03 Nov Limerick Twenty Thirty to significantly enhance sustainability commitment at Opera Square
Amendments to improve its landmark building, Limerick Central Library and public realm
Enhanced measures will result in planning amendment, with timelines unimpacted
DATE: Limerick Twenty Thirty is seeking, on behalf of Limerick City and County Council, a planning amendment for its landmark Opera Square building, public realm and Central Library to achieve latest sustainability requirements and deliver enhanced design standards in keeping with the city’s Georgian heritage.
The amendment to An Bord Pleanála will be submitted by Limerick Twenty Thirty on behalf of Limerick City and County Council tomorrow, Friday November 4th, with a four week public information period commencing immediately until December 2nd. Information Boards will be on display in local authority buildings at Merchants Quay and Dooradoyle, as well as Limerick Twenty Thirty’s office at Gardens International on Henry Street, also from tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the final phase of the 18-month enabling and demolition works – the largest ever undertaken in Limerick – are ongoing and will culminate with a special programme aimed at securing the two most vulnerable of the 16 heritage protected buildings being retained on the Opera Square site.
The planning amendment for the 14 storey landmark building on Opera Square is necessitated by latest NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Buildings) statutory regulations that were introduced since planning was granted in February 2020. As a result of the new regs, the fully glazed design for the 14storey building no longer meets sustainability requirements and must be replaced.
The amendment also sees a range of other improvements to buildings and public realm to deliver world class sustainability standards across the 3.7acre site.
These include facade design amendments to the Limerick Central Library building, as well as reconfigured building cores, stairs and lifts. Allowance for renewable sources of energy for heating and cooling in the building is also included in the amendment. Other changes include relocation of the café from basement to ground floor to improve activation of the square and the external terrace, as well as widening of the circulation-only bridges to create usable galleries overlooking the atrium and public realm.
Amendments will also be made to the Four Opera Square office building in the centre of the site, including facade design amendments to satisfy sustainability regulations in addition to reconfigured building core, stairs and lifts.
Public Realm amendments will also include increased social amenities, biodiversity, and sustainability measures in the public spaces as well as an upgraded mirror pool, increased vegetation including greening of walls for improved biodiversity complete with native and pollinator friendly planting. There will also be management of stormwater using Sustainable Water Management (SUDs) strategies including rain gardens, water attenuation and rainwater harvesting.
Further information on all amendments can be found on the Information Boards which are on public display.
Limerick City and County Council Chief Executive Dr Pat Daly said: “Meeting the international best-practice standards in sustainability at Opera Square is another statement by Limerick and Limerick Twenty Thirty on its commitment to sustainability. A sustainability movement is gaining huge momentum across the Mid-West and we are determined to play a very significant role in that. The latest NZEB regulations are necessitating this planning amendment but we are taking the opportunity to introduce additional environmental and sustainability measures. This is a new standard, an international standard and we are committed to leading out on it.”
David Conway, Chief Executive of Limerick Twenty Thirty said: “This amendment will ultimately involve a significant additional sustainability investment on our part but also a change of building facades, to our 14storey building and the Four Opera Square office. We believe that, as with the sustainability enhancements, these visual aspects will be a major plus for the project also. The new design for our landmark building, in particular, is complementary to the Georgian heritage of the wider site and Limerick city.
“Our team has worked diligently on these amendments and, subject to planning, project timelines will be maintained. Better still this will deliver a positive sustainability impact for the Opera Square project and Limerick.”