Sustainable Development

East Border Region > Sustainable Development

We hear a lot of buzz words like ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’, but what do these terms actually mean?


Sustainable development is defined as being “a model of development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Basically, sustainable development means living within our environmental limits.

Why is sustainable development important?

Over the last 20 years we’ve realised that the way we currently live is unsustainable. As the world’s population grows it’s placing an increasing burden on the planet. Destroying the rainforests has led to a loss of biodiversity. Our overuse of natural resources like coal, oil and gas means that they are beginning to run out. The pollution created by burning these fossil fuels puts greenhouse gases like Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. This causes climate change which has a devastating effect on our environment. If we want to secure our own future, and that of future generations, we have to act now to change the way we live – before it’s too late.

Role of government

Governments have an important role to play in sustainable development by reducing the effects their economies have on the environment. Legislation on climate change is still evolving, but under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol 150 nations committed to reducing the global rate of greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2012.

What can we do?

We can help to make a difference by making sustainable choices in our lives. Recycling our household waste, switching to a green energy provider and improving our home’s energy efficiency are just some of the simple things we can do. It’s the responsibility of each of us to think about the effect our lifestyle choices are having on the environment. If everyone acts together then we can achieve much more than by acting alone. Think globally act locally.

How does sustainable development apply to building?

The environmental impact of building is often underestimated. Buildings account for about 40% of Europe’s total energy consumption. Constructing and maintaining buildings uses an enormous amount of energy, water, and materials and creates a large amount of waste. Buildings have a direct effect on their surroundings and their construction can disrupt established ecosystems. Once built, living comfortably inside these buildings creates a whole new set of environmental problems and challenges.

What is sustainable design?

As we become more aware of the environmental impact of buildings we’ve begun to think about how to address these issues. The result is the growing field of sustainable design.

Sustainable design aims to reduce the impact which building construction and operation has on the environment.

This is achieved by using resources more efficiently and using more environmentally-aware methods of planning, construction, renovation, maintenance and demolition.

Sustainable Development in the East Border Region

Sustainable development is a key issue in the East Border Region (EBR). Through Interreg IV the East Border Region Committee is working throughout EBR to ensure balanced and sustainable development on a cross border basis. This will enhance the quality of life of those living in EBR by creating jobs and increasing the prosperity of the region.

Who can help?

To find out more about sustainable development in the EBR contact:

Current projects in EBR

A number of sustainable development initiatives are already underway within EBR. Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) is establishing a sustainable energy community programme in Dundalk called Dundalk 2020. The project aims to act on every aspect of community life to create a shift in energy use towards sustainable energy. Energy efficient housing developments have already gone to market. Dundalk Institute of Technology has set a precedent by becoming the first college campus in the world to have a large scale wind turbine.

Conservation and restoration projects have taken place in Lurgan , the Mournes and County Monaghan. In each of these projects the heritage of the local area has been maintained resulting in growth and development within the area. Through these projects sustainable design is protecting the region’s history in order to secure its future.