Home energy upgrades through St Canice’s Credit Union

CKEA are delighted to hear that St Canice’s Credit Union, REIL and SEAI are partnering to bring credit union members in Kilkenny and Laois grants tailor made for home energy upgrades.

Read the full St Canice’s Credit Union press release here: Read more

COP21 Climate Change

Paddy Phelan CKEA attended COP21 conference on Climate Change, in Paris on the 2nd of December 2015, to give a presentation at a workshop hosted by Fedarene, to highlight the excellent work done by St Canices Credit Union, Kilkenny, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the COP21Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency. The main aim of the workshop was to analyze outstanding international local initiatives that contribute to the fight against climate change, to the local resource economy and the development of renewable energies. Hence, highlighting and supporting such initiatives through local actions and their contribution to global goals in the fight against climate change.

The Community Energy Loans (CELs) was initiated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland with St. Canice’s Credit Union Ltd. as lead Applicant and Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency as Project Coordinator. The programme was offering a loan Rate 6.4% (APR 6.6%), 30% loan on all energy efficiency upgrades. Home Renovation Incentive Scheme (HRI), 13.5 tax credit back over 2 Years and a sale of Energy Credits at €0.075 per kWh Saved. The Credit Union had a market of over 40,000 active member accounts.

CELS resultsThe scheme was piloted for the year 2015, in total there were 81 expressions of interest from Credit Union members, with an uptake of 41 completed projects. For the first 6 months of the project the uptake was steady, with a total loan amount approved of €191,06.50 covering 22 energy upgrade projects. However, during the month of October and the first few days of November, there was an acceleration in loan approvals. These loan amounts were for €222,351.40 equating to 21 energy upgrades. Plans for 2016, it is hoped to launch the programme for 2016 during the winter months when people are more aware of energy costs and home comfort conditions. The aim is also to allow an application for a larger project which will greater improve and facilitate applicants during the winter period and to incorporate more Credit Unions within the County. Aso the the wish is to streamline the application process with the introduction of a online application and tender system. It is local initiatives like CELs at that can be the kick start in the fight to improve climate change.

Largest PV Installation

Largest PV Installation in the Republic of Ireland O'Sheas_BEC

Exciting news this week in County Kilkenny, the Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency (CKEA), O’Shea Farms in Piltown and Solar Electric are working on installing the largest Solar PV installation in the Republic of Ireland. O’Shea Farms have a year round electricity demand from refrigerated cold storage. They supply fresh produce to supermarkets across the country all year around. They plan to meet this base load demand with the installation of 250kWp, covering 1,569m² of roof area on and meeting 11% of the total site electricity demand. This project will set O’Shea Farms as the leaders in solar power generation in the Ireland. Jane Wickham, Paddy Phelan and Nigel Kwenda of the Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency are working closely with O’Shea Farms on the project management of this installation. The Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency was successful in applying for 20% grant for the capital cost of the project through the Better Energy Communities from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

The project received a lot of interest from multinational companies when Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency put it out to tender in early August. The contract was awarded to Solar Electric Ireland Limited from Co. Wexford. O’Shea Farms are currently in the construction phase of the project. Solar Electric Ireland have already delivered an order of 160kW worth of solar panels onsite and construction is to start this Thursday 1st October. The installation and commissioning of the project is expected to be completed by the end of October 2015.

The main advantages of onsite solar power generation at O’Shea Farms are as follows;

  • Solar energy coincides with energy needs for cooling during the summer months. Therefore, a Solar PV System can provide an effective solution to supply energy during peak demands especially in hot summer months where energy demand is high.
  • Solar power generation is carbon neutral hence; it will firmly ground O’Shea Farms’ sustainable practice credentials.
  • Solar power generation does not require a primary energy source attributed with conventional power generation methods. Therefore, it reduces O’Shea Farms’ exposure to fluctuating energy prices.
  • Solar power generation requires little to no operational and maintenance costs compared to other renewable energy technologies.
  • On completion the 250kWp installation will be Ireland’s largest single Solar PV installation setting O’Shea farms as leaders in solar power generation in Ireland.


