Irish firm in UK green scheme

Published on 16 September, 2007. By John Reynolds

A 100-year-old Irish construction firm has made the shortlist to build Britain’s first carbon neutral housing scheme next year.

MJ Gleeson, which was founded in 1903 by Galway bricklayer Michael Joseph Gleeson, has outlined plans for a pioneering £35m (€53m) green homes scheme on the site of a listed former hospital building on the outskirts of Bristol in south-west England.

The company, which is now chaired by Dermot Gleeson, built airfields and hospitals throughout the Second World War and then motorways and power stations throughout Britain during the Sixties and Seventies.

If approved, MJ Gleeson’s plans involve the construction of 150 homes on the site as part of a ‘carbon challenge,’ which has been set by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He is keen to demonstrate that all new homes built there can meet with new rules he passed earlier this year for all new homes to be “zero carbon” by 2016.

The firm’s timber-framed green home designs will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero and will save the average family £600 (€900) on annual energy bills.

The homes will feature super-efficient insulation and triple-glazing, while heating will be provided by a combination of biomass boilers and solar water heating.

Power will be partly supplied by wind turbines, while water will be conserved using grey water and rainwater recycling for garden and bathroom use.

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