Hillsborough Castle
Northern Ireland





Historic Royal Palaces




O'Connor Sutton Cronin




Engineering services design, Sustainability





  • WINNER 'Heritage' RICS Northern Ireland Social Impact Awards 2020

About the Hillsborough Castle

Hillsborough Castle is a grand family home, the official home of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and a royal residence. TB+A was appointed to provide MEP design services at the existing old Hillsborough Castle for the following:

    • Two new visitor centres at Upper-Old Military Wing/Courtyard and a new build at Lower
    • Pineapple Yard Buildings
    • Operating Base facilities at the entrances to the site.

    The technical brief was to provide a facility that was both energy efficient and included renewable energy sources where it was technically and commercially viable. Our team were required to work with our client to deliver these sustainable, low energy buildings.

    Using the ‘Lean, Mean, and Green’ Energy hierarchy, our specialist Energy and Environment group undertook detailed analysis of the most efficient solutions to provide energy and carbon reduction. This involved the whole team as it impacted the building physics as well as operational use.

    Passive “lean” measures were analysed and adopted to conserve energy through improved fabric performance, daylighting, and shading with natural ventilation. Energy management “mean” measures employed the use of high energy efficient plant, lighting and equipment with sensors and controls to enable the environment and building operations to run cost effectively with reduced energy, carbon emissions and running costs.

    A renewable “green” solution comprising of hydro renewable energy from the refurbished ‘mill race’ and solar water heating was designed to provide both heating and cooling to the lower visitor facility space through an underfloor heating system. PV arrays were also designed to avail of daylight energy within the Operating Base. A rainwater harvesting system was also designed within the new build lower visitor facility to assist with the public health solution.

    We also undertook the BREEAM assessment for the project. The Upper facility achieved BREEAM Very Good, and the lower visitor facility BREEAM Excellent. We undertook and chaired a range of collaborative Infrastructure meetings dealing with mains M&E services, the hydro plant, IT and Security issues throughout the RIBA stages 2+3. This was a vital process to understand and evaluate each of the above services, the issues, and the subsequent resolution of those issues.

    The construction phase was 32 months to complete the considerable site-works required on the extensive 100-acre estate.

    "Thank you for all your help and support in delivering the Hillsborough projects. It was quite a journey!! We achieved the delivery of a range of quality projects in a very challenging time frame, in time for opening in April 2019. Despite the timeframe we did not compromise on quality and that is evident to all. Long after we are gone, what we have delivered at Hillsborough will be enjoyed by many, many visitors. Thank you again for all your help and support - together we achieved something special at Hillsborough Castle."
    John Baird
    HRP Project Sponsor