Archived News

News
    European Green Capital Award 2019 & European Green Leaf Award 2018 Announced

    09 June 2017

    European Green Capital Award 2019 & European Green Leaf Award 2018 Announced

    The Norwegian city of Oslo has won the European Green Capital Award for 2019. Two cities were awarded the title of European Green Leaf 2018, the Belgian city of Leuven and the Swedish city of Växjö. These prestigious titles were awarded by the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, in Germany last week.

    The European Green Capital Award and the European Green Leaf Award recognise a city's commitment to a better urban environment. Cities with populations over 100,000 inhabitants are eligible to apply for the European Green Capital Award whereas the European Green Leaf Award is open to cities of between 20,000 and up to 100,000 inhabitants. As Secretariat for both awards, RPS manages the competition across the 28 Member States on behalf of the European Commission (DG Environment).

    European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella presenting the 2019 European Green Capital Award to Oslo’s Governing Mayor, Mr Raymond Johansen (Image: Rupert Oberhäuser)

    Winning cities must demonstrate well-established records of high environmental standards and a commitment to setting ambitious goals for future environmental progress, underpinned by the practical application of sustainable development. The awards have a particular focus on green growth and job creation. Winners act as ambassadors to inspire other cities and to promote best practices in pursuit of sustainable urban development. Oslo impressed the jury by working systematically to re-open waterways with 3,000 re-opened so far. Leuven focused on climate change and introduced actions to achieve its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030, whereas Växjö demonstrated strong leadership in sustainable development.

    Commissioner Vella presenting the 2018 European Green Leaf Award to Leuven’s Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohamed Ridouani and Växjö (Sweden) Mayor, Ms Anna Tenje (Image: Rupert Oberhäuser)

    Commissioner Vella said “I am delighted to be awarding the tenth European Green Capital Award and the fourth and fifth European Green Leaf Awards. More than two thirds of Europeans live in our cities and towns. The European Green Capital award shows us that cities can grow in size while keeping their green hearts beating. Good urban planning grows each time one city inspires another - that is the secret of the Green Capital Award.”

    Since the launch of the awards in 2008, ten cities have now won the European Green Capital Award: Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Copenhagen (2014), Bristol (2015), Ljubljana (2016), Essen (2017), Nijmegen (2018) and Oslo (2019).

    Five cities have now won a European Green Leaf award. In 2015 – the first year of the competition – Mollèt del Valles (Spain) and Torres Vedras (Portugal) received the award, followed by Galway (2017). The European Green Leaf Award 2018 goes to the cities of Leuven and Växjö.

    RPS manages the delivery of the two competitions as well as public awareness aspects. The competitions are annual events with the call for applications launching each May and the winning cities announced the following year in June.

    Contact:
    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

    >share
    New EPA Guides on Reuse and Waste Resource Exchange

    18 May 2017

    New EPA Guides on Reuse and Waste Resource Exchange

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released two guides to coincide with the launch of the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun by Minister for Communications, Climate and Environment, Denis Naughten TD. The guides were developed to support Ireland’s reuse culture and through research studies funded by the EPA.

    The reuse sector has grown steadily in Ireland in recent years, providing employment opportunities and developing a market place where a range of items from business and community throughout the public and private sector can be traded and exchanged in creative and imaginative ways. These guides help to highlight best practice and identify opportunities that the reuse sector provides to help extend the useful economic life of many items.

    From left to right: Dr. Sarah Miller (CEO Rediscovery Centre), Louise Connolly (RPS Report Author), Dr. Alice Wemaere (EPA Research Manager), Denis Naughten TD (Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment), Dr. Dorothy Stewart (EPA Project Manager) and Olivier Gaillot (RPS Report Author)

    One of the reports, entitled ‘A Review of Waste/Resource Exchange Systems and Good Practice Guide’, aims to encourage exchange on a wider scale. It offers businesses and other interested parties practical advice about setting up and implementing a waste/resource exchange system, including best practice guidelines.

