The NZEB retrofit of Regional Technical College buildings

Thumbnail Image
Ó Riain, Marc
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
The EU introduced nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) performance targets for all new and retrofit public buildings by 2019 and all commercial buildings by 2021 (EPBD 2010). In Ireland, a low regulatory scenario persists for non-residential retrofits since 1974. McKinsey (2009) established retrofit as one of the most cost effective means of achieving emission abatement. With over 50% of Ireland’s commercial building stock pre-dating energy regulation (1919-1992), this paper establishes that it is possible to retrofit precast concrete building typologies from the 1960s/70s, using primarily passive means, achieving Net Zero Energy Building performance. However systemic barriers to NZEB adoption are retarding the potential for Ireland to meet the aspirations of the Energy Performance Directive (2010). This paper also explores the factors that retard NZEB retrofit adoption in an Irish legislative context, and proposes a systematic design process to address performance oriented building retrofits. Outside the design process the structural pillars of low mandatory minimum standards and a poor availability of financing models undermine the development of the low energy-building sector in Ireland. Without this external framework, market forces result in lower performance targets at the outset of projects, truncating design processes, impacting decision-making and reducing opportunities for the adoption of energy conservation measures. Case study analysis illustrates a poor standard of knowledge, experience, and understanding of performance oriented design practices in Ireland which may impact the development of relevant skill sets, tacit knowledge and suitable design processes to deliver on the aspirations of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive 2010 in an Irish context. To address the barriers to Deep Retrofit in Ireland, existing design processes may be augmented with specialist skillsets, developing new practices and broadening the experience of existing practice with performance oriented design processes.
Low energy retrofit , Building energy regulations , Net Zero energy building retrofit , Cost optimal calculations
Ó'Riain, M. 2016. The NZEB retrofit of Regional Technical College buildings. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
Link to publisher’s version