Thanks to an initiative by the Fingal County Council in collaboration with Ubitricity, electric vehicles can now be charged at lamp posts in Malahide. Streetlights in the area have now been retrofitted with new technology allowing residents and visitors alike to recharge their car twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Detailed in an article for The Independent (https://independent.ie/regionals/dublin/fingal/a-first-for-ireland-as-malahide-lamp-posts-double-as-electric-vehicle-charging-points-40937140.html), the scheme should make transitioning to an electric vehicle easier for residents of the area.

 

Currently, two lamp posts have been fitted with the technology while the public charging solution is being trialed in the area with the aim to expand the project in the near future. The two streetlights in Malahide village house an electric vehicle charger within the post itself, with a plug-in point accessible on the outside.

 

During the trial period, as data is collected, the cost of charging a vehicle at the lamp posts will be covered by Fingal County Council. Upon the full rollout of the project, the scheme will employ a pay-per-use model with drivers needing to present a method of payment prior to plugging in.

 

Providing the technology for Fingal County Council is Ubitricity, a member of the Shell Group, which has been developing charging networks since 2008. In the UK, Ubtricity is now the largest public electric vehicle point operator providing over 4500 charging stations. Now bringing their tech to Ireland, drivers of electric vehicles can find the two converted street lights, Malahide Garda Station and Malahide Train Station.

 

Now with over a decade of experience, Ubtricity's streetlights solution brings the ability to charge electric vehicles to a much wider audience. For those without private parking, charging a vehicle has proven inconvenient, with users relying on forecourts and trailing wires to keep their cars topped up. As it stands, 40-60% of city residents lack private parking and thereby the means to charge an electric vehicle. By retrofitting lamp posts, Ubitricity hopes to build a network of charging points "at home, at work, and on the road."

 

With 34 million electric vehicles expected in Europe by 2030, governments and councils are feeling pressure to roll out charging infrastructure at a rapid pace. Within the charging lamp posts are alternating current (AC) chargers. These low-power AC chargers have charging capacities between 3.7 kW and 50 kW, making them suitable for a wide range of vehicles. Unlike the fast charge points often seen on garage forecourts and services, Ubtricity's charging points expect vehicles to be parked for longer periods of time and can be installed quickly and cheaply, not needing the bulk of an external DC converter.

 

Paying for charging will be done via a smartphone. Users will be required to simply scan a QR code and follow the on-screen instructions.

 

The initiative is possible thanks to an amendment made in March 2020 to the Planning and Development Act. The amendment made provision for the use of streetlights to be extended to include the charging of electric vehicles. The decision to pilot the project by Fingal County Council was made in the hope of easing the transition to sustainable transportation over the coming decade. With lamp posts providing an ubiquitous and accessible source of electricity, the partnership with Ubitricity was put forward as a possible solution.

 

The further rollout of streetlight charging points will ultimately depend on the feedback of local residents to Fingal, though the council expects it to be a resounding success. CEO of Ubitricity, Lex Hartman, said "We look forward to working with councils across Ireland, including Fingal County Council, to help them and customers to switch to electric vehicles," explaining the lamp post charging solution is a "highly-scalable, and easy to deploy solution [suitable] for a fast roll-out."

 

Notably, Hartman argues that Ubitricity's compact technology combined with the ready electricity supply of lamp posts means streets remain uncluttered, blending in with existing street scenery.

 

Director of Services at Fingal County Council, David Storey, agrees, claiming the non-intrusive technology will help increase sustainable transport use with the pilot acting as a way to gauge public opinion. Should the scheme meet expectations and prove successful, Storey claims more charging points, and other infrastructure will be deployed.



www.Sammin.ie 

 

 

Smart Buildings: Energy Conservation and Carbon Reduction

 

Smart technology and digitalisation are not only leading to higher productivity but are now vital to meeting key ESG targets (Environmental, Social, Governance), according to an article by Business Matters. You can read the article in full here: https://bmmagazine.co.uk/opinion/why-building-energy-monitoring-remains-pivotal-in-2022-and-beyond/?amp 

 

Decarbonising buildings and cities

 

Looking to reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the necessity for decarbonising cities and buildings is clear. The world’s major cities account for almost two-thirds of the global Co2 emissions, which lie at the base of the climate crisis. From towering office blocks and commercial buildings to the increasingly congested roads in and around cities, the carbon footprints of the buildings and infrastructure that makes up our society have taken their toll on our environment.

 

 

For many industry professionals, the answer is digitalisation. 

Digitalisation saw a dramatic uptake during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing companies and individuals to adopt new ways of interaction and interfacing with data. Through the use of modern technology, teams found in-person interactions could be substituted satisfactorily. Often, these interactions were even enhanced thanks to digitalisation, with improved cooperation being just one benefit.

