Revitalizing Spaces: The Role of Glazed Partitions in Refurbished and Retrofitted Buildings

26th June 2024

In 2024, the Irish construction industry is witnessing a significant surge in building retrofits and refurbishments, driven by a combination of factors including stringent sustainability regulations, a strong focus on heritage conservation, and economic considerations. The Irish government’s ambitious targets for carbon neutrality by 2050 have intensified efforts to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, making retrofitting a critical strategy. Retrofitting projects often have shorter timelines and lower costs compared to new builds, making them attractive to investors and property owners looking for quicker returns on investment.

Economically, refurbishments and retrofits are often more cost-effective and faster to execute compared to new constructions, appealing to both developers and property owners. It maximizes the use of existing structures, reducing the need for new materials and minimizing construction waste. This strategy also addresses the housing shortage in urban areas by converting obsolete or underutilized buildings into residential units, thus optimizing urban space. Similarly we’ve seen the retrofitting of commercial building shells into primary care centres across Ireland demonstrating a planned and strategic response to evolving healthcare needs and urban development challenges by the HSE, Irish government and local authorities.

Another primary driver of this strategy is the national commitment to environmental sustainability, which is becoming more topical than ever. Retrofitting older buildings to meet modern energy efficiency standards is crucial for reducing carbon emissions. This involves upgrading insulation, installing energy-efficient windows and doors, integrating renewable energy systems, and enhancing HVAC systems. These measures help buildings achieve better energy ratings, contributing to Ireland’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Sustainable retrofitting also extends the lifespan of buildings, reducing the environmental impact associated with demolition and new construction.

This trend is reshaping the construction landscape, as architects and construction professionals innovate to blend modern functionalities with the unique character of existing structures, ensuring they meet contemporary standards while retaining their historical and cultural significance.

An evolving trend

In 2024, the strategy of retrofitting and refurbishing existing buildings in the Irish construction sector is multifaceted, catering to diverse purposes such as sustainability, heritage conservation, and economic efficiency, and the need to adapt existing spaces to modern uses. One element that’s becoming increasingly popular in these projects is the use of glazed partitions. These transparent or translucent walls made of glass can dramatically transform interiors, effortlessly combining form and function and breathing new life into tired, dull spaces.

Glazed partition for modern office meeting room

A notable feature of this trend is the increasing use of glazed partitions. Glazed partitions the ability to transform interiors by maximizing natural light, creating flexible spaces, providing acoustic insulation, and enhancing energy efficiency. These attributes make glazed partitions a versatile solution that aligns with sustainable building practices while preserving the historical integrity of older buildings.


Here’s how we see glazed partitioning systems shaping the refurbished interiors of the future in Ireland and further afield.

Maximise natural light

One of the most obvious advantages of internal glazed partitions is their ability to allow natural light to permeate throughout building interiors. Glazed partitioning systems allow for division of space without creating dark, enclosed areas that then require artificial lighting. By using glass walls and partitioning systems architects and designers can open up spaces without compromising on functionality, making them brighter, more welcoming and more aesthetically-pleasing.

Creating flexible spaces

A wide variety of buildings benefit from glazed partitioning systems. Consider modern office environments that require private offices or meeting rooms; or Leisure centres that want to create rooms for group classes or personal training; or mixed-use developments with shared tenant areas. All of these and more can benefit from open, flexible layouts – building interiors that change and grow with the clients and therefore offer a level of sustainability and longevity.  Glazed partitions offer a modern aesthetically-pleasing solution that creates a sense of openness whilst still providing the necessary separations between different functional areas. This level of flexibility is essential in retrofitting existing buildings where preserving the original architectural integrity whilst meeting contemporary needs is often a balancing act.


Glazed partitions create flexible use of space in office buildings and maximise light

Glazed partitions offer a modern aesthetically-pleasing solution that creates a sense of openness whilst still providing the necessary separations between different functional areas.


Acoustic Insulation

An understandably common issue with open plan spaces is noise pollution. Glazed partitioning systems can be acoustically insulated with acoustic glass, helping to reduce noise transmission between different spaces. This is particularly important in busy environments such as offices, educational institutions and healthcare facilities, where noise control is essential for productivity, comfort and confidentiality.




There has never been more of an emphasis on sustainability in construction. Retrofitting or refurbishing an old or unused building shell for a new purpose reduces the environmental impact associated with demolition or new construction. Using glazed partitions in retrofitting can also align with sustainable building practices. Glass usage in a building interior also enhances natural light and therefore can reduce energy consumption, supporting broader sustainability goals.

Historical building sensitivity

When heritage buildings or buildings of historical significance are being retrofitted, designers are tasked with modernising the interiors with modern amenities and functionality without compromising on the historical charm or character of the building. The use of glass and glazed partitions can create a sleek, contemporary aesthetic that contrasts beautifully with older architectural elements. Additionally the transparent nature of glass can be used to highlight and frame specific historical elements that solid structures or walls may obscure. This juxtaposition of the old and new can visually enhance the space, making it both functional to modern users and aesthetically-pleasing at the same time.

komfort glass partitions

Energy efficiency

Finally, older buildings often struggle with energy efficiency and retrofitting projects often aim to improve upon these ratings. The use of high performance fixtures such as glazed partitions, with double or triple glazing, low-emissivity coatings and other technological enhancements in manufacturing can play a role in this by providing better insulation and climate control across all seasons compared to traditional materials.

In conclusion, the strategy of retrofitting and refurbishing existing buildings in Ireland in 2024 and beyond is a holistic approach addressing sustainability, heritage preservation, and economic practicality. This trend is reshaping the Irish construction industry, promoting innovative solutions that respect the past while meeting future needs. For architects and construction professionals, this strategy offers a dynamic and rewarding field of work, blending creativity with technical expertise to revitalize Ireland’s built environment.

KCC Group are excited to provide our expertise and knowledge regarding multifaceted benefits of retrofitting. The retrofitting strategy presents a holistic approach that addresses contemporary needs while respecting historical and cultural significance. This strategy not only revitalizes Ireland’s built environment but also offers architects and construction professionals a rewarding and innovative field of work.

For technical advice or assistance contact our team on [email protected]


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