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Better Homes 2020 - Green Homes-Green Finance

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27th November 2020


Date(s) - 27/11/2020
9:00 am - 11:30 am

Green Finance – Green Homes


We cannot meet climate neutrality with just energy efficiency. Meeting the housing need in Ireland will have its own impact adding over one and a half million tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere each year just from construction-related activity.


This year’s Better Homes Conference looks at the imperative to fully decarbonise new home building across the full life cycle in order to meet the Paris Agreement. Better homes means zero carbon homes across the full life cycle in car free 15minute walkable communities.


How can the finance sector help us get there? What impact will the new EU Taxonomy have? What will be the impact of Covid 19 on the design of homes?



  • 9.00am: Introduction
  • 9.20am: Minister Darragh O’Brien 
  • 9.30am: Niels Kristien Johne, Pension Denmark
    • Sustainability is now a major concern for institutional investors. How are European pension funds driving change? Why is embodied carbon and Life cycle assessment now considered essential to the investment process?
  • 9.45am: Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects
    • Net Zero is a hot topic globally, but what does net Zero look like for dense apartment developments? Case study on climate positive apartments.
  • 10.00am: Laura Heuston, Sustainability Works
    • The EU taxonomy regulations were approved by the European Parliament in 2020. How will this impact the mortgage market and investment in Green homes and help transition to net Zero and move beyond just energy efficiency?
  • 10.15am: Panel Discussion
    • Phelim O’Neill, Land Development Agency
    • Khurram Shahzad, Sisk Living
    • What is the direction of travel for investment in new homes for Ireland? What impact will Green Taxonomy have for investment? Are we ready to leave nZEB behind for Net Zero and holistic assessment of environmental impacts?
  • End 11.15

This conference is part of the SMARTER initiative funded by EU Horizon 2020 program grant no. No.847141




Niels Kristian Johne, PensionDanmark

Niels has worked as project manager for the Danish Pension Fund PensionDanmark for the last 5 years, building their real estate portfolio. The focus has been greenfield development of residential buildings with a sustainable profile. Niels has a masters in Economics from the University of Copenhagen and has worked with real estate financing for the last 25 years for Danish and international banks. Niels is on the European Advisory board of the Smarter finance project.


Laura Heuston, Sustainability Works

An accountant and tax expert by training, Laura pivoted her career to focus on renewable energy and sustainable finance. She has worked with many companies in the sustainable energy sector on international M&A transactions, finance and corporate structures. Laura has in-depth knowledge of the global sustainable finance landscape and has used this knowledge to raise awareness in Ireland around the jobs and business opportunities linked to this sector. Laura previously worked with KPMG, Airtricity, and Sustainable Nation Ireland.


Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Darragh is an elected TD for the constituency of Dublin-Fingal. Prior to his election to the Dáil in 2007, he worked mainly in Financial Services. He was elected to Seanad Éireann in 2011. He has held various positions within the Oireachtas including Opposition Frontbench Spokesperson on Dublin, Foreign Affairs and Housing. Minister O’Brien is committed to examining the best way forward in terms of housing and accommodation solutions and enabling people to live fulfilling lives, in a safe, sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.


Phelim O’Neill, Land Development Agency

Phelim is Head of Property at the LDC, previously he held senior positions at the National Asset Management Agency including Head of Property and Development and Senior Divisional Manager (NAMA). Prior to joining NAMA he worked in the property industry in various development and project management roles.


Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects

Andrew is a founding director of Waugh Thistleton Architects, a practice dedicated to designing buildings and places of the highest architectural quality that acknowledge their impact on the environment. He is a world renowned spokesman for low-impact materials and innovative methods in architecture. A pivotal player in the global uptake of engineered timber, Andrew is known for his research and leadership on sustainability and lobbies and lectures internationally, communicating the urgent need for change to mitigate the climate crisis.


Khurram Shahzad, Design Manager, Sisk Living

Khurram’s area of expertise is Building Design, BCAR, Sustainability and Green Building. He is a Civil Engineer with masters in CPM from Queens University, he is also HPI Assessor and certified Passive House Designer. Currently, he is progressing with another postgraduate qualification in NZEB Design. Khurram is a Design Manager in Sisk Living since 2019. Recently 3 projects completed by Sisk Living under Khurram’s supervision were awarded HPI certification including Silver for Convent Lands and certified for Dunller and Craddockstown’


This conference counts for 2.5 RIAI CPD Points

Irish Green Building Council
Contact Email: Contact Phone:
(01) 681586
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