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Dublin Living Lab

Dublin, Ireland

Key Partners

Lead: UCD







Main Solutions
Building Adjacent PhotoVoltaics
Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics
Energy management System
Battery Bank


The Dublin Living Lab is based in the town of Dun Loaghaire, a few kilometres south from the city. The town has recently made several commitments to reduce it’s emission, reaching Net 0 by 2030. Principle of these commitments, is the establishment of a Decarbonising Zone. This zone serves as a testing ground for innovative technologies, a way to serve local communities and reducing emissions. This zone must reflect national decarbonisation targets at a local level. For the time being, this zone must see a reduction in emissions of 51% by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050. 


This provided an excellent opportunity for the Dublin LL, as the goals established by PROBONO and the County Council is this zone share many common points. To enable this, PROBONO has focused on improving building and transport efficiency, reducing power consumption and improving quality of life all whilst conserving the architectural heritage of the area. For these reasons, the PROBONO Dublin LL has made the decision to implement Photovoltaics, both building adjacent and integrated, two way EV charging infrastructure, a battery bank, insulation and an energy management system. 


These technologies will help reduce emissions, improve quality of life and demonstrate the viability and scalability of novel technologies. It is hoped that this will serve as a proof of concept not only for other local authorities in the city and county, but also for individuals and private enterprises also seeking to accomplish similar outcomes. 

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Master plan of proposed interventions in the Dublin LL

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Innovations and Technological Advances

Technology 1: Photovoltaics


Photovoltaics will serve to increase the share of renewable energy consumed by buildings such as County Hall and the LexIcon library. In the case of Building Integrated panels, these are planned to be public facing, illustrating the possibilities of generating energy from previously unused surfaces. The flagship product of the lab is hoped to be the integration of this technology on the LexIcon library. This decision was taken due to three primary reasons. Firstly, is the status of the building as the LL’s Green Building Neighbourhood’s hub, allowing it to be used as a workshop venue and as a location for the public to explore information and data generated by the LL. Secondly, is it’s status within the local community. The library hosts a diverse set of amenities such as a café, 24h study areas, 3D printing workshops and more. Thirdly is its electricity consumption. The library presents a unique opportunity for the LL, as its electricity sourced from fossil fuels can be replaced by in-situ renewables. This allows for the calculation of a decarbonisation pathway for the building, allowing it to become one the first carbon neutral libraries in Ireland. So far, Photovoltaics have been planned for the County Hall and LexIcon library buildings, outputting an estimated total of nearly 700MWh/annum of renewable energy. 

Technology 2: Battery Bank, EV Chargers, and Energy Market System 


The Dublin LL also made the decision to include a battery bank, two-way EV chargers and an energy management system. These systems will work in tandem to store renewable energy during periods of excess production, and feed this back into County Hall and the LexIcon library during periods of high-demand. Since this scenario is expected to be uncommon, these systems will also purchase and store electricity at off-peak prices, allowing for it to be consumed during periods of high grid demand, helping lower the overall energy bill. In the case of the EVs, these not only act as extra battery capacity, but this upgrade will also allow for better monitoring of their use patterns and users. 

Technology 3: Insulation

Insulation was provided for use in the Harbour Master’s Lodge. This Heritage building posed a unique challenge, as improving it’s energy performance could not come at the expense of it’s heritage. For this reason, PROBONO subcontracted a joinery specialist. By adding film to the windows, and insulation around the windows, the team has observed a 45% improvement on window U values. This was sone all whilst preserving as much of the original materials as possible and treating this energy performance upgrade as a restoration project. 

Social and Behavioural Innovation

GeoDesign Workshop


Recently, the County Council carried out a Geodesign workshop in the LexIcon library supported by University College Dublin. Geodesign is a set of concepts and methods used to involve all stakeholders in collaborative spatially based design. This acted as a valuable proof of concept for both the County Council and the wider PROBONO project. The outcome of this, is that the County Council and University College Dublin will now conduct another Geodesign in Dún Loaghaire focusing on working with the public in developing its plan for a Decarbonizing Zone. In addition to this, University College Dublin are also supporting AU in conducting its own Geodesign.

Beaufort Retrofit Post Occupancy Evaluation 

University College Dublin is working with the County Council on conducting an evaluation of the resident experience with the process and retrofit works that took place in Beaufort social housing development during 2022. The aim is to understand their perceptions of the process, how was it to cope with the works, and how they currently experience the changes that were put in place, especially trying to identify their perceptions regarding potential improvements in their quality of life. 

The study will be composed of an introductory session to understand the experience of tenants living in-situ during the retrofitting works and of a  survey to be conducted by the research team with the participation of the self-selecting tenants to understand the lived experience of tenants post-completion, and managing the new building systems. The purpose of this survey is to evaluate the post-retrofit experience of the tenants. 

The study will provide valuable feedback and lessons learnt to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Housing Maintenance that can help improve how these types of projects are carried out in the future. 

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Contact Information

Living Lab Leader:

Philip Crowe



Oliver Kinnane


Stephen Curran


Charlotte de Ferrars


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