Energy Communities is an initiative driven by North Tipperary LEADER Partnership (NTLP) in co-operation with local community activists.
Click on our home page for updates on our progress with this initiative.
We are seeking communities and active locals interested in taking part in a community retrofit and insulation scheme that will save energy, save money, warm homes, create jobs and receive a community grant.
By teams of community activists in parish areas, we aim to support the coordination of retrofit projects across Tipperary and Ireland.
We are committed to seeing communities drive forward in this recession by pooling together their resources so as to make a full gain from the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) Better Energy Communities grant.
Community Energy = Save energy, Save money and Get paid!!
So how does it work? It All Started in Drombane Village Hall!!
Ireland’s communities are finding ways to fight this recession. And it starts from the home.
Facing a €6bn bill of Irish fossil fuel imports each year, energy is a sector that offers opportunities for energetic communities to fight this recession.
When active members of Drombane and Upperchurch in North Tipperary got together in 2011 to discuss economic solutions for their community, they considered many ideas – from wind farms to a local ski slope!! After many meetings and consulting with the Tipperary Energy Agency and North Tipperary Leader Partnership (NTLP) they came up with a community retrofit scheme. This would convert many of the homes in the area to high energy performance so that peoples’ homes would be warmer, huge bill savings would be made and local jobs created to carry out the work.
A local ‘Energy Team’ was formed to coordinate a cluster of home owners, apply for SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) grants and select the most suitable contractors for the work. Completely new to the idea, it took many meetings and support from the local development company, NTLP, to get up and running and get more locals interested.
In 2012, 22 homes were upgraded. This year, another 35 homes are about to be complete, along with 2 community halls. In total, the 400 households spend €1,000,000 on home energy. Once the whole community is retrofitted, the Energy Team aims to save over €250,000 per year (25%) .
Now that a locally run model has been proven, NTLP are looking to spread the success, focusing initially on two communities (Lorrha, and Kilcommon) which were highlighted for support in the LCDP strategic plan of 2011. As Drombane/Upperchurch Energy Team member Martin O’Donoghue put it at a recent presentation in Lorrha, “a year down the line, ye’ll be wondering why ye didn’t start this sooner”.
According to local community worker Gearóid Fitzgibbon, “Between the Drombane/Upperchurch community insulation scheme model and changing our energy use habits*, communities around Ireland could each save half of their energy bills. Such projects
demonstrate the employment and financial multipliers of local insulation schemes. Imagine these savings and jobs multiplied out to every community in Ireland.”
Under the SEAI Better Energy Communities Scheme, communities can even sell the Energy Savings that they achieve. Drombane/Upperchurch Energy Team has agreed a deal with Electric Ireland for the 2013 scheme. This local Eco-Money will be used for further energy projects in the community, with the overall aim of becoming more energy independent.
The Celtic Tiger may not be roaming our fields any more but Ireland’s communities still have the opportunity to build the foundations for a leading green economy.
*By simply having a bit of awareness for turning tv’s off standby, optimising showers or hanging clothes on the line instead of tumble drying many households have saved over 30% on their energy bills. (see www.energyneighbourhoods.eu/en_ie )
– Allan Stewart, NTLP