Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has achieved savings of 80% on its carpark lighting costs by implementing the upgrade using SEAI’s EXEED (Excellence in Energy Efficient Design) certification programme.

SEAI’s EXEED encourages innovation in how we design and manage projects and is driving the adoption of longer-term solutions to the energy challenges we face. The benefit of EXEED is that energy performance is considered at the very beginning of the design of a new build or major upgrade project, reducing energy consumption and operational costs for the lifetime of the building.

In addition, SEAI support up to €500,000 per year to businesses or public bodies applying EXEED in the design of projects.

Commenting on SEAI EXEED, Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI, said:

“SEAI is already supporting over 70 businesses in achieving EXEED certification and significantly reducing their energy consumption. Last year, SEAI invested €1.6 million in EXEED projects ranging from educational facilities, to pharmaceutical companies to public buildings. Projects that consider energy performance and energy management at the design stage can save up to 30% in energy use and typically save on capital expenditure for new investments.”

DAA lighting project

Dublin Airport was the first of these organisations to progress its project through all three stages of the SEAI EXEED certification system – design, verify and manage. This means that the airport

– have used a design-led approach to energy savings;
– has verified the energy savings being achieved; and
– is managing the operation for continued savings and best practice in energy efficiency.

Following the lighting and control upgrades, DAA’s electrical savings are almost 964,500 kWh– the equivalent of powering about 1,200 floodlights per annum.

The project was ambitious from the beginning. Dublin Airport wanted to challenge the norm and develop infrastructure that is of the highest environmental and performance standard.

Carpark lighting had been 70% of the airport’s car park energy consumption. They upgraded surface carparks, multi-storey carparks and carparks in terminal one and at all energy consuming processes in these areas. This approach meant that they have made savings that they would not have otherwise.

They installed 304 LED lights in the multi-storey carparks and 386 in the surface carparks, which can be controlled individually. They are able to change the lighting level to suit the operational need and capacity at a given time. As well as saving energy this has the added benefit of creating a better environment for carpark users. LED lights need less maintenance and have a longer life than traditional lights.

The planning approach

They took a different approach to doing this and challenged conventional thinking, including challenging lighting designers and lighting standards. Instead of replacing each old light with a more efficient version, they went back to the drawing board. They asked lots of questions, like

– Do we need to have lighting everywhere?
– Do the existing lighting standards and guidelines take account of modern luminaires and LED characteristics?
– Were original design parameters applied correctly? and
– Are there areas that need less lighting?

They needed to make sure that carpark users have adequate lighting in the carpark at night and that it is safe. They trialled various lighting level to find out what worked the best. They also researched other carparks and learned from them.

Getting buy-in from senior management was a critical success factor. The energy and cost savings make sound business sense. To ensure its success and priority EXEED is an agenda item in management review meetings and they report on performance monthly.

Before this, the carparks had night time sensors. The carpark operators did not have control over these. They installed controls so that carpark operations can now adjust the lighting remotely. For example, they can turn off lights in certain areas that they do not want customers to use and can enhance lighting in areas that they want to draw customers to. The control systems have been extremely successful and would not have been a technology they would have explored without having taken a design-led approach. They can also monitor the energy that the carpark uses in real time.

The challenges

There were challenges to the project. Timelines were tight and an operating carpark had to be maintained throughout the project. All equipment had to be on-site and prepared beforehand to minimise disruption and limit down time of existing lighting. There was limited scope to move lighting positions, so the design had to take account of existing lighting locations and parking areas.

Dublin Airport Authority received grant funding through SEAI’s EXEED certification programme. The funding was a big influence in deciding to take a design-led approach to the project. It was an intensive process, but a worthwhile one. In fact, Dublin Airport has brought design-led thinking to other energy projects and is confident about making further energy savings.

Martin Mc Gonagle, Asset Care Head of Energy, Environment and Utilities, DAA commented on the experience of using a design-led approach for energy saving projects:

“We approach energy projects differently, and it is a good way of thinking. You begin to question everything. We have received really positive feedback from carpark operations on the new system. The new lights give a lovely bright white glow and with the touch of button they can dim or enhance the lighting in an area. People are becoming more aware of the climate and the environment and it is important for companies to take action where they can to reduce the impact of their operations.”

SEAI’s EXEED funding is open to all public and private organisations who are planning energy investment projects of any scale or complexity. Applications for 2019 will open early in the year. Please contact exeed@seai.ie to be notified when the date is announced and to start planning your projects.

Source: Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland