300 new jobs to construct €40M high-tech ‘green’ engineering building

25 Sep 2009

The construction of a €40m “green” engineering building at NUI Galway will result in 300 new construction jobs, the Taoiseach said today.

The turning of the sod on the new facility comes just a day after the opening of Microsoft’s €500m data centre in Dublin which makes use of the Irish climate to cool itself and uses just 1pc of the amount of water used by traditional data centres.

“The new engineering building will be financed through a combination of exchequer funding and resources realised by NUI Galway, including philanthropy,” Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD said.

“The new building will bring benefits to Galway City and its surrounds by creating jobs for the next two years. Longer term, it will enable NUI Galway to continue to produce excellent engineering graduates supporting the Smart Economy in areas such as innovation and renewable energy technologies,” Cowen said.

NUI Galway has recently seen soaring engineering programme applications which reflect favourably on carefully thought-out new programmes.

These include Energy Systems Engineering, designed in response to a growing demand for professional engineers to work in the energy sector. Another new course is Engineering Innovation, which aims to create a new type of electronic engineer with skills in innovation and entrepreneurship essential to delivering the Smart Economy.

The 14,200 sq-metre engineering building will accommodate the College of Engineering and Informatics, housing 110 staff and about 1100 students.

It will include “green-building” initiatives, and with its exposed construction design, will itself be utilised as a teaching tool for the students.

High-tech renewable energy systems, environmentally friendly heat generation using carbon-neutral biomass, rainwater recycling, ground source heat pump, and low-embodied energy construction materials wherever possible will underpin the building’s green credentials and provide working examples for engineering students to study.

“This new engineering building reflects our commitment to providing students with the highest quality learning experience in engineering education,” the president of NUI Galway, Dr James J Browne, said.

“NUI Galway enjoys a strong reputation in engineering, evidenced by this year’s increase in undergraduate engineering entry to over 250 students – a 25pc increase on the previous year.

“This approach to education at NUI Galway is based on the university’s key research strengths and our strong linkage with industrial partners. We offer a range of innovative programmes – from Biomedical to Energy Engineering – which highlights the university’s commitment to the national and regional needs of the Smart Economy,” Browne said.

Designed by award-winning architects RMJM (Scotland) in partnership with Taylor Architects of Castlebar, Co Mayo, the building will be the largest constructed in one development on the NUI Galway city campus and will be situated to the north of the Quincentennial Bridge.

BAM Building Ltd has been signed as the main contractor for what will be one of the largest construction projects west of the Shannon and on completion will be the largest engineering building in the country.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The construction of a ‘green’ engineering building at NUI Galway will result in 300 new jobs.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years