Award Winners 2023
Learn more about the remarkable and innovative projects of the SEAI Energy Award Winners 2023.
Chair’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Energy
Pat is registered architect and member of the RIAI. He has worked in diverse practices at home and abroad. Pat participates in several committees focussed on environmental sustainability most notably with BRE, RIAI and NSAI as well as a number of Government working groups.
Pat first had had to promote the concept of the IGBC far and wide, develop the vision, and ultimately establish it as a charity open to all organisations willing to work for a sustainable built environment. The IGBC is a hugely influential organisation in Irish property and construction, with nearly 400 corporate members and a staff of 17 highly motivated construction, policy and communication professionals.
Pat is the very embodiment of the work of the IGBC.
He advocates and collaborates with industry stakeholder across the entire value chain to provide practical but ambitious leading edge policy input. He innovates. He has led the development of programmes to measure improvement of building performance and whole life carbon methodologies.
And importantly as a leader in our sustainable energy transition, Pat places a huge value on education and communication.
Innovative Deployment of Renewable Energy
Ahascragh Distillery decarbonises the traditional whiskey production process. Using a detailed quarter hour energy balance model of live heating and cooling over a standard production schedule, a high-temperature heat pump was installed, that includes capturing waste heat and its re-use.
The innovative design achieves temperatures above 100°C, a first in Ireland and the UK. The design process, utilised by the SEAI EXEED programme, achieves a saving of 706 tonnes of CO2 with a 40% reduction in cost and an expected lifetime of 20 years.
The project's ground-breaking achievement, being the first distillery in the world to use a heat pump system for all its heat needs, sets it apart from its peers and showcases the potential of heat pump technology in decarbonisation efforts.
Inspirational Sustainable Energy Community
Established in Claremorris, Co. Mayo at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, the Connacht GAA Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) joined the Network in 2019. They started out understanding their bills and educating staff on daily energy efficiency behaviours. They then developed their Energy Master Plan which has a 10-year vision for the Centre.
As the world’s largest Airdome, powered by solar energy, this project is a showcase to its over 150,000 annual visitors. The Airdome is now exporting solar energy with the first category B export licence to go live in Ireland. Their centre and its programmes have led them to be an intrinsic part of the newly Launched GAA Green Club programme. Connacht GAA SEC supports the programme with messaging, awareness and education to the 2000+ clubs and members. The initial roadmap has brought them on a journey of change, from installing successful projects, through to culture change and community leadership beyond Connacht.
Sustainable Energy Leader / Team of the year
Overseen by the Chief Transformation Officer, the six members of An Post Sustainability Team drive the company's sustainable programme, which spans all their operations. Their core responsibilities involve procuring sustainable products, upgrading the property portfolio, and transitioning the fleet towards sustainable energy sources. The team's efforts also extend beyond energy efficiency, promoting gender balance and diversity within the organisation and engaging in projects aligned with Sustainable Development Goals.
They have completed comprehensive projects like the Concept Properties program, which focuses on retrofitting the property portfolio to at least a BER B3 standard. This initiative involves replacing lighting with energy-efficient alternatives, installing public fast chargers for electric vehicles, and participating in energy-saving programs like "Beat the Peak."
The team has been instrumental in maintaining a substantial electric vehicle fleet, including electric trucks and a private charging network. They monitor fuel consumption, distance travelled, and EV management, leading to significant reductions in fuel usage and emissions.
Research and Innovation
Lawler Sustainability is a specialist sustainability company offering a one stop shop for innovation, advice, action and aftercare. This project’s purpose is to drive building energy-related renovations through Energy Performance Contracting (EPC), benefiting both the environment and businesses.
The project aims to transform the commercial real estate sector by introducing a new way of working that promotes carbon and energy reduction through landlord-tenant collaboration by addressing the split incentive through EPC. It involves various stakeholders, including academic and research institutions, industry partners, government bodies, and societal groups.
If awarded the bursary, the project team plans to utilise it to further promote Energy Performance Contracting within the private sector.
"A Better Tomorrow" is Lidl's sustainability program aimed at achieving carbon reduction targets. The main goal is to reduce its Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions by 46.2% by 2030. Several initiatives and projects were undertaken in 2022 to work towards this target.
The successful delivery of these projects required the involvement of various teams within Lidl, including 20 contractors, significant financial investment, and efficient project management. These projects include a €7million investment in; Solar PV systems in 32 stores, making Lidl the largest owner of rooftop solar PV in Ireland; heat pumps and HVAC systems installed in 13 stores; and all new stores that opened in 2022 having a BER A1 rating.
The impact of these initiatives has been significant, with substantial electricity and natural gas savings and reductions in CO2 emissions. "A Better Tomorrow" has contributed significantly to Lidl's energy and emissions targets for 2030, reflecting the company's commitment to positively impacting the environment.
