Old Leighlin lead the way to mapping a plan to be part of the climate action programme

The All of Government Climate Action Plan aims to expand the SEC Network to 1500 communities all over Ireland receiving support to plan for a sustainable energy future.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Old Leighlin have done it again. Like they always do. Securing hard fought national grant aid to become Carlow’s first community with the first completed Energy Masterplan in County Carlow.

Old Leighlin is a beautiful place, standing on raised ground overlooking rolling hills and valleys with spectacular vistas.

Following several workshops, and community consultations, the community of Old Leighlin came together and held a public information meeting which was very well attended.  The local community group knew they were on to something. The positive energy in the room was evident and with that a clear vision emerged from the meeting – to establish Old Leighlin as an energy efficient community. The local community group, brimming with drive and dedication, worked in collaboration with Carlow County Development Partnership CLG, and with assistance from us 3cea, and Planenergy Consulting, to complete an Energy Masterplan with grant aid of €10,000 received from SEAI.

Following on from initiating and progressing the Energy Master Plan for the village, Old Leighlin explored different ways in which they could enhance and preserve its beautiful landscape to continue to maintain its natural ambience in a sustainable manner.

Old Leighlin are continuously looking to improve and explore innovative ways to address climate change and make a difference to all the community. Their interest in promoting Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation and Quality, and Biodiversity, are all fundamental essentials that the community believe are the tools needed to preserve ancient Old Leighlin while embracing modern Old Leighlin.

With constant support from Carlow County Development Partnership, Old Leighlin Community Hall and Old Leighlin Tidy Towns were able to access expertise and know-how to reflect on the value of what was present in their village and learn how to protect Old Leighlin and their natural resources into the future.

The Energy Master plan surveys and documents the community’s energy consumption and will also highlight buildings and areas where alterations and improvements can be made to upgrade energy efficiency reduce carbon emissions and reduce consumption in the community. This will enable members to carry out necessary upgrades, where possible thereby, reducing their energy bills, and afford a more comfortable and sustainable living.

Representatives from Old Leighlin stated that the support received from Carlow County Development Partnership made a complicated process much easier. Alice, a committee member from Old Leighlin said ‘we are really delighted to have got this far. The support from the community and from Carlow Development, at each and every step made the difference.  They supported and enabled us to focus on the next step rather than get overwhelmed by the whole project, which still seems enormous to us. I have to say that while the detail required for the application worried people within the community at the start, bit by bit we found the confidence to keep going’. She further commented on the Water conservation and Biodiversity training programme which were also facilitated by Carlow Development through LEADER funding.

Speaking to the Nationalist, Marina DeCosta of Carlow Development extended her congratulations to the community of Old Leighlin and added ‘the journey was long and hard. Sometimes it felt we would have to take a step back, particularly in light of the complications and hurdles that were created due to COVID. However, the resilience and determination of the committee along with partners 3cea and Planenergy overcame a multitude of barriers. Old Leighlin can proudly take ownership of the very first EMP to be launched in County Carlow.

Read more

Eddie's Home

Eddie’s home transformation features in The Sunday Times

Eddie Brennan of Wexford Town upgraded his 1930s bungalow with 3cea in 2019. 

We were delighted to see Eddie’s home energy upgrade story featured in The Sunday Times over the weekend. The article was published by Arlene Harris, who met Eddie and his partner Mary, to gain their insights after achieving such a major home improvement project.

Eddie’s bungalow was in very poor condition prior to the renovation works, with a BER of G, the lowest rating on the BER scale. Eddie continues to describe the process of his project and outlines the different upgrade measures he installed in his new and improved home. You can visit The Sunday Times piece here to read the story in full.

For more information on Eddie’s upgrade project, visit our own interview here, where Eddie lists each of the measures he chose and how these installations transformed his home life.

Home Energy Upgrade Journey

Homeowner Journey

We at 3cea offer homeowners a One Stop Shop service. We will guide homeowners every step of the way, from our initial home assessment right through to the completion of the project. We are listed as a trusted, project coordinator to deliver SEAI‘s National Home Retrofit Scheme and we can apply on behalf of the homeowner for grant funding of up to 35%.

To learn more about starting your journey towards a warmer, comfortable home, visit our Home Energy Upgrade – One Stop Shop.

