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This study explores the path to be taken towards achieving Sustainable Development. It examines the impact the construction industry has on the environment as a result of a knowledge and skills gap and considers how our present way of thinking facilitates this. It then goes on to show how a change in construction education can bring about change in the industry and facilitate the implementation of sustainable development. The study examines how the singular emphasis on technology, the introduction of the ‘expert’ into the domestic building process and the narrow focus on operational energy conservation raises questions about Ireland's present path towards Sustainable Development. It will provide clear definitions for ‘sustainable building’. It will outline the significance of the 'local' and the ‘occupant’ in the sustainable building process. It will highlight conflicting sustainable philosophies and examines why the Irish construction industry has to go beyond Part L in order to align itself with Sustainable Development goals.
In order to ensure the success of the drive towards a sustainable economy in Ireland it is imperative that societal change occurs. This study concentrates on the recently depleted Irish construction sector and the potential for a new direction in the industry based on a sustainable ecological approach. The following hypothesis is presented; that in order to ensure Sustainable Development a paradigm shift which forms the fundamental attitudes that we hold concerning the environment must take place. This paper will look at how higher level education may be the entry point where attitudes can be greatly influenced in parallel with the dissemination of knowledge and skills. While outlining why the construction industry must take a lead role in the change towards a sustainable economy this paper looks at how and why the educational process itself must also change in order to embed sustainable development, its philosophy and ethos in the construction sector.
McManus, C. (2016) Education for sustainable development- the Irish construction sector and the need for a sustainable approach. Masters thesis, DIT, 2016.