public procurement rules that encourage and emphasise the use of low-carbon construction materials.

Construction Waste

The reduction of demolition and construction waste is another key focus of the Oireachtas report, which is unsurprising given that the traditional construction industry accounts for 48 percent of all waste generated in Ireland. Unlike traditional construction, offsite and other modern methods of construction provides a more streamlined process, ensuring waste is close to eliminated. To learn more about how offsite construction contributes to the achievement of net zero, click here: 

Also, you can read the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage Embodied Carbon in the Built Environment, October 2022 report here: 

About Horizon Offsite

Horizon Offsite Ltd is one of Europe’s leading players in Offsite Construction and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), providing a fully accredited structural light gauge steel system to the residential, industrial, commercial, healthcare and educational sectors. Contact the Horizon Offsite team at