Our Commitment

We appreciate that we have a responsibility towards our clients, the planet and future users of our projects.  We take this seriously – driving forward sustainability as a key objective in the design of all our projects and how we run our studio.

We believe it is important to walk the walk and have committed to reduce our carbon footprint. We have achieved EcoMerit environmental management certification (which is independently verified) and our company One Planet Action Plan has now been submitted for peer review.

We as a company understand that we have a responsibility towards our clients, our planet and the future users of our projects. We are committed to reducing and mitigating the impacts of Climate change, through reducing our carbon footprint, striving to become a zero carbon company. We intend to achieve this with the assistance of two Environmental Management systems, the EcoMerit Certification and the One Planet Living Framework.

One Planet Living

The One Planet Living framework is designed to support you to create a ‘One Planet Action Plan’ that acts as a route map towards a more sustainable future for the organisation. It engages with Ten Principles that cover the three characteristics of sustainability social, environmental and economic sustainability. The Action Plan Training provides detailed goals and guidance documents – these provide advice and ideas on the goals, actions, targets and indicators you could set for your ‘One Planet Action Plan’ – this is your plan to achieve One Planet Living. We are currently on our One Planet Living journey and our One Planet Action Plan has now been submitted for peer review.


We have obtained the EcoMerit certification and are currently going through the process of monitoring our progress as part of it. EcoMerit is an Irish Sustainability certification company with the objective to assist businesses in reaching more sustainable standards, which would result in a range of benefits to the environment and the company itself. It encourages companies to commit to reducing the environmental impacts of their processes, taking the commitment into their own hands as well as providing certain benefits such as reducing their costs and managing risk. As an organisation we are currently undergoing the certification process and procedures to create a more sustainable environment within our office.

EcoMerit Certified Company

Our Sustainability Journey

Helena McElmeel Architects Sustainability Journey


Passive Building Design

Low energy and passive design principles are core to the practice’s design ethos, and the office has three in-house Certified Passive House Designers. Helena has been involved in the design and delivery of numerous low energy and passive buildings over the past eight years. She is a Certified Passive House Designer and has a MSc. Architecture in Advanced Energy & Environmental Studies. Helena won the RIAI 3Twenty10 Research Competition for her research relating to monitoring of residential buildings before and after insulation upgrades. Her extensive research and study in this area informs all our projects.

Home Performance Index

The Home Performance Index Certification is a national certification for new homes developed by the Irish Green Building Council. It is specifically designed for residential developments and it aligns to Irish building regulations, EU CEN standards and international WELL certification for communities. We have a Certified Home Performance Index Assessor on our team.

Embodied Carbon

Over ten percent of all global emissions are associated with the upfront embodied CO₂ emissions from new construction. As improved building standards for both residential and non-residential buildings are reducing their operating CO₂ emissions, the upfront embodied carbon now represents a higher percentage of the overall impact of the building on our environment, up to 50% in some cases. At Helena McElmeel Architects we are committed to reducing this impact by reducing the embodied carbon on our projects.


The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of buildings that impact human health and wellbeing. The standard can be applied to buildings, interior spaces and communities and these are assessed through a number of features including air, water, nourishment, light, movement, comfort, sound, materials, mind and community. There are two WELL Accredited Professionals  on our team.

Research & Monitoring Buildings

As part of our commitment to sustainable design, the practice is involved in on-going research, including recent research on the RIAI 2030 Climate Challenge. Helena is a RIAI Sustainability Taskforce Member and a member of the Board of the Passive House Association of Ireland.  She won the RIAI 3Twenty10 Research competition for her work relating to housing insulation and is also a Lecturer in NUI Galway teaching architecture and urban planning part-time.  The practice is also involved in monitoring existing buildings for research purposes, and to inform brief development and strategies within these buildings. Through research, we aim to have a deeper understanding of the client’s current environment and the requirements for their proposed projects.

Post Occupancy / Building Performance Evaluation

Following the completion of a project, it is important to understand how well a building is performing, particularity in the first 1-3 years. We work closely with clients to understand how their building is performing and identify any areas where improvements can be made in how the building is being used. Building Performance Evaluations can include building occupant satisfaction evaluation reports, energy monitoring, internal air quality monitoring, and thermal comfort monitoring.  The practice is licensed to provide Building Use Studies (BUS) Methodology Occupant Satisfaction Evaluations including the BUS Wellbeing Survey for workplaces, approved by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

BUS Methodology