EPC Street Lighting Event – Santander, Spain

Streetligh EPC logo CKEA website Santander, Spain hosted the recent Street Lighting EPC event. “STREETLIGHT-EPC” is setting up Regional EPC Facilitation Services (helpdesks) in 9 European regions for municipalities and SMEs as potential ESCOs. The partner regions are implementing energy efficient street lighting refurbishment projects using Energy Performance Contracting (EPC). This will help create knowledge and trust in both EPC and LED technology” (FEDARENE).

Old street lighting systems can account for 30-50% of municipalities’ total electricity consumption. Yet, current technologies offer 30-70% potential energy savings. These potential savings have been recognised and incorporated into European policies: EU Regulation 245/2009 sets phasing out requirements for nearly 80% of all currently used lamp types between 2012 and 2017. This means that these lamp types will no longer be available on the market for purchase.

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) offers municipalities an innovative, but still under-used, solution to finance a transition to energy efficient street lighting with energy savings guarantees. Street lighting is a good “learning and testing ground” for EPC due to its lower technical and economic complexity compared to building-related EPC. Furthermore, the recent market introduction of LED technology offers high energy and cost savings with comparatively short pay-back times.

EPC Street Lighting – Successes

Palencia/Spain – a pioneer project

  • Population: 81,000
  • Urban area with 11,000 lighting points.
  • Before renovation, mostly high-pressure sodium lamps and high pressure mercury lamps were used, frequently with low efficiency and insufficient colour rendition.
  • In the context of a streetlight-EPC project, as a first step, 3,139 luminaires were changed to LED.
  • An individual luminaire dimming control system was installed.
  • Contract duration: 12 years
  • Guaranteed energy savings: 75 %
  • Total savings: 2,000,000 Euro

Wels/Austria – comprehensive LED project

  • Population: 61,000 total street lighting system: 7,700 lights and 9,100 lamps
  • Prior to the retrofitting project, mercury vapour discharge lamps (HQL), sodium lamps, plug-in solutions and fluorescent lamps were in use, of which 4,500 were older than 15 years.
  • Between 2011 and 2014, 50 % of the lighting system was converted to LED technology.
  • A third of the street lighting is dimmed to 50 % between 21:30 and 5:30, resulting in increased saving without compromising road safety.
  • Investment by the ESCO: 1,656,000 Euro
  • Contract duration: 7 years
  • Achieved annual savings: 36 % (guaranteed)


Tams2 Pig and Poultry

pig poultry-farmCarlow Kilkenny Energy Agency are currently working with Pig and Poultry farmers under the Tams2 Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme. The scheme is currently open to all farmers who meet the eligibility criteria, offering a standard rate of 40% on investment up to a maximum €80,000.

Areas of investment eligible include:

  • Energy Efficient Boilers
  • Energy Efficient upgrade for farrow house
  • Heat Pumps
  • Solar Panels
  • Water Panels

In 2014, Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency, conducted an audit, on a Pig farm in County Kilkenny. The purpose of the audit was to explore opportunities for reducing energy consumption and costs associated with energy consumption.  CKEA applied for funding for this project under the Better Energy Community (BEC) scheme which gave 35% grant aid on the project outlay. The areas that the farmer implemented included an invertor upgrades on the motor at grain milling silos and lighting upgrades. The total savings from the electrical update amounted to a 7.5% reduction in the overall energy bill. The energy bill was calculated at the total cost of Electricity and Kerosene use. In 2015, the farmer is upgrading his heating system to replace oil with a heat pump. The expected savings from the installation of the Heat pump are 8% reduction on total energy use.

