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25/11/2020 - Major Renewable Energy Upgrades to Milford Public Service Centre and Community Library

Donegal County Council has undertaken a major energy upgrade to Milford Public Services Centre and Community Library. The Council has installed;


  • 3 No.  42.6 kW air-source heat pumps to replace oil boilers
  • 20 photo-voltaic solar panel to generate 6 kW of electricity
  • pumped cavity bead insulation to 800m2 of external walls
  • new efficient heating controls


Pictured at the Contract Award are front (LtoR): James McCabe, FERM Engineering, Contractor, Peadar Espey, DCC and Rear (LtoR):  Emmett McCabe, DCC, Joe McCarron, Patrick McCaul Environmental Consulting Engineers


The combined impact of these measures is expected to lead to a CO2 emissions reduction on site of more than 50%, and a reduction in primary energy of over 40%. In addition, the building has a new future-proof renewable energy facility and improved comfort conditions for the occupants and visitors.


Peadar Espey, Facilities Manager and DCC Energy Team member notes “the aim of this project was to make a significant practical energy upgrade and bring one of the Council’s Public Service Centres to a ‘B’ energy rating.  Donegal County Council was recently recertified to the International Standard for Energy Management – ISO 50001 and continues to deliver improvements in energy use, carbon emissions and cost using this framework. This helps the authority to deliver on its own internal energy savings targets as well as the national public sector targets of 50% savings by 2030”.


Oil Tank Removal



Good practice would dictate that the heating load is first reduced before providing alternative means of heating. The improved wall insulation and heating controls were therefore applied to reduce the load. The use of the heat pumps removes oil from the site and the solar panels add a renewable energy generation.


Heat Pumps

3 no.  42.6 kW air-source heat pumps have been installed to meet the heating needs of the building. Heat pumps use refrigeration technology to provide heat efficiently so that each kWh of electricity used delivers 3 to 4 kWh of heat. A separate smaller 5 kW heat pump has been installed to provide domestic hot water. As a result, two 200 kW oil boilers have been replaced by 133 kW capacity in heat pumps, a reduction of two thirds. These units have built-in variable speed control so that capacity can adjust continuously to suit loads, thus reducing energy waste. They also adjust to outdoor temperature and use even less kWh electricity for each kWh of heat delivered when conditions are milder.


Voltaic Solar Panels


Solar Panels

An array of 20 photo-voltaic solar panels has been installed on the roof of the Public Services Centre. These can generate 6 kW of electricity at peak and would be expected to reduce the need for imported electricity by about 11% before the upgrades.


Improved insulation

NSAI Agrément certified pumped cavity bead insulation has been applied to over 800m2 of external walls to reduce the heat loss through the walls by almost 50%.


Air-Source Heat Pumps             


Heating Controls

A new building management system together with modern efficient variable speed heating circuit pumps and controls was installed. This allows more responsive operation with resultant savings as equipment adjusts better to meet changing conditions such as weather conditions or building occupancy


Overall Benefits

In summary the benefits of this project are;


  • Reduction in total primary energy for site of over 40%
  • Reduction in CO2 emissions on site of more than 50%
  • Reduction in energy costs
  • Reduced environmental management risk due to removal of oil from the site
  • Reduced maintenance of heat pumps compared to oil boilers
  • Renewed assets at start of expected operating life to support functioning of building and service
  • Improved building comfort
  • Experienced gained in upgrades can be applied to other Donegal County Council facilities to further decarbonise




Air-Source Heat Pumps Installation


Peadar Espey, Facilities Manager and DCC Energy Team member notes “the overall benefits are expected to be substantial and are anticipated to strongly support Donegal County Council’s energy and carbon reduction targets”.



This project was part funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Interreg SMARTrenew programme which includes international experts sharing their experiences, insights and learning on how they have embraced smart renewable energy technology. Donegal County Council is one of the international partners and has benefitted from the experiences gained in such an exciting EU funded project. 



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