Navan Credit Union – in Action

//Navan Credit Union – in Action

Navan Credit Union – in Action

“The future must be green or we won’t have a future,” says Paul Leech, Ecotect, Architect and Engineer. A man passionate about promoting sustainable construction in Ireland. Paul is principal director of architects GAIA Ecotecture and a founding member of éasca, the Environmental and Sustainable Construction Association, which was set up to promote the viability of sustainable construction in Ireland. Paul believes Ireland’s commitment to reducing national emissions levels under the Kyoto Protocol is beginning to force the hand of the construction industry. Éasca was formed to respond to this growing demand for information on services, materials and technologies geared towards high levels of energy efficiency, occupant health and comfort and environmental performance.

Techno optimism

Paul believes that Ireland has to take the challenge of sustainable construction seriously. “The imminence of the threat is intellectually clear, it’s not politically or commercially clear, because of the vested interests, but it is understood.” His message is to embrace sustainable construction now: “Just do it! Don’t sit around talking about it because we don’t have time. If we don’t do something our children and their children will be facing the equivalent of the New Orleans disaster in Ireland.” But Paul is also a techno optimist: “I believe we can cleverly get through the crisis. I think the country is changing, in the last five years there’s a new vigour, a new confidence.”

Project: Navan Credit Union

St Mary’s Credit Union in Navan, Co. Meath (NCU) is Ireland’s most innovative sustainable building to date and Ireland’s first 5-storey timber-frame building. It was one of a handful of cutting-edge projects selected for presentation at the World Sustainable Building Conference in Tokyo. NCU has also been nominated for the Galvanizing Awards.

GAIA Ecotecture took a holistic approach to the building’s design, engineering and construction. They wanted the new building to act as a living structure, its natural elements interacting and adapting to the needs of the building’s users and the challenges thrown up by shifting weather conditions.

Strategic steel

“It’s a solar building, the apex is south facing and the steel is strategic. We used galvanized steel to set up the ‘Abraham Screen’ which supports the overhang of the topmost level of the brise soleil and provides deciduous shading, allowing Wisteria to climb along three levels. In years to come, the Wisteria will grow and it should turn into a green bower. It’s a highly engineered space, the cybernetically controlled vents at the top allow solar gain in winter and none in summer. The plant room is a solar roof with a solar chimney. At the north duct, we used pre-galvanized cold-pressed sections to keep the embodied energy down to the absolute minimum. The whole ductwork is galvanized steel and runs to the solar chimney, a lot of the solar panels are bedded in galvanized steel.”

Paul admits that sometimes they refuse work that doesn’t comply with their ethos and that it can be tough. But he believes that the business opportunities and technical innovation are an earner. “Ireland is finding it hard to see the reality of the sustainable agenda. We have a buoyant economy but we don’t yet have a fair society. People who have the know-how to do things in an ecological way are going to get market share ultimately or we won’t have either.

World Sustainable Building Conference in Tokyo. NCU has also been nominated for the Galvanizing Awards.

GAIA Ecotecture took a holistic approach to the building’s design, engineering and construction. They wanted the new building to act as a living structure, its natural elements interacting and adapting to the needs of the building’s users and the challenges thrown up by shifting weather conditions.

Strategic steel

“It’s a solar building, the apex is south facing and the steel is strategic. We used galvanized steel to set up the ‘Abraham Screen’ which supports the overhang of the topmost level of the brise soleil and provides deciduous shading, allowing Wisteria to climb along three levels. In years to come, the Wisteria will grow and it should turn into a green bower. It’s a highly engineered space, the cybernetically controlled vents at the top allow solar gain in winter and none in summer. The plant room is a solar roof with a solar chimney. At the north duct, we used pre-galvanized cold-pressed sections to keep the embodied energy down to the absolute minimum. The whole ductwork is galvanized steel and runs to the solar chimney, a lot of the solar panels are bedded in galvanized steel.”

Paul admits that sometimes they refuse work that doesn’t comply with their ethos and that it can be tough. But he believes that the business opportunities and technical innovation are an earner. “Ireland is finding it hard to see the reality of the sustainable agenda. We have a buoyant economy but we don’t yet have a fair society. People who have the know-how to do things in an ecological way are going to get market share ultimately or we won’t have either.

By |2018-05-23T09:10:11+00:00August 15th, 2016|Categories: Case Study Galvanizing|0 Comments