There were five excellent presentations dealing with diverse topics across the spectrum of sustainable design in the engineering and built environment sectors at the recent SDAR Awards finals. The topics ranged from energy management, energy management benchmarking and energy entrepreneurship, to challenging engineers to be less techno/eco-centric and instead to design on the basis of broader qualification criteria.
Excellent Presentations at SDAR Awards Final
Two of the presentations came from graduates of the DIT BSc Electrical Services and Energy Management programme. Stuart Dunne’s presentation covered energy management protocols he developed for the Mater Hospital while Aidan Byrne discussed his role in the certification of the Aviva Stadium to ISO 50001. Both completed these projects as undergraduate students.
Stuart’s work resulted in a saving of €115,800pa for the Mater Hospital, whereas Aidan’s work led to the Aviva being the first sports stadium globally to be accredited to the ISO 50001 standard. Aidan’s work is already published in both the SDAR Journal (arrow.dit.ie/sdar/) and the CIBSE Journal (portfolio.cpl.co.uk/CIBSE/201503/aviva-stadium/).
DIT’s Dr Mick McKeever (also of Dragon’s Den fame) presented pioneering work in energy entrepreneurship. His paper considered how to build market sentiment for his “Phase Change Material Thermal Energy Storage Tank/Micro-CHP” project (including recently-patented technology) and how it achieves a factor 6.5 times more heat energy storage capacity when compared to a standard water thermal energy system.
Conor McManus, an MPhil candidate in the School of Construction Department of Construction Management, presented thought-provoking arguments on construction philosophies. He asked if the focus on reducing operational energy usage through technology is failing to consider national eco-systems and broader sustainable development goals.
Another example of energy entrepreneurship was presented by DIT lecturer Dr Niall Holmes. His work concerns a novel approach to sustain the integrity of steel concrete reinforcement through an innovative cement-based battery system to power cathodic protection in reinforced concrete structures.
The judges for the competition included Brian Geraghty, BGA and CIBSE; Paul Martin, SEAI and CIBSE; and Kevin Gaughan, DIT School of Multi Disciplinary Technologies (formerly of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering).
The standard of paper/presentation was excellent but there can still be only one winner. On this occasion Dr McKeever’s work was chosen. He was presented with his prize of €1000 by SISK Buildings Services Department Manager, Mr Padraic O’Connor, who is the main sponsor of the SDAR Awards.
All the other participants were awarded €250 runner-up prizes and certificates of participation.