    Louise Connolly, RPS, author of the Review Report, said:

    “A waste/resource exchange system enables the reuse or exchange of items that would otherwise become waste and potentially be sent to landfills. The aim of the good practice guide is to demonstrate how new and existing waste/resource exchange organisations can be set up and operated to the highest standards”

    The other guide, ‘Material Reuse Good Practice’ provides householders with the information necessary to identify items that have potential for reuse and recycling rather than replacement. Members of the reuse community in Ireland contributed to the project by sharing their knowledge and experience via surveys and interviews and by participating in workshops.

    Growth in the Reuse sector offers benefits for economy, society and the environment. Reuse brings together two areas, namely reuse and waste management to find ways to extend the useful life of items and in doing so prevent waste that will need to be managed/ disposed. Although Ireland’s recycling rate of 34% exceeds the EU28 average of 28%, there are opportunities to increase the level of Reuse to reduce the amount of waste going to overburdened and fewer landfills and the need for further resources to make more new products.

    Europe is moving from being a linear economy using a take – make – dispose model towards becoming a circular economy where resources are kept in use for as long as possible. This maximises value from resources whilst in use, and recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of each service life. Waste/Resource exchange systems are an evolving concept that support and deliver on the goals of the circular economy therefore it is important that a framework is in place in the form of a good practice guide and supporting factsheets to demonstrate how new and existing organisations can be set up and operate to the highest standards and to assist those engaging with waste/resource exchanges to do so in an informed and compliant manner.

    The study identified a number of barriers to waste/resource exchanges many of which are addressed in the good practice guide. Additional recommendations outlined in the final report focus on: the simplification of legislation and reduction of red tape, support on access to materials, promotion and awareness of existing supports, review of funding structures to facilitate long term strategy and planning, use of instruments/incentives/tools/templates to encourage reuse and waste resource exchange, a sectoral approach to (Business to Business) B2B waste/resource exchange and engagement with industry representative bodies and awareness support to B2B raw material selection/consideration.

    Contact:
    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

    >share
    GMIT & RPS Win Excellence in Education and Training Award

    10 May 2017

    GMIT & RPS Win Excellence in Education and Training Award

    GMIT and RPS were awarded the Excellence in Education and Training Award at the Irish Construction Industry Awards last night for “A Collaborative Academia-Industry Approach to Developing a Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling”.

    Willie Madden (RPS), Mark Costello (RPS), Gerard Nicholson (GMIT) and Dr. Mark Kelly (GMIT)

    The development, piloting and delivery of the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8) used an innovative educational approach informed by GMIT-RPS collaboration. A reciprocal learning framework was developed to merge industry best practice and feedback, curriculum innovation and evidence-based research into a set of learning resources for the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM. The learning environment encourages students to work as co-producers of knowledge to continuously improve the programme and address the interdisciplinary nature of BIM.

    To date over 80 RPS staff have undertaken modules on this new programme. Five people from our Galway office were the first to graduate from the course last November. Mark Costello, Lisa Haverty, Desmond Keane, David McHugh and Agnieszka Niedziela all graduated with honours.

    Des Keane, Agnieszka Niedziela, David McHugh, Willie Madden, Lisa Haverty, Mark Costello

    BIM focuses on creating a collaborative working environment, which places a digital model at the epicentre of the design, construction and operational process. This shared knowledge resource aims to form a reliable basis for decision-making during the life cycle of a project from earliest conception to ultimate end-of -life. BIM processes enable team members to explore a project’s key physical and functional characteristics digitally before it is built, helping to deliver projects faster, more economically and with reduced environmental impact.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

    >share
    GMIT & RPS Shortlisted for Excellence in Education and Training Award

    07 April 2017

    GMIT & RPS Shortlisted for Excellence in Education and Training Award

    GMIT / RPS have been shortlisted in the Irish Construction Industry Awards – Excellence in Education and Training Category for “A Collaborative Academia-Industry Approach to Developing a Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling”. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, 9th May.

    The international construction sector is undergoing significant change and with this, a new set of skills and competences are required for built environment-related graduates. One of the key drivers over the past few years has been the introduction of BIM and its focus on creating a collaborative working environment, which places a digital model at the epicentre of the design, construction and operational process. This shared knowledge resource aims to form a reliable basis for decision-making during the life cycle of a project from earliest conception to ultimate end-of -life. BIM processes will enable team members to explore a project’s key physical and functional characteristics digitally before it is built, helping to deliver projects faster, more economically and with reduced environmental impact.