 

Aside from improving task coordination and interaction, smart technology has also found itself central to achieving energy efficiency goals in buildings, businesses, homes, and even at the city level.

 

 

Energy monitoring and control in buildings

 

Thanks to ever-increasing digitalisation, buildings are especially capable of enjoying the benefits of smart technology. With arrays of sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, buildings can achieve higher levels of sustainability during and after construction.

 

The energy goals of smart buildings include:

 

● Find and plug energy losses

● Identify sources of waste and find forms of reuse

● Reduce overall energy demand

● Enable the use of renewable sources of energy

● Benchmark energy usage and wastage

 

Crucial to achieving these goals is a smart building energy management system. These systems allow buildings to become “smart,” identifying efficiencies and becoming more environmentally friendly.



Benefits of smart energy monitoring

 

The key benefits of smart energy monitoring include:

 

● An outward demonstration of ESG values

● Improved building conditions for occupants

● Spot problems early, costing less to resolve

● Identify energy efficiencies and wastage

● Allows the implementation of automation and control systems

 

 

With the vast amount of data collected from the sensors and devices in a smart building and management software, facilities managers can begin to identify potential energy optimizations. For example, datasets that observe certain offices are unused for prolonged periods can implement schedules that dim lighting, redirect airflow, and keep temperature levels suitable. With the office now used differently than pre-COVID-19, these sorts of measures are likely to see increased usage. Not only is this beneficial for tackling climate change but it also serves as a cost-saving measure.

 

Energy management systems make use of multivariable and single-variable data to achieve these goals, identifying problems and trends. This data is useful for spotting issues with electrical and mechanical systems such as HVAC services. If fluctuations or inconsistencies are detected, the system can alert facilities managers, often allowing a problem to be fixed before it becomes costly.

 

Smart monitoring can also aid more general climate-change efforts by constantly monitoring the incoming and outgoing energy supply. If fitted with solar panels, for example, a building without smart energy monitoring may find a lot of excess energy goes to waste. Appropriately monitored, however, this excess energy can be redirected back to the grid and sold or stored in energy storage banks, making the building more self-sufficient and sustainable.



Smart energy portals

 

While the amount of data that can be collected in buildings fitted with smart energy technology can be overwhelming, thanks to the use of online portals, information can now be presented in a digestible manner. These portals are often cloud-based and give facilities managers the ability to remotely monitor and manage energy from their smartphones or computer.

 

As working habits change and hybrid/remote-working becomes increasingly the norm, the ability to maintain control from anywhere is a necessary feature for a building to consider itself ‘smart’. This ability to remotely manage building operations also means irregularities can alert facilities staff immediately through notifications. These problems can then be dealt with extremely swiftly thanks to these cloud systems and smart, automated management.

 

While the future of smart technology and energy monitoring systems was already integral to the ESG space, the pandemic has forced accelerated adoption and integration. With climate change now the world’s most pressing issue, these technologies can go a long way in helping managers work towards their carbon goals and achieve net-zero.



www.sammin.ie

 

 

 

 

Last week, the government published its advisory report ‘Skills for Zero Carbon – The Demand for Renewable Energy, Residential Retrofit and Electric Vehicle Deployment Skills to 2030’. This report identifies the skills required to deliver on key Climate Action Plan targets over the next 9 years in order to accelerate the transition to a Zero Carbon Economy and to help Ireland deliver on the binding targets for emissions reduction. 

 

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, the group responsible for the report, explored the nature and potential demand for skills within the Renewable Energy, Residential Retrofit and Electric Vehicle sectors, and issued 30 recommendations to ensure these sectors can deliver on future targets.

 

The ‘Zero Carbon’ activities identified include 5GW of offshore and up to 8GW of onshore wind energy generation, 1.5-2.5GW of solar energy generation, the energy efficient retrofit of 500,000 homes to a minimum B2 BER, the installation of 600,000 heat pumps, and the target of having 840,000 electric cars, and 95,000 commercial vehicles, on Irish roads.

 

From a skills perspective, the report details how the transition to a zero-carbon economy will lead to changes in sectors and occupations, the phasing out of existing roles, but also demands for new skills and competencies, as well as employment opportunities, in the new Zero Carbon economy. It notes that “consistent demand” will be created across engineering, environmental, construction, and other sectors. Across construction, the skills shortage is particularly severe and several initiatives are underway by industry bodies such as Engineers Ireland , the Construction Industry Federation and others to address this. What the above report makes clear is that these industries must not simply look at attracting new talent to existing roles, but rather, we must understand what future roles will be and start training and retraining/upskilling in this direction. 

