Creative Spark is located in the Dundalk 2020 zone. As Ireland’s first Sustainable Energy Zone (SEZ), it’s a showcase for the kind of innovative technologies, policies and practices needed to ensure more sustainable energy supply and use.
The Dundalk SEZ was established by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The European Commission approved an SEAI proposal called HOLISTIC (Holistic Optimisation Leading to Integration of Sustainable Technologies In Communities), involving both local and European partners. As a result, Dundalk is now a global leader in the field of sustainable use of energy within communities.
When the green light was given for Creative Spark, Louth Creative Community Hub, we naturally decided to be part of this great project. The building presented an opportunity to demonstrate a low-energy building solution in the SEZ in excess of the normal targets, with outcomes and learnings applicable across a range of sectors and building types. We thus set the aim of achieving improvement in energy performance of up to 50%, through building design and building management strategies.
BESRaC, a consulting firm specialising in sustainable buildings, carried out an energy analysis of the proposed building to identify how to maximise energy efficiency. The measures proposed included insulation improvements, passive cooling, ventilation, optimal boiler efficiency and control, improved lighting efficiency, etc – resulting in overall energy reduction of 49%.
Big savings for occupants and users
The annual energy savings were estimated at €10,300 (at current fuel prices) – a potential 40% reduction in fuel bills.
This work reveals how careful design and planning for an energy-efficient building can lead to huge savings – and, of course, occupants and users benefit greatly:
- reduced utility bills and more protection against energy price spikes
- a warmer and more comfortable building, with less need for space heaters (and thus less fire risk)
- lower maintenance costs, with less likelihood of dampness, mould, condensation, freezing water pipes, etc, and thus fewer problems for both occupants and landlord
And, of course, greenhouse-gas emissions are reduced.
We’re keen to encourage our creative clients to keep energy efficiency in mind. Plug loads typically add up to 30% of a building’s energy use, while occupants may account for 60–80% of energy used in a building.
We will also welcome any energy-saving suggestions from occupants and users.
All in all, energy efficiency benefits everybody and greatly reduces costs.
If you’d like to learn more about the Creative Spark energy efficiency measures, you’re welcome to download the BESRaC report, in pdf form.