If you are interested in taking the first step on the journey, you can fill in this form with your home’s details and a member of our Housing Team will be in touch.

Home Energy Upgrade

Homeowners highlight the benefits of upgrading their home

Homeowners report a major increase in warmth and comfort levels following their recent home energy upgrade projects.

Five homeowners, who recently upgraded their homes with 3cea, share their insights from undergoing a home energy upgrade project. The homeowners provide helpful tips and advice to those who are considering a similar project, while highlighting the benefits of an energy upgrade.

Sandy & Kevin’s Home

Sandy and Kevin were interested in upgrading their Waterford home and described their motivation for such a project. “We were keen to have a home that was warm and also environmentally friendly – as far as possible.”

Energy Upgrade

Sandy & Kevin’s Home

Sandy and Kevin describe how their home feels after the completion of the energy upgrades. “On the one hand it feels like a new house, it is cosy and there is always hot water, but it doesn’t really get stuffy either. On the other hand, it has retained the atmosphere from before. It was a much-loved family home for decades before the upgrade and that feeling has not been lost.”

Rachel & Denis’ Home

Rachel and Denis upgraded their Co. Kilkenny home with multiple measures to improve their energy rating and to reach the maximum comfort levels. “It was the cold of the house that motivated us to upgrade to the highest energy rating possible so that the house would be comfortable for us. We also wanted the heating system of the house to be environmentally friendly and economical.”

Home Energy Upgrade

Rachel & Denis’ Home

Following the completion of the works, Rachel and Denis were delighted with their upgraded home. “Our home is now warm all the time, with constant hot water and ventilation. It is a pleasure to live in! Triple glazed windows mean we have no noise from the animals outside, especially the crows!!”

Helen’s Home

Helen upgraded her home in Kilkenny City and explains how her home energy upgrade journey began. “In 2018 we purchased an old 1930s built house in need of major renovation.” Prior to any renovation or energy upgrade works, Helen describes the standard of her home. “The house was almost uninhabitable. Windows were rotten, no insulation, a decrepit heating system. But the structure of the house was good.”

Home Energy Upgrade

Helen’s Home

Following the implementation of multiple energy upgrades, Helen noticed a significant difference in the home. “The house went from being uninhabitable to a warm, comfortable and cosy home all year round that’s very economical to run. We increased the BER from an E to an A2.”

Eddie’s Home

Eddie upgraded his Co. Wexford home with 3cea in 2019. His motivation for this home energy upgrade project was to upgrade the entire home to a modern and comfortable condition, as the home needed a complete renovation. “When we purchased the house in 2017 it had been unoccupied since 2011. The only heating was an open fire and there was no insulation whatsoever.” With a considerable amount of work involved in the project, Eddie explains what his expectations were prior to the energy upgrades. “We didn’t really consider a target. We just wanted to make the house as comfortable as possible.”

Home Energy Upgrade

Eddie’s Home

Following the installation of energy upgrades, Eddie highlights the significant changes he noticed in his home. “The comfort levels in the house are excellent and our BER went up to an A2. The only energy bill we have is our ESB bill. It is early days yet, but it is very low so far.” Eddie now describes his home after the upgrades as “warm, bright and comfortable.”

Alan’s Home

Alan was motivated to improve the energy rating of his home in Dublin for the betterment of his family’s comfort levels, while also being aware of the impact his home had on the environment. “We wanted to live in a warm, comfortable and sustainable home for a young family with two small kids. Reducing our carbon emissions was also a factor.”

Energy Upgrade

Energy Upgrades Example – External Insulation & Solar PV

The family were over the moon with their new and improved home, and when describing the home following the works Alan said “our home achieved a super A1 rating. Overall, the home is extremely energy efficient. We are now using renewable power through the Solar PV with our smart home technology.”

To homeowners who are considering a home energy upgrade project of their own, Alan recommends “to trust the experts and choose an energy specialist like 3cea who will guide you through the process. It makes sense to upgrade from fossil fuels and you will save money/payback over time. 3cea are very knowledgeable with good communication throughout the works.”

 To read each story in full, visit our Home Energy Upgrade Stories here.

Home Energy Upgrade Journey

Homeowner Journey

We at 3cea offer homeowners a One Stop Shop service. We will guide homeowners every step of the way, from our initial home assessment right through to the completion of the project. We are listed as a trusted, project coordinator to deliver SEAI‘s National Home Retrofit Scheme and we can apply on behalf of the homeowner for grant funding of up to 35%.

