Lawler Sustainability took home the 2023 SEAI Energy Award for Excellence in Energy Research & Innovation.

L-R: Marion O’Brien, Director of Corporate Services at SEAI presenting the Excellence in Energy Research and Innovation Award to Laura McMahon and Daniel Ring; of Lawler Sustainability at SEAI Energy Awards 2023
L-R: Marion O’Brien, Director of Corporate Services at SEAI presenting the Excellence in Energy Research and Innovation Award to Laura McMahon and Daniel Ring; of Lawler Sustainability at SEAI Energy Awards 2023.

This award is aimed at organisations that have researched and developed innovative energy-related technologies, processes, or systems, which will contribute significantly to Ireland’s clean energy transition. 

Lawler Sustainability is a sustainability consulting service providing the delivery of energy upgrade projects and the maintenance of those projects.

Separately, they have a technology platform, Vision, that carries out energy management and monitoring within buildings.

They are based in County Kilkenny with 50 people employed across Lawler Consulting and Lawler Sustainability.

The project

The research project is an EU Horizon project called SmartSPIN – it’s a European acronym. It aims to bridge the difficulty that is seen in the property market where properties won't be upgraded, renovated and decarbonised at the rate needed because they sit in the landlord-tenant realm.

There's huge concern around buildings and their carbon footprint – 23% of Ireland’s carbon emissions result from operational emissions to heat, light and cool our buildings, according to the Irish Green Building Council.

Lawler Sustainability proposed a new pay-as-you-save energy efficiency model that will help landlords and tenants save money on energy costs. This is also known as Energy Efficiency As A Service (EEaAS). They used 30 Herbert Street, Dublin as a pilot site for this project.

The capital costs are to be recovered from both landlord and tenant over an agreed service period based on avoided energy spend. The concept is to start with low / no cost initiatives then move to deeper engineering and fabric upgrade projects.

There are several innovative solutions that fed into delivering the overall project concept:

  • New market approach to stimulate building upgrade works.
  • Use of Energy Performance Contracts as the upgrade delivery mechanism.
  • Use of data driven algorithms to apportion benefits of upgrade works across landlord and tenancies.

The potential here is a new market model demonstrated on pilot sites to increase building upgrade works in the commercial rented sector.

This project was carried out in collaboration with many partners and stakeholders across Ireland and the European Union.

What makes this project unique is it's the first time in Ireland and in Europe where this business model is being used to accelerate decarbonisation of a huge building stock and the important part of it is the technical solutions are already developed and proven. It's the finance part of it and the collaboration part of it that are so different about this project and a key to its success.
Daniel Ring, Managing Director, Lawler Sustainability


Despite the traditional nature of the Commercial Real Estate sector, Lawler Sustainability has made significant progress in opening minds and hearts to a new way of interacting and transacting. This project has benefited greatly from the support of JLL as the letting agent and Irish Life as the building owner in Ireland.

Their initial achievements highlight the potential of this innovative approach:

  1. Quantifying Carbon and Energy Reduction: They identified the impressive carbon and energy reductions achievable through collaboration between landlords and tenants on the demonstration site.
  2. Whole Building Control System Implementation: They are installing a system that eliminates siloed approaches and harmonises competing engineering systems across both landlord and tenant spaces. This system represents a significant step towards Stage 1 of the project, which focuses on implementing low-cost and no-cost interventions.
  3. Tripartite Contract Template Development: They have developed a contract template outlining the tripartite agreement between building owner, tenant, and Energy Performance Contractor. This template represents another "first" in the market and demonstrates stakeholder appetite for this novel business model.

What’s next?

Recipients of this award receive a €10,000 bursary from SEAI. Daniel Ring, MD of Lawler Sustainability, would like to use this to promote the concept of Energy Performance Contracting to accelerate energy upgrades and decarbonisation within the private sector. “Some great work, exemplar projects and ongoing activity is happening in the public sector. However, the opportunity and need in the private sector is as large or if not greater and therefore would benefit from us and SEAI promoting and raising awareness,” he said.

See all SEAI Energy Award winners

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