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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.

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Green For Micro Programme

Micro Businesses to Cut Emissions and Save Energy through New Programme

Businesses in the South East are being offered a chance to cut their emissions and ultimately save on their energy costs through a new scheme, the Green For Micro Programme.

The programme is aimed at manufacturing businesses with fewer than ten employees. It is an Enterprise Ireland scheme in order to aid businesses with their transition to becoming a low carbon business. The Green For Micro Programme is a pilot scheme, which if successful, may be rolled out nationally.

The Green For Micro Programme is a hands-on project which incorporates the five Local Enterprise Offices in the region; Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford and Tipperary. In collaboration with each of the LEOs, 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) will provide guidance throughout the Green For Micro process.

3cea will act as a mentor for the micro businesses. The engineers in 3cea will audit the micro businesses’ energy, waste, water, procurement and transport outputs, while outlining how to transition to more environmentally-friendly choices.

Enterprise Ireland regional executive Brian Fives said micro businesses across the region are eager to play their part in developing a low-carbon economy.

“Green For Micro shows them the way. Auditing their energy consumption, mapping the results and monitoring their transition will provide an invaluable insight into how every enterprise can play its part in Ireland meeting its 2030 climate targets,” said Mr Fives.

Engineer with 3cea, Shane Faulkner, said each participating business will be given up to nine days of expert help including audits, reports and mentoring.

“The level of buy-in from manufacturers in the region is extremely encouraging and we are really looking forward to playing our part,” said Mr Faulkner.

Phase One

Phase one of the Green For Micro Programme involved a number of Breakfast Briefing Events which have been implemented to explain the programme to businesses in the region.

Aileen McGrath of Kilkenny Local Enterprise Office urged qualifying micro-businesses to attend the no obligation breakfast briefing, pick up an expression of interest form and see how small changes in their manufacturing processes and general business decisions can make a difference.

“While our primary target is manufacturing, micro enterprises in other sectors may also qualify and we encourage them to attend,” said McGrath.

The first of the Green For Micro Breakfast Briefing Events started on Tuesday 28th January, at the Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford. Two speakers, Philip Kehoe of Kehoe’s Potatoes and Nicholas Dunne of Killowen Farm, presented on the day to speak about their transition to becoming a low carbon business in the area.

The second of the Breakfast Briefings ran in the Tower Hotel in Waterford on 11th February. John Flahavan of Flahavan’s and Kevin Jephson from Ardkeen Quality Food Stores presented on their energy savings for their green choices.

Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny was the venue for the third installation of the Breakfast Briefings on 13th February. Rory Williams from Countrystyle Foods spoke to the audience about their greener company model, while Trudie Power of Trudies Kitchen also presented on the benefits of such environmentally-friendly focused decisions.

Jane Wickham (3CEA), Aileen McGrath (Senior Enterprise Development Officer) and Trudie Power (Trudies Kitchen) PICTURE: Vicky Comerford

The Anner Hotel in Tipperary on 18th February was the penultimate Breakfast Briefing Event where Con Traas from The Apple Farm gave a video presentation, with Ger Crosse of Wood Energy Solutions presenting on his biomass heating system in Philip Fryday’s Clune Mushroom Farm.

The concluding Breakfast Briefing Event took place in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel in Carlow on 20th February. Mary White of Blackstairs Eco Trails spoke first to the audience on the importance of sustainability in the Carlow region. She was then followed by Ray Flynn of Flynn’s Foodhall.

Jane Wickham of 3cea presented at each of the five Green For Micro Breakfast Briefing Events about the grants and supports, which 3cea will provide, to all interested parties in entering Phase Two of the Green For Micro Programme.

Phase Two

Phase two of the programme will involve the energy audits, conducted by 3cea, which will be carried out on ten micro, manufacturing businesses. Two micro businesses in each of the five participating counties will be chosen to proceed into this stage of the programme. At present, there is quite a number of interested parties. A welcoming sign that local enterprises in our area are thinking about a greener future.

Unfortunately, phase two of the Green For Micro Programme is currently on hold due to the Covid-19 Pandemic sweeping the country. A resumption date is yet to be decided on, however, applications are still being processed.

In phase three of the programme, the findings from the energy audits will be showcased at a regional conference. Finally, the concluding phase involves the installation of monitoring equipment in the selected micro businesses.

The Green for Micro Programme is one of three projects grant-aided to the tune of €345,000 by the Government and led by Local Enterprise Offices across the region.

For more information on on The Green For Micro Programme, please contact us on events@3cea.ie

 

Ireland’s Climate Targets – Climate Action Plan launched

The Government launched its Climate Action Plan yesterday by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minster for Climate Action Richard Bruton at an event at Grangegorman in Dublin.

The plan contains 183 actions that the Government claims will help Ireland meet exacting 2030 EU climate emission targets, as well as a new commitment to make Ireland 100 per cent carbon neutral by 2050. It includes major policy shifts to enable a rapid decarbonisation of the State within 12 years, including targets for putting 1 million electric vehicles on Irish roads; retrofitting of 500,000 homes and achieving 70 per cent renewable energy in power generation. Is this something you would support?

Have a look at the actions to be taken so Ireland can achieve climate change targets: View or download the full plan here.

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