To learn more about starting your journey towards a warmer, comfortable home, visit our Home Energy Upgrade – One Stop Shop.

If you are interested in taking the first step on the journey, you can fill in this form with your home’s details and a member of our Housing Team will be in touch.

Climate Action in the South East

Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford Communities Pioneer Climate Action in the South East

3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) welcomes Government’s announcement on Tuesday, 23rd March to approve a revised Climate Action Bill which includes specific targets on reducing carbon emissions over the next 30 years. The Climate Action Bill commits to a carbon neutral status for Ireland by end 2050 and halving the amount of greenhouse gas emissions within the next 10 years.

3cea sees the announcement as an opportunity to build on progress it has made in the region since it was established in 2002. The one-stop-shop is committed to driving social and behavioural change in the South East towards a low carbon economy. The non-profit agency drives sustainable energy projects offering commercial and business grants and supports, the Greener HGV Programme, National Home Retrofit Scheme, community and public sector projects working across homes, commercial properties, community, transport and agriculture and advice in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford.

Paddy Phelan, CEO of 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) says it is the responsibility of each individual, business owner and community to come together to achieve Government’s ambitious targets and 3cea will be there to help. He explains,

“Whilst the Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford local authorities will be closely examining its strategic plan to facilitate and steer climate action in the area, everyone in the county has a role to play in achieving the ambition of the new Bill. In the south east region, we are in excellent position to develop an all-inclusive decarbonising plan in line with the requirements set out in the Climate Action Bill. There are some outstanding examples within local communities and industry, for example the Danone Plant locally has achieved zero carbon emission in its manufacturing. Likewise the local community groups taking energy action illustrate how each home, local business and individual can help contribute towards a carbon neutral Ireland. Small changes in our individual behaviour can change our carbon footprint and it all adds up.”

Read more

Irish Local Authorities advised to prepare for EUCF 2nd Call

Irish Local Authorities are being asked to prepare for the second call of the European City Facility initiative (EUCF) which will open later this month. The second round of this European project will see a greater number of selected applicants benefit from the support and grant funding of €60,000 available to develop their sustainable energy project.

The call for applications will open from 29th March – 31st May.

For further information, including the revised guidelines for applicants and the eligibility criteria, visit the EUCF website for updates.

The EUCF team encourages Irish Local Authorities to identify their sustainable energy projects, get in touch with Ireland Country Expert, Siona Daly of Tipperary Energy Agency, and consult the EUCF website and / or helpdesk for any questions regarding the eligibility of their application.

For those in attendance, Siona Daly will be presenting the EUCF Second-Call at the AIEA webinar on April 13th. You may also register for our webinar on April 23rd 2:30 pm where Siona will discuss the EUCF and its application process. Registration for that webinar is available here. Finally, Siona will also be hosting one-to-one sessions for those that require assistance with their applications. To register your interest for this please email chealy@3cea.ie.

The EUCF project kicked off last year with great success. Over 250 applications from Local Authorities across the EU and the UK applied for the grant funding for their sustainable energy projects.

In June of last year, Irish Local Authorities were advised to join a webinar highlighting the benefits of applying for the initiative. Catch up on last year’s introduction to the EUCF initiative here.

To get advice on applying for the EUCF initiative, please contact Siona at ce.ireland@eucityfacility.eu.

Glenmalure

Over 500 Communities engaging in SEAI Sustainable Energy Community Network

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) announced an increase in community groups joining their Sustainable Energy Communities Network.

SEAI recently reported that there has been higher engagement with their Sustainable Energy Communities Network as many new communities across Ireland have become Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) this year.

Over 500 communities have become SEC members, with up to 25,000 citizens making a difference in their locality. Each of these SEC groups are progressing towards a low carbon future by implementing energy efficient measures in all aspects of the community, including their homes, shops, sports clubs and community buildings. Read more from SEAIs announcement here.

Of the 500 communities engaging in the SEC Programme, we at 3cea are delighted to see that over 60 of the communities are from the South East Region. Take a look at the SEC Map on the SEAI website to find your community.

For more information on community programmes and successful projects, visit: https://3cea.ie/sectors/community/

 

Home Retrofit

3cea partner with ERI to provide home retrofit service for homeowners in the South East

3 Counties Energy Agency have partnered with ERI Managed Energy Solutions to deliver SEAI’s National Home Retrofit Scheme.

