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Hibernia Has A Plan For Dublin's Ageing Office Stock

Hibernia says its approach at 1 Cumberland Place could offer a solution for older stock.

With a major debate over the viability of Dublin’s older commercial real estate stock, Hibernia Real Estate Group says it has created an exemplar for refurbishing old office buildings.

The company has published a report on the €30M investment it made into its 1 Cumberland Place office building in central Dublin, a process that began in 2015 and has brought its performance up to the top 5% of all Dublin office buildings, according to the report.

The assessment by RKD Architects, published on 29 November, found that 1 Cumberland Place outperforms existing Irish office stock on several metrics and refurbishment works have improved its Building Energy Rating from E2 to B2, representing a 63% reduction in rated primary energy demand.

With a further 39% improvement in efficiency achieved thanks to the installation of energy reduction and heat recycling technology, its measured performance is now even better than the BER and has been achieved while retaining the majority of 1 Cumberland Place’s structure and much of its skin, resulting in an embodied carbon footprint estimated to be 66% lower than that of a new office building.

The 130K SF, seven-storey office building, originally constructed in the early 1970s, is located on the junction of Bass Place and Fenian Street and was purchased by Hibernia in 2015, with €29M invested in an extensive refurbishment.

As part of this work, heat recovery ventilation, LED lighting and power factor correction were all applied, leading to the building achieving a B2 BER and LEED Platinum certification in May 2017.

In 2021, additional improvements were made, including a new energy data management system from Wicklow-based CoolPlanet, while Hibernia also invested in new demand control ventilation technology from Dublin-based Symphony Energy, which also allows for recycling of waste heat into usable heat while generating free cooling for the building.

As a result, primary energy demand has reduced from 31.3 kilowatt-hours per SF in 2018 to 19.3 kWh per SF in 2022, a drop of 38%, and the building’s energy use intensity has reduced from 19.1 kWh per SF in 2018 to 11.6 kWh per SF in 2022, down 39%.

“As an industry, we need to look beyond building energy ratings and certifications to focus on in-use building performance. The next step is being prepared to invest in improvements over time,” Hibernia Director of Sustainability Neil Menzies said.

“We have been able to reach greater levels of energy efficiency, and this will be crucial to our ambitions to become a net-zero carbon and climate resilient business by 2030.”

“1 Cumberland Place outperforms the existing Irish office stock on several metrics and presents a positive example for how Ireland’s built environment can carve out a pathway to net zero,” RKD Research Lead Richard O’Hegarty added. “It is important to note that achieving such results requires a hands-on approach to building monitoring, management, and improvement.”

Hibernia Real Estate Group is wholly owned by Brookfield, a global alternative asset manager with over $690B in assets under management.