CKEA can conduct an energy audit and make recommendations on any areas that will meet the criteria under the Tams 2 scheme. All applications must be made online by and can be carried out by Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency and processed on behalf on the applicant farmer.  Applications can be made under agfood.ie by registered users of the Department of Agriculture’s website. Scheme details for TAMS II and specifications for buildings are available on the Department’s website.

Our Mission:

The Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency aims to reduce kilowatt hours and CO2 emissions while increasing Euros saved and improving sustainability for all our clients.

Case Study: LED Lighting: Greenlane Fire Station – October 2015

Case Study: LED Lighting: Greenlane Fire Station


The Greenlane Fire Station is operated by Carlow County Council Fire & Rescue Services Carlow County Council Fire & Rescue Services. The fire station availed of services through SEAI to perform an energy audit in early 2014. Through the SEAI an energy auditor was provided and a site visit was performed. The site visit generated a list of potential measures which outlined potential energy savings by adopting energy efficiency measures. Items outlined included boiler and heating controls, as well as lighting upgrades. The staff at the Fire station opted to review in greater detail the potential of lighting upgrades. Their existing lighting was T-8 lighting, which was manually controlled with wall mounted switches. Typically the hall lighting was being left on constantly, and while every effort was made by the staff at the fire station, offices were left unmanned during emergencies with the lighting left on in the absence of staff. With the assistance of Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency, a public tender was prepared and various options for lighting improvements were tendered by varying contractors. In the end the facility had a choice of T-5 lighting or LED lighting upgrades. The pros and cons of each option were evaluated and taking into consideration operational and maintenance cost, the department opted for the LED option.  The project was installed in September 2014. The Fire & Rescue Services department through the CKEA, availed of grant aid through the Better Energy Communities 2014 program.



The initial lighting energy efficiency project was identified in January 2014. The project applied for funding under Better Energy Communities 2014 in April 2014. Approval for grant aid was received in June 2014. The project was then tendered and the removal of the existing lighting and installation of new lighting was completed in September 2014.



The LED lighting was installed in September 2014. The LED lighting has some additional functionality with motion sensors also installed. The site opted to reduce the number of fittings in certain areas and have been pleased with the improved quality of lighting in the spaces. The expected payback, including grant aid is just over 6 years.  The following graph shows the pre and post energy consumption for the site.


Greenlane Firestation Pre & Post Energy Consumption

Cost Savings

To date from January 2015-July 2015, the site has saved just over €1,100 on their energy bills as a direct result of installation of the LED lighting.

Engineer Responsible:

Elizabeth Cosgrave, Energy Engineer, Energy Efficiency


Key Words – Energy Efficiency, LED Lighting, Energy Savings




Case Study: St. Canices Hall, Kilkenny


St. Canices Hall is locally used for such activities as boules playing, afterschools facilities, mens club and occasional functions in the community. The hall offers a valuable resource for those wishing to socialise with their community.St. Canices Hall is locally used for such activities as boules playing, afterschools facilities, mens club and occasional functions in the community. The hall offers a valuable resource for those wishing to socialise with their community.

St Canices HallEnergy Efficient Lighting

St. Canices Hall had a mixture of T-12 and T-8 flourescent lighting. It was proposed to install LED-Tubes for improved lighting in the space.

Insulation and Building Fabric upgrades

St. Canice’s opted to dry-line the main hall of the building. The rear snooker rooms were insulated used cavity wall pumped insulation. 300-mm of attic insulation was also added to the Main Hall, with roof vents. The back door was previously in bad repair and was replaced. As a result the centre now has wheelchair access which allows additional community members to use the facility.


Since the upgrade the role of the centre has changed somewhat, with office space being added in one of the rear room, which has increased footfall. Based on the initial period of monitoring from December 2013-April2014, there was a 4% cost reduction and 13% usage reduction. If usage had continued as such it was expected that there would have been an overall 11% annual energy savings a result of lighting upgrades. There was a 32% reduction in oil usage at the site as a result of the insulation upgrades.

