Civic building warms to energy upgrades

Homeowners and businesses are set to benefit from a cross-border project where local authorities will demonstrate best practice for reducing energy costs.

The cross-border initiative, the Energy Efficiency and Micro-Generation Project, funded through the European Union’s INTERRREG IVA programme commenced in the East Border Region in 2011.

Ten local authorities, seven in Northern Ireland and three in Republic of Ireland, selected five of their most energy hungry buildings, fifty buildings in total, to undergo detailed energy audits. As a result of the energy audits, nine buildings were selected to undergo upgrades to building fabric and building services to reduce the energy consumption.

Banbridge District Council’s Civic Building was selected as one of the buildings to undergo energy upgrades. Works including improvements to the building insulation, installation of a proprietary draft-proofing system to windows and LED lighting upgrades are currently nearing completion.

The upgrade works will dramatically improve internal comfort levels for occupants and visitors most importantly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with both the lighting and heating systems. Another feature of the building upgrades will be a visitor experience display screen in the building foyer which, through collaboration with project partners Dundalk Institute of Technology, will provide monitoring of the building’s energy meters allowing visitors to see a ‘live’ display of the building’s energy performance, comparing live data with historical energy consumption and carbon emissions data.

Bryan Crowe, the Energy & Sustainability Project officer, is enthusiastic about the potential of the energy upgrades. “I am delighted to be involved with this exciting project and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the energy saving potential of energy efficiency and micro-generation measures to a wide audience through the creation of visitor friendly exemplar buildings within the East Border Region,” he said.

Banbridge District Council Chairman, Councillor Olive Mercer welcomed the new upgrades. “This innovative project will highlight the practical and financial benefits of either installing renewable technologies or improving the existing building fabric,” she said. “Both methods go a long way to improving energy efficiency.”

The building upgrades have commenced, with works to be complete by the end of March 2014.