Wellington Quay – IBAT College

This project was for the refurbishment of a 1960s concrete framed office building on Wellington Quay in Dublin 2.

The site has dual aspect with front and rear street front, the North elevation facing the River Liffey and the south Elevation on Essex Street facing Meeting House Square.

Works included the removal of concrete panels to the elevations. Two types of brick were chosen to re-clad the building and the facades were reworked to make the most of the existing building form. The Wellington Quay elevation was partially stepped out and a large floor to floor window introduced centrally on all levels, providing uninterrupted views of the river and punctuating the façade.

An additional storey was added to the building, set back from both Wellington Quay and Essex Street. The building was entirely reroofed and a Sedum green roofing system was installed.

Raised access floors were installed throughout the building and two lifts were installed serving all floors. A disabled platform lift was also installed on the Essex Street side to address the existing change in level between the pavement and existing ground level, thereby making the building fully accessible from both Essex Street and Wellington Quay.

The obvious mechanical scheme proposal for meeting the HVAC requirements at 16-19 Wellington Quay would be for a standard air-conditioning system. As this type of approach was not a green solution and would result in considerable energy demand for future tenants, and with client approval, It was rejected and the opportunity was taken to apply a sustainable mechanical services solution to the anticipated heating and cooling demands at 16-19 Wellington Quay.

The key sustainable feature entails getting maximum amounts of outdoor air into the building for year round free cooling. This will have a significant impact on reducing the carbon footprint of the building. This fresh air supply needs to be managed at roof level away from the relatively intense pollution at street level. Given the existing restraints, the most viable method of applying this strategy is in the use of a roof mounted air handling unit.

The free cooling scheme proposed is complimented by exposed concrete ceilings. This introduces a thermal mass exchange of heat absorbed to the slab by day and then released outside through night time ventilation.

Supporting this strategy is the introduction of external bris soleil to south facing windows. This keeps unwanted solar heat out of the building and has a significant impact on reducing the energy demand in the future.

There will be periods in the year when free cooling will not be available or when internal loads require supplementary cooling. It is therefore necessary to have cooling plant in the scheme to cover these conditions.

The ESB do not have adequate capacity in their local network to support the required cooling plant. The solution realized involved the use of gas fired chillers. The waste heat from these units can be recycled into the provision of hot water services for the building.  It is also not necessary to have a separate boiler system as the gas fired chiller serves both the heating and cooling needs of the building.

Like conventional electric chillers, the gas fired chillers need to be open to atmosphere to discharge unwanted heat.

In the interest of responsible sustainable design, the opportunity to deliver a low carbon footprint solution was pursued and realized for this project.

The energy rating of this commercial building went from an E rating to a B rating, a remarkable result given the existing building fabric.