    Recent BIM developments in the UK have challenged the construction sector to review their business models and practices to move away from adversarial relationships to collaborative ones and to identify cost reduction and innovation opportunities within the supply chain to provide better value for money. This led to a mandate that fully collaborative 3D Building Information Modelling (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) be an industry requirement by April 2016. The Irish Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC) has recently prepared a position paper for the purposes of inviting responses from industry. The position paper titled ‘A Public Sector BIM Adoption Strategy’ outlines the context and rationale for the adoption of BIM in Ireland and puts forward a proposed timeline for adoption.

    The development, piloting and delivering of the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8) utilised an innovative pedagogical approach informed by GMIT-RPS collaboration. A reciprocal learning framework was developed to merge industry best practice and feedback, curriculum innovation and evidence-based research into a set of learning resources for the Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM. The learning environment encourages students to work as co-producers of knowledge to continuously improve the programme and address the interdisciplinary nature of BIM. To date over 80 RPS staff have undertaken modules on this new programme.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

    >share
    ACEI Excellence Award Win for Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Crumlin Children’s Hospital

    03 April 2017

    ACEI Excellence Award Win for Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Crumlin Children’s Hospital

    The new Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin won the ACEI Design Excellence Award 2017 for Mechanical & Electrical Projects (Medium). The award was presented at the ACEI Awards Dinner on Friday 31st March.

    Left to right: Richard Crowe (ACEI President), Andrew Mulhall (RPS), Padraic Brennan (RPS) Sineád Hughes (MOLA Architecture), Ian Smillie (Clancy Construction) and Niall Donohoe (RPS). Image: Colm Mahady

    This €5.6m state-of-the-art laboratory is the only fully equipped paediatric cardiology service on the island of Ireland. It allows cardiologists to treat young children with heart defects by performing catheter-based procedures and if necessary, surgeons to perform open-heart surgery. It minimises risks of infection and provides more timely access to critical interventions.

    The project consists of a three-storey development measuring 545 sq m and the third floor is an internal plantroom. A link bridge was constructed to join the new facility with the existing theatre block. Construction work was carried out in a live hospital campus adjacent to the existing operating theatres.

    The RPS Dublin building services team were appointed as the contractor’s mechanical and electrical consulting engineer, and designed the mechanical and electrical services for the new facility. This involved careful phasing of works and meticulous attention to detail to ensure the continuity of critical services in a live hospital environment during construction. The mechanical and electrical design was carried out in a Federated BIM Level 2 model. The project was delivered on time and within budget in 2016 through the use of building information modelling (BIM) by our multidisciplinary project team.

     
     

    The complexity and volume of medical equipment to be installed in the catheterisation laboratory necessitated 3D modelling of all equipment to ensure it does not interfere with the air distribution patterns, which were critical to the hospital and their infection control department.

    The successful completion of the design build project on time and within budget was a very efficient use of capital investment to create essential health infrastructure for the nation’s children.

    Contact:
    Gerry Cullen
    E: gerry.cullen@rpsgroup.com

    Andrew Mulhall
    E: andrew.mulhall@rpsgroup.com

     

    >share
    SEA & AA for Second Cycle River Basin Management Plan

    31 March 2017

    SEA & AA for Second Cycle River Basin Management Plan

    RPS has been appointed by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to assist with the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the 2nd Cycle River Basin Management Plan [RBMP].

    This 2nd Cycle RBMP aims to build on the progress made during the 1st Cycle Plans and it will set out Ireland’s approach to protecting and restoring the water environment as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), 2000/60/EC. The RBMP will cover the period from 2018 to 2022.

    In the first cycle, measures included licensing of urban waste water discharges and associated investment in urban waste water treatment and the implementation of the Nitrates Action Programme (through the Good Agricultural Practice Regulations S.I. 31 of 2014). However, it has been acknowledged that the development and implementation of supporting measures during the first cycle was not sufficiently progressed and changes were needed to effect the kind of outcomes needed to achieve the objectives of the WFD. These changes relate to governance and administration of measures, a better knowledge base for focussed investment and realistic levels of ambition tied to available resources.

