Green Credentials


NUI Galway is the only University in Ireland to offer a degree in Energy Systems Engineering, and has a significant focus on research into environmental technologies. The Engineering Building contains a range of such ‘green’ technologies. There is largescale rainwater harvesting, a biomass boiler, low-embodied energy materials such as zinc, novel voided slab systems, grass roofs for water attenuation, heat exchangers and many other cutting-edge technologies.


Ø  Materials

  • Low embodied energy materials (including zinc exterior face)
  • Novel voided slab systems (the first significant installation of its kind to be used in Ireland – basically plastic bubble filled with air bulk out the concrete so you less is needed)
  • 40% GGBS based concrete (this type of concrete uses a by-product of iron ore manufacturing ‘Ground Granulated Blastfurnace Slag’ greatly reducing the carbon footprint of the concrete)


Ø  Heating and Ventilation

  • 500kW thermal, 350 kW electrical natural gas-fired Combined Heat and Power Unit
  • 950 kW pellet biomass boiler
  • Computer controlled night purging
  • Three >90% efficient natural gas condensing boilers
  • District heating system feeding the nearby Sports Centre and swimming pool
  • Climate wall with top-vented stack control and solar control via blinds
  • Ground source heat pump in southern parkland
  • Natural stack ventilation
  • Darkened glass on east side to reduce solar gain
  • Chilled beam systems
  • Black plaster on northern façades as a heat collector
  • Low-E glazing (to reduce solar gain and heat loss)
  • Solar hot water heating for domestic hot water supplies
  • Heat exchangers (using the atrium as a building lung and passive vents in the laboratories)


Ø  Water

  • Rain water harvesting
  • Large scale water recycling
  • Low-volume flush toilets
  • Infra-red sensor low water volume spray taps
  • Grass roof (on the labs) for water attenuation and insulation
  • 75m3 rain water harvesting tank (re-used for toilets)
  • Large buried water attenuation tank (to stop major discharge to the city sewers)
  • Siphonic drainage


Ø  Lighting

  • Low energy lighting with presence and lux level lighting controls including manual switching
  • LED Exit Signs and emergency lighting
  • External LED Lighting with time-clock and photocell control
  • Maximising free cooling by using displacement ventilation in the comfort cooled lecture theatres
  • Low loss electricity transformer


Ø  Management

  • Building management system controlling all aspects
  • More than 140 meters on the building services
  • Lux dipping throughout the day and night (the computer drops the lights if it is bright, and lowers the levels at night)
  • Green / Amber / Red light signals in large postgraduate areas indicating Naturally ventilated / Fan coil assisted / Fully air conditioned environments (respectively)
  • Metering of power systems
  • Metering of heating and cooling systems
  • Use of an energy centre to reduce construction requirement, prevent overheating of plant areas, reduce noise and provide a teaching tool

Featured Stories