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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.

Read more

Kilkenny County Council

Kilkenny County Council achieve ISO 50001 Certification

Kilkenny County Council recently achieved ISO 50001 Standard for their energy use, guiding the council to the 50% energy efficiency improvement target set for 2030.

The ISO 50001 certification is a global standard for energy use and energy consumption. It recognises Kilkenny County Council‘s commitment to continuously improve their energy performance.

Kilkenny County Council ISO

Paddy Phelan, CEO for 3cea, Cllr. Andrew McGuinness, Cathaoirleach, Kilkenny County Council, and Anne Marie Shortall, Senior Executive Officer, Environment, Kilkenny County Council PICTURE: Vicky Comerford

Andrew McGuinness, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, welcomed the news of the ISO 50001 certification.

“I am delighted that the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) following an extensive audit have confirmed that the Council’s energy systems comply with the ISO 50001 standard,” he said.

“This is the culmination of many years of work by the staff of Kilkenny County Council, in particular the energy team who have worked hard to achieve the standard and I commend them for their efforts.”

Senior staff in all departments in the council participate in their energy team. The energy team play a significant role in the management of energy from their office buildings, to public lighting and the council’s fleet of vehicles.

We at 3cea were delighted to support Kilkenny County Council in their journey to achieving the ISO 50001 energy standard.

Collette Byrne, Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council, highlighted the role each member in the council plays when it comes to energy management.

“Our commitment to improving energy performance is reflected in our Energy Policy and in our Climate Action Charter,” she said.

“The ISO 50001 standard will help us deliver the target of 50% improvement in energy efficiency over the next 10 years as set in the National Climate Action Plan.”

In terms of energy efficiency, Kilkenny County Council have also achieved the 33% target set for Local Authorities in 2020. This achievement, along with the most recent ISO 50001 accreditation, puts the council in a great position to tackle the ambitious targets set for 2030.

To continuously improve, the council take on many tasks such as, tracking energy consumption, setting energy targets, undertaking energy audits and looking to increase energy efficiency.

Over the years, Kilkenny County Council have conducted various projects to improve their energy performance. One such project is the Public Lighting Energy Efficiency project where the council upgraded 11,000 public lights across the county with more energy efficient LED lanterns (over 50% completed to date).

Similar projects include the upgrading of their buildings with improved heating systems and upgraded building fabric; energy saving controls and sensor systems installed in council offices and for their transport fleet, the council implemented an eco- driver training programme.

To learn more about how we support Local Authorities, visit our Public Sector page here.

Easter

Happy Easter!

10 ways to be sustainable this Easter weekend

Switch off!

Remember to turn the TV off after use. Leaving devices on standby wastes energy and can increase your electricity bills. A simple tip to reduce your energy consumption: if it’s not being used, switch it off. The same applies to lights, other household appliances and even your car. Switching off your car when you stop or pull over can reduce your carbon emissions, as leaving your engine idling can have an impact on your environment.

Open up your blinds

Opening up your blinds or curtains can brighten up your home. Use as much natural light as possible before switching on lights or lamps. Plus you can enjoy some more sunshine (while we have it!).

Turn down the heating

Try to keep your heating switched off for as long as possible. When you do get cold, try wearing an extra jumper or wrap up in a cosy blanket.

Recycle those Easter Eggs

After you’ve eaten all of your Easter eggs, you may be left with a lot of packaging. Remember to recycle the appropriate materials and correctly place them in the designated bin. Visit the EPA website for more recycling tips.

Get walking

Over this Easter weekend, swap in a walk instead of a drive when travelling within your 5km. Walking off the Easter eggs will benefit your health and wellbeing too.

Switch to reusable water bottle

When out and about, why not bring a reusable water bottle with you instead of buying single use plastic bottles. This is a simple change that anyone can make to live more sustainably.

Don’t forget your reusable grocery bags

Bring a reusable bag when you go shopping this weekend. Keep a few in the car or near the front door of your home so you don’t forget.

Buy your food locally

A shorter food chain can reduce waste before it reaches your home. Try buying your food this weekend from your local supermarket who supports food producers in your area.

Avoid food waste

Over the weekend, try to avoid food waste as much as possible. You can reduce your food waste by planning your meals in advance, saving your leftovers, and learning how to properly store food.

Spread the word

When speaking with friends and family this weekend, spread the word on your sustainable activities. Opening up the conversation on sustainability will help others to develop a new frame of mind. Setting an example for others can be both powerful and influential.

From all of us here at 3cea, we wish you and your family a very Happy Easter weekend!

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

Save Energy at Home & in your Community Online Event – Thu 10th Dec at 6.30pm – Hosted by Codema

Codema will host an online event on Thursday 10th December at 6:30pm which will focus on Saving Energy at Home & In Your Community.

This event is for people to learn about energy saving in the home and in their community.

To give an idea of the evening, Gavin Harte will be introducing the SEC programme and introduce the Home Energy Saving Kit scheme. We’re also delighted to have two Sustainable Energy Communities on board to contribute to the evening; Laragh/Glendalough SEC (Finian McEvoy) and Ringsend/Irishtown Energy Cooperative (Megan Kuster).  Read more

Join the Cycle E-Sufficiency webinar #2: mobility and public space

Date: 9 December from 10:30 to 12:00 CET

Overconsumption – of energy and materials – have devastating effects on climate and the environment.  It is urgent to start consuming less and better, in line with the concept of energy sufficiency.