St Canices 1

Figure 1 St. Canices Hall During Upgrade

St Canices 2

Figure 2 Post Upgrade


St Canices 5


St Canices 6


St Canices 7

Case Study: Kilkenny City Hall, Kilkenny


Kilkenny City Hall, KilkennyKilkenny City Hall houses Kilkenny Borough Council, part of Kilkenny Local Authorities. The building is a listed building of historical interest and is open to public viewing during normal office hours. During the 1980’s a fire destroyed the building and it was rebuilt shortly afterwards. Since then it has been predominantly cosmetic upgrades that have taken place and KBC were eager to provide some newer lighting for their staff, as well as address the comfort issue of heating. The building is also home to the Mayor of Kilkenny

Time Frame

The initial decision to proceed with energy efficiency upgrades took place in April 2013 and the projects were complete by October 2013. The works were funded by SEAI Better Energy Communities 2013.

Implemented Energy Efficiency Measures

City Hall opted to install two energy efficiency measures. The first measure they implemented was an upgrade of their lighting. Their existing lighting was T-8, magnetic ballast, mixed with some 2-D fluorescent fixtures. The existing T-8s were replaced with T-5 fluorescent tubes and new fixtures and the 2-D fixtures were replaced with LED equivalent. Occupancy sensors were placed in low use areas such as toilets and canteen areas.

City Hall also decided to upgrade their storage heating. The existing storage heating had been in place since the 1980’s and had no control and was providing low levels of heat output. The City Hall opted to install new Dimplex Storage heating with controls. The controls allow space temperature settings, time clocks as well as being intelligent.


  • Cost Savings – 36%
  • Energy Savings – 37,170-kWh (5% greater than expected)
  • Expected Energy Savings – 35,509-kWh

Engineer Responsible:

Elizabeth Cosgrave, MEng. Sc., BE MIEI

Early Years Capital 2015 for Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Pobal, on behalf of the Department of Children & Youth Affairs (DCYA), would like to announce the Early Years Capital 2015 programme.  DCYA has secured €7 million for Early Years Capital Programme 2015 (EYC2015). EYC2015 is open to early years settings currently providing services under at least one of the three Department of Children & Youth Affairs National Government programmes, Community Childcare Subvention (CCS), Training Education Childcare (TEC) or Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).

 EYC2015 will provide small grants for 4 different strands. Community- based services can make applications against ONE only of Strands 1, 2 or 3 and additionally against Strand 4. NB – All funding must be fully spent and fully reported by 31st December 2015. Further information and application forms will be available on the PIP portal from 29th April 2015. The closing date for applications is the 28th May 2015.

Strand 1 – Relocation/Major Refurbishment of community-based early years services

Strand 2 – Essential Maintenance of community-based early years services

Strand 3 – Quality Improvement & Sustainability for community-based early years services.

Strand 4 – Quality Improvement ICT upgrade for private and community-based early years services.


Strand 3  Quality Improvement & Sustainability for community-based early years services.

Grants up to maximum €50,000 for medium-scale works to improve the Building Energy Rating (BER) of early years facilities.

What can be funded?

Projects that will have immediate or short term, medium/high impact on the energy rating of the building.  For example:

·         building insulation,

·         replacement of windows and doors,

·         draught stripping,

·         improving water and heating systems,

·         installation of thermostatic controls.

An allowance of up to €200 can be claimed as part of the total grant against the cost of the BER Advisory Report and should be included in the quotes template.

What will I need to make an application?

All  applications submitted under Strand 3 must be supported by a BER Advisory Report. A BER Advisory Report must be undertaken by a registered non-domestic BER assessor. A list of registered assessors can be found on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website at www.seai.ie.

You will also need three quotes for all proposed works over €5,000 and one quote for all works of €5000 or less.

CKEA can carry out BER Advisory Report. Contact CKEA office on 056 7790856 for further information or send an email to jwickham@ckea.ie