Connecting Business – Growing Opportunities

Scottish Exporter to Ireland of the Year

Ahead of the Causeway Awards 2022, we interviewed last year's Scottish Exporter to Ireland of the Year winners, Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES)'s CEO and Founder, Don McLean to share with us the value of a Scottish business trading and operating in Ireland.

The Scottish Exporter of the Year Award celebrates a Scottish business that has made a big impact in Ireland, by either expanding business operations across the Irish Sea, or by exporting products or services in to Ireland / Northern Ireland.  The 2021 Award, was kindly sponsored by Envision Management Consultants.


Congratulations on winning Scottish Exporter to Ireland of the Year 2021! Can you tell what it meant for IES to have received this recognition from Causeway: Ireland Scotland Business Exchange at our flagship annual awards?

It’s a great honour to have been awarded Causeway’s Scottish Exporter to Ireland Award in amongst such a high calibre of nominees. IES has for a long time fostered great connections between Scotland and Ireland, and so it’s great to see that recognised with this award.


Can you tell us more about the back story of Integrated Environmental Solutions? What IES does, and when first expanded your operations and growth to Ireland?

IES is a world-leading climate tech provider that supports the decarbonisation of buildings and cities around the world. The company was initially founded in Glasgow in 1994, on the basis of three key observations:

  1. Buildings are major consumers of energy and must be made more efficient to cut CO2 emissions, conserve fossil fuels and preserve the environment for future generations.

  2. Historically buildings were generally designed on experience and simplistic performance calculations, even though performance-based building simulation had been proven to create buildings that consume significantly less energy.

  3. Such building performance tools were too complex and remained in the hands of academics, making little impact on mainstream commercial design.

Over the past 27 years, we have consistently pushed the boundaries of building simulation and digital twin technology, providing world class solutions to help analyse and take action towards decarbonising buildings, campuses, portfolios and cities around the world.

In that time, the company has grown substantially and today we have offices in North America, Australia, India, Singapore and, of course, Ireland. Our Dublin office initially opened in 2007 and is now home to a world leading consultancy team as well as our dedicated research and development company, IES R&D Ltd., which launched in 2017.


What have been the key benefits of your Scottish business opening an office in Dublin?

There have been many benefits to opening our office in Dublin, Firstly, Dublin is home to a sizeable and well-established building performance community, not least due to the great academic programmes offered here. Not only has this given us access to some great talent within our industry, it also means we are well positioned to support what has grown to be a significant client base for IES in this region, through our Irish consultancy division.

Secondly, IES is involved in a vast range of collaborative funded research projects across a number of UK and European programmes. Therefore, having our IES R&D operations headquartered in Dublin has also been vital in allowing us to provide flexibility to existing and potential new Research Partners, by allowing them to apply for research funding either through our European company (IES R&D) or in the UK. Given that we invest over a quarter of our revenue into R&D, this is crucial in allowing us to maximise opportunities in the research space in order to continue delivering the most cutting-edge technology and strategies for built environments around the world.

What, in your opinion, are the strengths of the Scotland-Ireland-Northern Ireland relationship for business?

As a company that values collaborative partnerships as a key factor in our success, we feel that the relationship between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland is an extremely valuable one. These three nations have very strong economic, community and cultural ties which provide a great foundation for business and invaluable opportunities to share lessons learned. If there is to be any chance of reaching global decarbonisation targets in the next few decades, nations need to work together. Therefore, as a business we are grateful to be in a position where we are able to have a positive influence within multiple regions across not only the UK and Ireland, but around the globe.

Are there any key challenges currently facing your business?

The biggest challenge for us right now is recruiting the skilled workers we need, at both the scale and pace required, to help meet our ambitious growth plans.

Are there any key projects or further growth plans for IES in 2022?

2022 is a year of significant growth for IES as we soon cross the threshold from SME to a Large Company. We’re currently recruiting for multiple positions within the UK and Ireland (not to mention within our other global divisions) to support these plans and accelerate our mission in helping to deliver decarbonised built environments (whether single buildings, portfolios, communities or cities) the world over.


We have lots of exciting global projects in the pipeline for 2022 and we’re looking forward to continuing to support our customers and partners in striving for the best in building performance. A notable project to watch out for will be our ongoing work with the city of Limerick as we support them towards their bold city vision of reaching positive energy by 2050. You can also follow what else we’re working on by keeping an eye on our content platform, DiscoverIES, for all our latest news, insights and project case studies.

Is your business interested in being showcased at our Causeway Awards 2022?

Submit a nomination now! 

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