At the Watergate Apartment Complex Project William O’Callaghan, Project Manager SSE Airtricity; John Randles, Head of Delivery at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Brian Connolly, General Manager, SSE Airtricity Energy Services; Seamus Hanrahan Senior Executive Architect with Limerick City and County Council Picture: Cathal Noonan True Media
Families living in the Watergate Apartment Complex in Limerick city centre will be enjoying a much cosier Christmas this year as part of a 2.5 million euro redevelopment of the buildings.
Watergate comprises of 100 apartments between the three blocks of Mungret Court, St. Michael’s Court and Tara Court and was built in 1969.
The works include external insulation of the complex, attic insulation and replacement of the windows and doors as well as condensing boilers, high-efficiency hot water cylinders and appropriate ventilation.
In addition to the energy saving works, the refurbishment will greatly improve the aesthetic appearance and environmental efficiency of the blocks and contribute towards the revitalisation of this inner city centre area.
The complex currently has some of the lowest energy rated units across all Limerick City and County Council housing units. Thermal bridging has led to complaints of damp and cold apartments where the typical BER rating ranges from F and G at the lowest end of the scale.
The principle of the works is to wrap the blocks with external insulation so that it will greatly improve the thermal efficiency of the properties and provide stable and comfortable homes that will reduce substantially the demand for heating. The external insulation will provide excellent thermal performance and exceptional air tightness that will eliminate cold bridges which allows heat to escape through highly conductive or non-insulating material. This will diminish the likelihood of droughts, condensation and mould growth.
The overall scope of works for this project includes:
Seamus Hanrahan, Senior Executive Architect with Limerick City and County Council said: “The two and a half million euro refurbishment programme is another major investment in Limerick city centre and already it has massively contributed in improving its immediate environment and complements the work at the neighbouring Milk Market.”
“This is the first significant work carried out on the complex since they were built in 1969. While some works were carried out between then and now, they were mostly of a cosmetic nature. These deep retrofitting works are all about energy conservation and providing tenants with an improved standard of living and making it more cost effective for them regarding the heating of their apartments.”
“The early indications are very welcome. While overall the BER will improve to a C level, some of the apartments now have B ratings.”
Part of the funding for the works has come from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) – Better Energy Communities Scheme for 2016. This scheme offers energy utility companies to partner with Local Authorities and community groups to deliver thermal improvements to homes under Local Authority ownership.
Limerick City and County Council partnered with SSE Airtricity and the SEAI on the project.
John Randles Head of Delivery at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) said: “It is wonderful to see a community pulling together to achieve great things. They are a great example of the type of work going on across the country to make homes, schools, sports and parish facilities as well as businesses more comfortable, more energy efficient and lower energy bills.”
Brian Connolly, General Manager, SSE Airtricity Energy Services, said: “At SSE Airtricity, we’re extremely proud of the difference that we’re making for families through the landmark Watergate project. This is our fourth and most ambitious partnership project yet with Limerick City and County Council. Supported by SEAI, we’re transforming the entire Watergate Complex, revitalising it to 21stcentury standards and delivering impactful energy efficiency measures for residents including full insulation, a new high-efficiency heating system and energy efficient windows and doors.”
“These measures will mean warmer winters and lower energy costs for each resident. Residents in each home can expect to see energy savings of over 9,000 kilowatt hours each year as well as improved home comfort and significantly enhanced soundproofing, which will be particularly beneficial in a city centre environment. One of SSE Airtricity’s guiding principles is sustainability, and through transforming the Watergate apartment complex we’re providing sustainable benefits for the local community – not just for Christmas but for many years into the future.”