Homeowners in the South East of Ireland who wish to improve their home’s BER rating are being advised to apply for a new retrofit scheme which offers 35% grant aid.

Stephen Harte, Managing Director of ERI, offers his expertise on the new retrofitting scheme.

Stephen, the founder of ERI, has an Engineering qualification from University of Limerick with 30 years’ experience in the building and commercial sectors.

ERI specialises in helping homeowners with deep energy retrofits. Since starting in 2007, ERI  have carried out over 1,000 building energy assessments and consulted on hundreds of low energy construction projects.” 

In the last five years Stephen has spent three years as Project Manager for the deep retrofit scheme from its inception as a pilot in 2015 through to 2018. Stephen has also been involved in the management of over 150 end to end whole house retrofits in that time.

What is the National Home Retrofit Scheme?  Read more

Sustainable Energy Communities Workshop

3cea will be hosting a free online workshop for Sustainable Energy Communities in the South East on 3rd February 2021.

The aim of this event is to relaunch the SEC programme for 2021. Whether you are a community who is reaching some of your energy goals, or you are a group who is struggling to work through the steps of the programme, 2020 was a tough year for us all. 2021 provides us with new opportunities and supports for making our community energy plans a reality.

Join 3cea in this workshop to meet other communities, to learn from each other and to see what is possible for your community.

Gráinne Kennedy of 3 Counties Energy Agency will host the hour-long online event and provide helpful tips to encourage communities in the South East of the country to fully engage with the SEC programme. This event will also give the communities an opportunity to network and share ideas.

This online event will offer a chance for all attendee’s to

  • Meet other communities working to create Sustainable Energy Communities
  • Meet the South East SEC team
  • Understand the changing fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Ask questions on how to approach organising in your community

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYqcOmurz4oHdzbSaSl2tg8wbujzWQN5ZeY

Date & Time: Wednesday, 3rd February 2021 at 11am

Agenda:

  • 11am – Introduction
  • 11.10am – Your hopes for your SEC community
  • 11.30am – What is possible?
  • 11.40am – 3 things communities have learned.
  • 11.50am – Supports on offer from County Mentors
  • 12pm – Summation Q&A

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Information Event.

For more information on community programmes and successful projects, visit: https://3cea.ie/sectors/community/

We look forward to your participation. For any queries, please contact Mari or Patrick on events@3cea.ie

 

Better Energy Communities Grant 2021- Online Information Event

3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) will host a free online event to introduce the Better Energy Communities Grant which is currently open for applications for the 2021 programme.

Date & Time: Tuesday 24th November at 11am-12pm

Register for the event here.

The free online energy information event encourages businesses and community groups to hear from our experts in 3cea to discuss the benefits of the Better Energy Communities Grant.

Businesses, community groups, GAA clubs, crèche owners, schools and many more interested parties are invited to attend as each are eligible to receive up to 30-50% grant aid for their energy projects.

Our energy expert, Fintan O’Hora will host the event on Tuesday November 24th at 11am. Interested groups will gain the required information and support they need to get their Better Energy Communities Grant Programme (BEC) application over the line ahead of the December deadline. Read more

EUCF First Call Receives Over 250 Applications

The EUCF initiative closed its first call for applications on the 2nd October 2020.

The European City Facility (EUCF) gained more than 250 applications from across the EU with Municipalities and Local Authorities, from all EU member states and the UK, submitting their sustainable energy project applications before the first call deadline earlier this month.

According to the EUCF, the countries from Southern Europe accounted for the highest number of applications with 48%, while Central and Eastern Europe, and the Nordic countries & Western Europe received 28% and 26% of the applications.

Under the EUCF initiative, successful Local Authorities will benefit from €60,000 of financial support which will be awarded to them shortly. This support will be used to develop investment concepts, involving both climate and energy plans.

The evaluation process is now underway with the results to be published towards the end of the year.

Ireland had a strong response to the first call, with Local Authorities from across the country  showing great interest and submitting applications to this initiative. For those applicants who were unsuccessful or who are preparing their investment concept, the second call is just around the corner as it will open in the Spring of next year.

To keep up to date with EUCF related news for Irish Local Authorities, follow us on Twitter.