    The SEA and AA for the second cycle RBMP process commenced in early 2016 and a key milestone was the completion of the SEA Environmental Report and Natura Impact Statement which were put on public display in February 2017 alongside the Draft 2nd Cycle RBMP. The three documents are available at: http://www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-quality/river-basin-management-plans/public-consultation-draft-river-basin-management

    The RPS SEA and AA teams evaluated the Draft RBMP and the likely significant effects on the environment. Our reports set out measures envisaged to prevent, reduce and as far as possible offset any significant adverse effects on the environment likely to be caused by implementing the RBMP.

    Submissions in respect of the Draft RBMP are invited from the public by Thursday, 31st August 2017.

    Contact:
    Dr. Antonia Gaughran
    E: antonia.gaughran@rpsgroup.com

    >share
    Galway City Launched as European Green Leaf 2017

    16 March 2017

    Galway City Launched as European Green Leaf 2017

    Galway was officially launched as the 2017 European Green Leaf at a conferring ceremony at City Hall recently.

    The European Green Leaf Award is an initiative of the European Commission and was launched in 2015 building on the success of the European Green Capital Award. The Green Leaf competition is aimed at smaller cities with 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants that show a strong commitment to green growth, sustainable urban environment and ambitious plans for the future.

    Galway is the first Irish city to receive this title. It was awarded to two cities in 2015, the Spanish city of Mollet del Vallès and the Portuguese city of Torres Vedras.

    RPS was reappointed by the EU Commission in October 2016 as Secretariat for European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards to manage the awards in terms of technical assessment and communications.

    From left to right: Louise Connolly, Barry Walsh, Serena Byrne, Brenda McEvoy (all RPS), Ben Caspar and Joanna Drake (EU Commission), Cllr. Noel Larkin (Galway City Council Mayor), Nicole Wanders-Wengler (EU Commission), PJ Rudden (RPS) and Brendan McGrath (CEO Galway City Council)
    Image: Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

    Speaking at the event, Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General DG Environment said that Galway can become an ‘ambassador for change in Europe’. She commended Galway’s application and success in winning the Green Leaf Award for having highlighted a sustainable approach, holistic methods, strategic goals and adopting a long term approach.

    “European Green Leaf not only celebrates our past environmental achievements, but also challenges our city to continually improve the quality of life of our citizens and reduce our impact on the global environment,” said Dr. Sharon Carroll, Project Co-ordinator for Galway’s Green Leaf 2017 programme. “Galway city has always led the way with environmental initiatives, from our progressive waste management practices to our active education and awareness programmes. The European Green Leaf jury recognised the potential of Galway city to act as a green ambassador and to promote the concepts of sustainable cities and sustainable communities throughout Europe.”

    A series of projects and events will be delivered as part of Galway City's European Green leaf year and more information is available on the Galway City Council website here. Galway is also designated a European Region of Gastronomy 2018 and European Capital of Culture 2020.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

    Louise Connolly
    E: louise.connolly@rpsgroup.com

    >share
    RPS BIM Director Awarded BRE Academy Fellowship

    24 February 2017

    RPS BIM Director Awarded BRE Academy Fellowship

    Mark Costello has been awarded BRE Academy Fellowship. This is “the highest level of BRE Academy membership awarded upon recognition of significant activity within the industry. Fellowship is awarded to those who have demonstrated an extremely high level of success or achievement in their chosen field. As leaders in their fields, Fellows will have undertaken notable projects or have made a special contribution to their profession”.

    In 2009, RPS identified BIM as a key industry development. Mark established a BIM committee and piloted BIM within RPS. He has been instrumental in providing a new approach to BIM education and training in Ireland. He has collaborated with local academic institutions to develop suitable BIM training programmes to enable upskilling. Mark is co-author of a number of research papers on the subject of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

    Collaboration between RPS and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) has resulted in the development of an industry orientated Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM (Level 8 on the National Framework) to train designers to meet Level 2 BIM requirements. Over 60 RPS staff are currently registered on this training programme.

