Funder: EU LIFE Programme.This is the EU funding programme for the environment and climate action. 

Duration of Project: June 2014 to April 2018 (48 Months)

Lead on Project: The Rediscovery Centre

Other Partners: Dublin City Council

Status: Complete


The WISER LIFE+ project developed a prototype ‘3D textbook’ for sustainable development education in the Boiler House in Ballymun. A new concept in experiential learning, the development brings together the educational value from the built, natural and cultural environment to create a centre of excellence in resource efficiency.

In demonstrating circular economy principles, the textbook highlights nature’s ability to reuse via closed loop systems in composting, biodiversity, biological restoration, willow coppicing and nutrient recycling, among others. 



A key challenge to the modern world is sustainable development with regard to our built, cultural and natural environment. The European Commission (EC) sets out targets for waste management and recycling in the Waste Framework Directive and further ambitions and goals in the Circular Economy package.  

In 2014, Ireland’s waste management performance suffered as a result of insufficient planning of future treatment capacity, an absence of waste prevention on the political agenda, insufficient use of economic and legal instruments, and inadequate municipal waste recycling. The Irish challenge was to adapt to the needs of sustainable development and move toward a Circular Economy as described by the EC. 

Objectives of Project:

The primary objective of the WISER project was to create a ‘3D Textbook’ in order to demonstrate best practice with respect to natural building materials, construction reuse and energy/water/waste efficient processes. The project objectives aligned with ambitions set out in national waste and sustainability policies and encouraged eco-innovation, environmental best practice and the creation of green sector jobs. 

Beginning in 2014, WISER LIFE undertook four major strands of work:

  • Develop a prototype ‘3-D Text Book’ reuse education centre that embraces the concept of sustainable development and is in itself a teaching and learning tool for sustainability.
  • Promote positive behavioural change by demonstrating good practice with respect to waste generation, the use of natural resources and recognising the value of waste.
  • Demonstrate the potential of best practice reuse to assist in socio-economic regeneration at EU level.
  • Contribute to the EU’s body of knowledge by sharing experience gained through the implementation of resource efficiency measures and innovations and demonstrating interventions which have genuine potential for replication on a European scale.


Project Outputs:

Thanks to this project, the Boiler House is now perhaps the most celebrated circular building in Ireland, and provides a roadmap for other construction projects to follow. The Boiler House acts as a blueprint for how to undertake a construction project in line with our responsibilities to future generations. 

The building’s reconstruction reused approximately 17.5 t of main steel structure, 3.5 t of ancillary steel structure, 260 t of concrete slab structure, and reused 281 t of construction and demolition waste. The reuse of the existing structures resulted in an avoidance of approximately 55 t of embodied carbon, based purely on production impact. The energy consumption of the building was reduced by 40% compared to a ‘do-nothing’ scenario, and on-site electricity generation of 19% was achieved. 

As a project deliverable, a layman’s report summarising WISER LIFE  has been created. The report gives an introduction to the issues addressed by the project, solutions implemented and their impact.  You can access the  layman’s report here

A key element of the refurbishment of the Boilerhouse was to support and encourage reuse (where possible) and where not possible identify and communicate the barriers to reuse. To share the learnings from the project a case study was prepared. You can access this  Reuse Case Study here.

A matrix was also prepared which highlights Architectural considerations and the decision making process which informed the final 3D textbook construction. Which you can access here   Architects matrix

The project has created a gold standard for circular construction in Ireland, the likes of which have not been seen before.

Dublin City Council