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Cork County - Ireland



Built as a hotel in 1850, this elegant building was later converted into office space and is currently the administrative Headquarters of the Northern Division of Cork County Council.
The total building area is 1909m2 and approximately 70 staff work here from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Prior to modernisation, the offices had been heated using an old coal-fired boiler that had been converted to burn oil. It supplied heat via a single pipe system that left many areas of the building severely under-heated.
The only means of controlling the system was via a timer, which ran the boiler continuously from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday, from September till May.
The building was predominantly lit using twin, 1.5m long, 80W fluorescent bulbs.
Given these conditions it is easy to see potential for improvement. However, the range of options available was to be constrained by limited funding, which meant that the single-pipe heating system could not be replaced with a costly but more efficient configuration.
However, after extensive consultation with the building managers, users and external experts, a system was chosen that would meet the project objectives and would come in close to budget.

Building details

Type of building: Administrative
Year of construction/ Floor area/ Operating hours: 1850s / 1909m2 / 9:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday
Heating and cooling / measures installed Heating updated 2002
Energy label/CO2 emissions Energy rating C; CO2 rating D; Water rating D

Project Description

Aim To improve employees’ comfort levels, enhance the building’s energy performance and reduce its ecological footprint.
Key points Expertise guiding the project included staff from Cork County Energy Agency and an external consultant. The complex nature of the building’s heating system meant that a detailed research phase was crucial to ensuring that the correct improvements were specified.
The following alterations were made:
- Oil boiler replaced with two wall-mounted modulating gas boilers.
- Eleven new radiators added to the system.
- The building was broken into 19 separate heating zones
- 51 electronic thermostatic radiator valves were fitted (one on each radiator)
- State of the art computer-based monitoring and control system was installed. This was also available over modem and so the building could be monitored from anywhere in the world.
- All old 1.5m, 80w fluorescent strips were upgraded to twin 32W high frequency fittings. In addition, approximately 15% of the lighting was removed as these new fittings gave much better light quality.
Once this system was installed, a comprehensive awareness campaign was carried out to ensure that all staff were aware of its benefits and, more importantly, were able to use it.
Reason for inclusion as Shining Example This building was chosen as a Shining Example as it is an excellent example of renovating an old building without major capital costs or disruption. While the measures installed only amounted to an average rating, this remains a vast improvement over the previous situation.
Additionally, in the process of making these improvements, the project managers have developed a clearer understanding of what measures to take next, should financial circumstances permit, in order to improve the building’s energy rating further. Measures such as replacing the single pipe system with a two-way system, insulating the building envelope, and installing double glazing have been considered.
The other reason why this building is a Shining Example is because staff have reported a far more comfortable working environment, as the building is now more responsive to their heating and lighting needs. This is expected to lead to increased productivity and reduced downtime through sickness.


Costs &


This project was carried out with 50% funding from the Ecos Ouverture programme of the European Commission (DG XVI), and remainder from Cork County Council.
Benefits The results achieved were as follows:
- 35% reduction in heating costs
- 30% reduction in CO2 emissions
- 50% reduction in lighting load
- Reduced ecological footprint
- Much improved comfort levels
- Better working environment


Partnership details The project was funded through DGXVI and Cork County Council. It was managed by the staff at the Cork Energy Agency, with the assistance of an external energy consultant.


Achievements - Working to tight Budget
- Increased staff awareness of energy issues
- Much improved comfort levels and reduced energy use
- Ongoing monitoring and evaluation
- Project successfully completed and handed over to building users.
Lessons Learned - Staff awareness and support was essential to the project
- Good replication potential as system chosen could be retrofitted or installed as part of a new system
- While striving to improve energy performance one must be aware of other factors which can be equally as important, such as ensuring sufficient comfort levels and creating a healthy working environment.

To know more

Organisation Cork County Energy Agency
Contact Alex Grassick
Phone 00 353 22 43610

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