    RPS also achieved Level 2 BIM Business Systems Certification from BRE Global in January 2016, recognising our ability to deliver projects in a BIM Level 2 environment for our clients. The certification assesses the BIM policy and capability of the business as defined within PAS 1192-2:2013 and PAS 91 as well as assessing the ability of the business to meet the requirements of an employer to carry out a BIM capability assessment. In the UK, centrally procured public sector projects require the implementation of BIM at Level 2 since April 2016.

    The BRE Academy is the leading international provider of blended learning training and education programmes for professionals and employers. It is the lifelong learning extension of BRE, a world leading multi-disciplinary building science based company, whose mission is to improve the built environment through research and knowledge generation.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

    >share
    RPS Ecologist Contributes to Royal Irish Academy Proceedings

    22 February 2017

    RPS Ecologist Contributes to Royal Irish Academy Proceedings

    Image: Royal Irish Academy

    Caroline Wynne, RPS Senior Freshwater Ecologist has co-edited a special issue of Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy on the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

    The Water Framework Directive (WFD) has provided a structure for integrated water resource management across the European Union over the last fifteen years. Here in Ireland, our implementation of this directive has been underpinned by a substantial body of scientific research on water body classification, characterisation and management.

    In recent years, a sizeable body of further research underpinning implementation of the WFD has been undertaken, much of it funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). RPS is involved in many aspects of this research working with EPA Catchment Unit and the Ecological Monitoring Unit.

    The Biology and Environment Special Issue on the WFD presents diverse research that draws on learning from the first cycle of Water Framework Directive (WFD) river basin management planning and develops an evidence base and new tools for decision-making that are informing the second planning cycle. It will be officially launched at this year's ENVIRON conference on 10th April, with a special session also devoted to selected papers from the issue.

    The articles can be viewed at:
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3318/biolenviprocria.116b.issue-3

    Contact:
    Caroline Wynne
    E: caroline.wynne@rpsgroup.com

    >share
    Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Crumlin Hospital Shortlisted for ACEI Excellence Award 2017

    20 February 2017

    Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Crumlin Hospital Shortlisted for ACEI Excellence Award 2017

    The new Hybrid Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and Orthopaedic Theatre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin in Dublin has been shortlisted for the ACEI Design Excellence Award 2017.

    This €5.6m state-of-the-art laboratory is the only fully equipped paediatric cardiology service on the island of Ireland. It allows cardiologists to treat young children with heart defects by performing catheter-based procedures and if necessary, surgeons to perform open-heart surgery. It minimises risks of infection and provides more timely access to critical interventions. The project is shortlisted for the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) Mechanical & Electrical Design Excellence Award 2017 and the winner will be announced the ACEI Annual Dinner and Awards on 31st March.

    The design build project was delivered on time and within budget in 2016 through the use of building information modelling (BIM) by a multidisciplinary project team including RPS as mechanical and electrical consulting engineer. The project consists of a three-storey development measuring 545 sq m and the third floor is an internal plantroom containing the M&E equipment necessary to serve the building. A link bridge was constructed to join the new facility with the existing theatre block. Construction work was carried out in a live hospital campus adjacent to the existing operating theatres.

    As Contractor’s Designer to Clancy Construction, our Building Services team designed the mechanical and electrical services for the new facility. This involved careful phasing of works and meticulous attention to detail to ensure the continuity of critical services in a live hospital environment during construction. The mechanical and electrical design was carried out in a Federated BIM Level 2 model.

    The complexity and volume of medical equipment to be installed in the catheterisation laboratory necessitated 3D modelling of all equipment to ensure it does not interfere with the air distribution patterns, which were critical to the hospital and their infection control department.

    The facility has already won two awards at the Irish Construction Industry Awards in 2016, the Health Project of the Year and the overall prize Construction Project of the Year. The successful completion of the design build project on time and within budget was a very efficient use of capital investment to create essential health infrastructure for the nation’s children.

    Contact:
    Gerry Cullen
    E: gerry.cullen@rpsgroup.com

    >share