Enshrined in the French Energy Transition Bill of 2015, the concept of energy sufficiency is still largely unknown and misunderstood at the European level. According to Environmental Change Institute, “Energy sufficiency is a state in which people’s basic needs for energy services are met equitably and ecological limits are respected.” (Darby and Fawcett, 2018). Energy sufficiency goes beyond energy efficiency: it’s about having enough but not using too much. It’s about doing things differently; about living well, within the limits (energysufficiency.org).

As part of its energy transition Vice-Presidency, AREC IDF is organising with FEDARENE a series of webinars on energy sufficiency in Europe: Read more

Budget 2021

The government announced Budget 2021 on Tuesday 13th October with many energy related updates.

The budget announced on Tuesday brings hope for a green recovery in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have broken down some key takeaways from Budget 2021 with particular focus on the area of energy.

Carbon Tax

Carbon tax has increased by 7.50 per tonne, with auto fuel immediately coming into effect from Tuesday night (13th October 2020). All other fuels will be in place from May 2021. This carbon tax will increase every year up to 2029.

Energy Efficiency

In terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy, €38 million has been allocated to support projects in the commercial and public sector.

This funding has doubled from 2020 which reflects the government’s commitment in achieving the 2050 goal of becoming a net-zero emission Country.

This year’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction brought success to community-led projects and the government have allocated €3 million in capital funding to locally-owned community energy projects.

An Accelerated Capital Allowance scheme for energy efficiency electrical equipment has been extended by 3 years.

Retrofitting

The government have pledged that over €221 million in funding will be allocated to retrofit schemes, covering both residential and community projects. €100 million of the allocation will be funded through the carbon tax revenue.

The overall figure stands at €286.5 million, which has been committed to retrofit activity, with the inclusion of social housing projects.

The Warmer Homes Scheme will provide retrofitting grants and the National Home Retrofit Scheme will also provide homeowners the opportunity to upgrade their home’s energy efficiency rating to a B2 standard.

The carbon tax is expected to finance over half of the funding needed for such energy efficiency measures.

Additional funding will be available for 1,500 new places in retrofitting courses.

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) & Motor Tax

VRT and motor tax will increase in this Budget in relation to the emissions values from your vehicle. Lower-emitting cars will therefore receive lower VRT rates, with higher tax rates applied to the higher-emitting vehicles. As a result, electric cars will become more competitive as they will have lower motor tax costs.

The VRT reliefs that are in place for electric and hybrid cars will expire as these cars will be receiving the lower rates due to emitting less. NOx surcharge will increase for NOx emitting vehicles.

A 3rd motor tax table will be introduced in 2021 to reflect the new emissions test standards for cars registered from the new year.

Transport

Public transport is one area which is set to be allocated an increase. A €1 billion increase in public transport is planned for 2021.

The increased funding will be developing projects such as BusConnects, MetroLink, and the Dart expansion.

Sustainable mobility is a key area in decarbonising the transport sector and up to €1.8 billion will be allocated to improve public transport; carbon reduction programmes; active travel; and greenways.

2030 Regional Energy Transition Strategy

In January 2020, we launched our 10 year Regional Energy Transition Strategy. 3cea welcome the announcement of this Budget as it highlights the important low carbon choices that we will have to make to reach our goal of transitioning to a low carbon region by 2030.

To achieve the 2030 targets, we all must work together to deliver energy efficiency, clean energy, behaviour change and ultimately greater sustainability – this is what the Regional Energy Transition Strategy to 2030 seeks to address.

Read our 2030 Regional Energy Transition Strategy in full here.

Sustainable Energy Communities – South East SEC Webinar Series

Online Information Events for Communities to be part of the Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) Programme

The aim of these events is to provide basic information and introduce community groups from the South East to the SEC programme, highlighting the recruitment process, community engagement, grants, and funding opportunities. We will provide helpful tips on how to register as a Community for the SEC programme and what you need to do to be successful.

This webinar series will encourage communities in the South East of the country to engage with the SEC programme. The informative events will take place online with each event focusing on a separate topic.

SEC Webinar Series
The dates, topics and registration links are as follows:

22nd Sept: Recruitment Jane Wickham. Southeast SEC Coordinator | Register here
29th Sept: Community Engagement – Fiona O’Loughlin, Wexford SEC Mentor | Register here
6th Oct: Grants – Yvonne Byrne, Waterford SEC Mentor | Register here
13th Oct: Funding Opportunities – Therese Curran, Kilkenny SEC Mentor | Register here

Read more

Better Energy Communities Grant

Everything you need to know about applying for Communities Energy Grant

What is Communities Energy Grant (BEC)?

3cea team has been successful in securing energy grant funding for communities and businesses across all sectors. Over the past 5 years 3cea has assisted in the delivery of cumulative energy savings of more than €19.6 million through the Communities Energy Grant (BEC) initiative.

Better Energy Communities is a national retrofit initiative managed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). BEC offers a win-win grant aid solution for parish halls, GAA clubs, farmers, charitable organisations, community groups, public authorities, individuals and businesses to both lower their energy bills while reducing energy usage.

How can 3cea help?

From initial application to final grant sign-off, we can project manage the entire process for you, this is why we encourage you to get in contact now to discuss your project in more detail.

3cea has extensive, award-winning experience and expertise in supporting applicants through the BEC pipeline, we act as your project-coordinator and energy advisor throughout the entire process. Our Team has achieved success through combining specific technical expertise and local community knowledge on hundreds of energy efficiency projects of scale since 2002.

Funding & Supports Available

  • Up to 50% funding for community projects, sports halls, community halls, community centers etc
  • Up to 30% funding for private businesses, large industry and commercial buildings, private companies
    Read more

Events

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