Custom House Square

c. €1,000,000 Total Cost – Fully Financed – Zero Capital Expenditure – 30% Grant Aided

The Site: One of the largest residential apartments and mixed-use developments in Ireland, Custom House Square (CHS) was developed in 1999. Comprising over 550 Apartments, Offices and Ground Floor Retail and has a very active and involved Owners Management Company. Having been involved with CHS since 2013, Frontline Energy was asked in early 2018 to conduct a Feasibility Analysis across the site, but with a particular focus on the District Energy Scheme which provides heat and hot water to the Residents from Centralised Plant, and also to consider a replacement LED lighting refit.

Frontline Energy Service:

In relation to the District Energy Scheme, the economics of the scheme are a function of the efficiencies of the boilers and transmission network. In also taking into consideration the on-going maintenance, repairs and breakdowns which had been increasingly prevalent of late,  it was determined that the best course of action was to replace the boiler modules with new, greater efficiency boilers.

However, in conducting the Feasibility Analysis, our Engineers also made clear that there was a compelling case for consideration of a Combined Heat and Power Unit (CHP) which could generate part of the electricity required on site, and which would deliver further savings to the Management Company. These electrical savings, combined with a full LED lighting replacement, reducing the electricity consumption for the entire site, resulted in the Board requesting a full Investment Grade Audit, to verify the savings and the creation of a set of tender documents to invite cost submissions from suitably qualified suppliers.

Simultaneously, Frontline Energy liaised with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) in relation to incentives and also investigated external funding options for the Project.

This resulted in the identification of Grant Aid of approximately €180,000 from the SEAI and the securing of a fully funded Energy Performance Agreement which enabled the implementation of the entire project with no Capital Expenditure or levy on the Members of the Management Company.

Instead, the Project has been funded entirely from the savings associated with the project. Furthermore, an insurance policy was put in place, which has guaranteed that if the projected savings were not achieved, that the Management Company would have no liability for any of the Capital costs of the project. The net effect is that the project, which has now achieved Practical Completion, has delivered a full LED lighting refit, a full Boiler refit and a new CHP, with no Capital Expenditure or Levy on Members and which will, through the Energy Savings alone, deliver a further €150,000 per annum to the Management Company, once the Energy Performance Agreement is compiled.

Challenges:

The Project was not without its challenges. To avail of Grant aid available for such projects, there were significant time constraints and deadlines on timing, the Grants needed to be applied for and approved within a very short time period, it was critical that the project commenced on time and was delivered and completed on time to secure payment of the Grants.

It was also critically important that the project was fully operational (particularly the Boilers and CHP) before the onset of the winter months to minimise the impact on Residents. Frontline’s Engineers, in conjunction with the Management Company’s Board and Building Manager, spent considerable time and effort over the duration of the project to ensure that it was completed on time without any negative impact on Residents.

Summary:

The Project will shortly feature as an Exemplar Case Study in the implementation of Energy Efficiency projects in the national press and elsewhere to demonstrate to other Owners Management Companies how a c.€1,000,000 energy efficiency upgrade project can be delivered without any Capital Expenditure or the use of an OMC’s Sinking Fund and most importantly, without a Service Charge levy.

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