Small and Medium Business
Ballykilcavan Brewery in Stradbally, Co. Laois uses 100% Irish barley grown on their own farm to create their beer.
The sustainable energy activities of the brewery focus on decarbonising the beer production process with the primary goal of reducing cost and achieving zero scope 1 and 2 emissions by the end of 2024. They have installed solar panel arrays, increasing power generation by 306% and reducing energy imports from the grid by 32.7% per litre of beer produced. Switching to a 100% renewable energy supplier, they have had a 77% reduction in the overall carbon footprint of the brewery compared to the previous year.
The impact on the business has been significant cost savings, with energy expenditure reduced to 40% of previous levels. The success of this project is motivating them to plan for the next phase with the hydro installation.
Leadership in public sector decarbonisation and energy efficiency
Inland Fisheries' Ireland (IFI) roadmap for delivering energy efficiency and emissions reduction targets by 2030 for the organisation is based on the principles of the Energy Map.
They have invested significantly in energy and sustainability projects, including solar pv systems, EVs and chargers and e-bikes. To date, they have removed 82 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and travelled a total EV distance of 829,857 km.
In 2022 IFI utilised Energy Elephant to identify energy blackspots. This data has supported several energy upgrade projects and has already contributed to IFI’s 2022 savings. IFI achieved a 44.5% energy reduction with 18 solar pv systems, 50 electric vehicles and we have rolled out an ev charging network of 50 sockets at 32 locations. IFI have 30 e-bikes, these are used for River, Lake and Coastal patrols. Capital expenditure has been committed to these projects annually to 2030. Engaging people will play a cornerstone role in achieving all their 2050 targets.
Energy in Buildings
The Áras de Brún Building, constructed in 1960, was a successful retrofit utilising numerous sustainable technologies achieving energy reductions and serving as a live research platform. This "Living Lab" research platform promotes further exploration of decarbonisation strategies and offers the academic community valuable insights and data.
The building underwent a major refurbishment in 2014 to improve sustainability and energy efficiency. Sustainable strategies used in the building include air to water heat pump, heating distribution system, solar photovoltaic system, upgraded LED lighting. These strategies aimed to improve the building's energy rating from D1 to A3, leading to a 77% reduction in gas usage and a 25% decrease in electricity usage. The project also focuses on internal environmental quality, measuring and monitoring temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and light to ensure comfort and efficiency.
The project is an innovative approach to retrofitting existing structures, leading to significant reduction in carbon emissions, and contributions to research and education on decarbonisation.
Bus Éireann’s project with the National Transport Authority involved introducing Ireland's first all-electric town service in Athlone in January 2023. The project aimed to assess the technical and operational implications of transitioning a service to 100% electric provision.
The town service covered over 540,000 km annually, serving a town population of approximately 21,000 with more than 10,000 passenger journeys weekly. The project involved detailed planning, a vehicle tender process, upgrading electrical charging infrastructure, and training mechanics and drivers. Since introducing the electric buses, there has been an energy consumption reduction of 55% and emissions reduction of 48% compared to the previous diesel fleet. The quieter and cleaner service resulted in a 40% increase in passenger numbers.
The project has led to learnings being applied to other depots, and Bus Éireann plans to introduce EV buses across its NTA-supported services to more cities and towns in the coming years.
Residential Energy Upgrades
SSE Airtricity Energy Services partnered with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to upgrade the Beaufort Housing complex. This included 58 residential units, a day care centre, and kitchens. The upgrades have resulted in an energy reduction of up to 80% per unit, per year.
The project's highlight was the installation of a centralised heat pump system, one of the first of its kind in Ireland. SSE Airtricity, the primary contractor, implemented the activity, was responsible for surveying, designing, tender evaluation, project management, and commissioning. The upgrades included window and door replacements, external insulation, attic insulation, solar PV installation, mechanical ventilation, heating controls, and LED lighting. The project achieved impressive energy and CO2 savings and used sustainable materials and renewable technologies like solar PV panels and heat pumps to ensure indoor air quality.
The Beaufort Housing complex retrofit has had a significant positive impact on the community, vulnerable residents, and the advancement of energy efficiency technology.
Sustainability via Digital Technologies in Construction and Buildings
1 Cumberland Place has achieved remarkable HVAC energy optimisation results for a building already holding LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification. The project has led to impressive HVAC electricity savings of 75% and HVAC gas savings of 76%. This achievement is set apart by the minimal investment in new equipment, resulting in minimal additional embodied carbon. By significantly reducing the heating and cooling load on the building, the existing HVAC plant requires less maintenance, leading to an extended lifespan.
The project began mapping and learning exercises that revealed the environmental signature of the building. The deployment of Symphony Welltech while mapping the building allowed Symphony over several months, to fine-tune the operational settings to always use the least amount of energy while maintaining comfort levels.