 

Speaking at the launch of the report, the Minister of State for Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth TD said:

 

"This report from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs underlines how while the decarbonisation of the economy will impact sectors and job roles, it also has the potential for significant employment creation in some of the key enabling activities for this transition. The report sets out a comprehensive evidence base and roadmap for facilitating the labour market shift into emerging Zero Carbon activities, including onshore and offshore wind, solar energy and residential retrofit. As well as the welcome commitment of the Department of Further and Higher Education to respond to these emerging and growing skills needs, my department will work with other stakeholders to promote the employment opportunities that will emerge across multiple occupations and sectors: engineering, environmental science, the humanities, law and finance, construction and transport."



The full report, ‘Skills for Zero Carbon – The Demand for Renewable Energy, Residential Retrofit and Electric Vehicle Deployment Skills to 2030’, is available on the website of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs and the website of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/81ec9-expert-group-on-future-skills-needs-report-identifies-skills-needs-to-support-delivery-of-climate-action-plan-over-the-coming-decade/



www.sammin.ie

 

Despite pandemic uncertainty, the fundamentals for Ireland and the property market remain positive



As 2021 draws to a close, the inevitable ‘Year in Review’ industry commentary has started and the news of this year’s market performance - across most sectors of the commercial and PRS sectors -  is much better than expected. The private rented sector is now the most active property investment sector in Ireland, attracting more than €7 billion from Irish and international funders and investors over the past five years. In fact, more than half of all investment deals for the first nine months of the year were residential, up 38 percent from the same time in 2020. 

 

All of Ireland’s major agencies have reported that the commercial property market performance this year has surpassed forecasts, with 2021 on track to be the second strongest year ever. The sector is expected to round out the year valued at between €4.5 billion and €5 billion. While city centre retail has taken a knock, convenience stores and retail parks have enjoyed a busy year.  2021 has proven to be a stellar year for the industrial and logistics sector, with available stock at unprecedentedly low levels. 

 

The office market has attracted the most speculation since the outbreak of Covid-19; even the experts are divided on what the future of work will look like and how employee behaviours and preferences will translate into future office space demands. Interestingly, the data is showing a strong level of enquiries and a strong level of takeup so far this year. It is possible that hybrid working is not lessening the space required by companies, but rather, reconfiguring it. This reconfiguration is presenting co-working space opportunities outside of the main urban centres and towns, which has the potential to transform rural Ireland for the better.

 

One of the driving trends we have experienced across our projects here at Sammin Engineering is a heightened focus on ESG, and sustainability in particular. There has been a noticeable shift in relation to the demand for hospitality facilities and offices that meet the increasing environmental, social and governance requirements of both occupiers and investors. And this trend is evident in both new builds and retrofits.

 

Across each of the different agency reports on 2021 performance and expectations for 2022, the overall sentiment is that the fundamentals for Ireland and the property market remain positive, despite the continuing uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Of course, the full impact of the pandemic on the marketplace is still unfolding and it is still unclear what is likely to be the ‘new normal’ post-Covid in terms of office demand and design (and location!). 



www.sammin.ie

Despite the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19, Point A hotel is now at the stage of practical completion.

 

The Sammin Engineering team has been working on the delivery of a €9.8 million hotel development at 17-19 Moore Lane, Dublin 1 under main contractor Sheahan & Collins Construction. 

 

This 4,053sq.m landscaped development consists of 141 bedrooms across seven-storeys (over basement, with a setback at sixth-floor level) and associated hotel facilities including reception area, restaurant and bar. The development also includes the installation of an internally illuminated fascia sign (2.57sq.m) and three projecting signs, one of which is internally illuminated (5.49sq.m). 

 

This was a particularly interesting project for the Sammin team, with the pandemic adding an extra layer of complexity and challenge for all delivery partners, who all worked together well to deliver this fine hotel for the Point A brand family. It is a wonderful new addition to hospitality facilities in Dublin and we have no doubt guests will enjoy the superb interiors and amenities for a long time to come. 

 

 

PROJECT DELIVERY PARTNERS:

 

Developer: QMK Dublin Limited

Main Contractor: Sheahan & Collins Construction 

Architect: Morrison Design Limited

Planning Consultant: Tom Phillips and Associates

Project Manager: Virtus Contracts Management

Groundworks Contractor: Cafferkey Civils

Mechanical Contractor: F. Field Limited

Electrical Contractor: Sammin Engineering 

Assigned Certifier: Loscher Moran Consulting Engineers

Interior Designer: Leisure Concepts

 



www.sammin.ie