Historic Derry building gets 21st century energy upgrade
29 January 2021
One of Derry's most historic buildings, Harbour House, is being whisked into the 21st century as part of a new project geared towards improving energy efficiency and promoting greener energy sources.
It's the latest step in Derry City and Strabane District Council's campaign to support the local environment using the very latest in green technologies.
Built in 1882, Harbour House originally served as the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioner's Headquarters. Now in the ownership of Derry City and Strabane District Council, the building is used as office space for democratic services administration within the council. To make the building more efficient and cut down on energy bills, as part of Project SMARTrenew Council called on the expertise of local company Heatboss, who specialise in the development of tailored, energy efficient, wireless heating controls.
Led by the WiSAR Lab at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, SMARTrenew is funded under the EU Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014 – 2020, with an allocated budget of €1.6 million. The primary objective of SMARTrenew is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of renewable energy sources and implement innovative and sustainable energy storage solutions through transnational co-operation in the partner regions Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Iceland, and Finland.
Energy Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Leo Strawbridge, explained that SMARTrenew enables the Council to further develop energy solutions and share knowledge through seven pilot initiatives with project partners.
"Improving energy efficiency, and increasing renewable energy usage in Northern Ireland, is a key priority for the Council," he explained. "We are delighted to be a part of project SMARTrenew as it offers us a chance to learn from other partners and implement pilots that will lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. By showcasing these innovations, we can encourage stakeholders to adopt similar technologies across the Northern Periphery and Arctic Area.
"From the perspective of Harbour House, we needed to find an energy efficient solution that would maintain the integrity of the historical building. By partnering with Heatboss, we were able to develop a solution that suited the individual needs of the Harbour House building. The innovative technology tackles the issues with conventional heating controls wireless devices and web applications enabling room level control of heating. This enables better efficiency, comfort and control of heating large buildings. Ultimately, this leads to a significant reduction in energy consumption with reported energy savings of approximately 30% in other historic buildings.
"We look forward to continuing to work with our SMARTrenew partners throughout 2021. The collaboration and knowledge transfer between partners brings new opportunities in the transition to a low carbon economy for Northern Ireland."
The move is part of Council's long term Sustainable Development and Energy strategy which aims to create a progressive region with a secure and affordable energy supply. The ambitious goals include contributing to a reduction in the effects of climate change through the utilisation of locally generated energy sources and increased energy efficiency resulting in a vibrant region to live and invest in.