Custom House ranks high in energy efficiency stakes

AN ENERGY efficiency audit of a number of public buildings has shown that one of the oldest properties in the State has a better rating than premises a fraction of its age.

Dublin’s Custom House, completed in 1791 and now home to the Department of the Environment, is more energy efficient than the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on Adelaide Road, a mere 20 years-old.

The Leinster House complex, part of which dates back to 1745 but also includes an extension built for the millennium, is less efficient than the Custom House but better than Adelaide Road.

Even less efficient is the headquarters of An Bord Pleanála, off O’Connell Street, less than a decade old. The buildings have been tested through the Building Energy Rating system – how much it costs to light and heat a building – which is obligatory since January for any owner who wishes to sell or rent their home.

The test, validated by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), is also required for all public buildings of 1,000sq m (10,764sq ft) or larger.

Properties are rated on a sliding A to G scale. The SEI has set ratings for houses built before the 1980s at D2 or E, and D1 for those constructed in the 1980s.

Properties built in the 1990s should have a C2 rating, while homes built since 2000 are expected to reach a C1.

The Custom House comes in at C2, while Adelaide Road is at E1. Leinster House is D2 and An Bord Pleanála has an E rating.

According to a spokesman, An Bord Pleanála is currently being audited by SEI and “an issue has been identified” which has affected the rating.

The low rating of the Department of Communications is attributed to it being two buildings joined by an atrium. Work to improve it is continuing.

Energy efficiency efforts have resulted in a 9 per cent energy cost reduction in 2008 compared to 2007, with a 10 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

The Office of Public Works has begun the process of energy rating all State-owned or leased offices.

Its own headquarters, a 19th-century building on St Stephen’s Green, has a D2 rating.

The process of rating all Government departments is under way, while schools and hospitals will also be rated.

Energy efficiency at the Custom House has improved by up to 20 per cent because of “a number of years of very, very proactive work”, according to a department spokesman.

(c) Irish Times

Last modified on Thursday, 26 March 2009 02:03