A new energy audit group, which looks to examine community buildings in order to access grants and improve their efficiency, has been selected as this year’s ‘Get Involved’ project for The Anglo-Celt.
It is the fifth year of the community involvement initiative, co-ordinated by Local Ireland, an umbrella group for regional newspapers in Ireland. The project is also sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), with a prize fund of up to €17,000 up for grabs.
Breffni Integrated was approached in late 2017 by representatives from SEAI to establish a Sustainable Energy Community Group for the county, and take a lead on promoting the benefits of sustainable and renewable energy to communities.
The purpose of the group is to identify sustainable energy needs and projects in communities and businesses, then work with stakeholders to implement changes in behaviour in terms of energy use, as well as adopting sustainable and renewable energy technologies and products.
Under project co-ordinator Terry Hyland, Breffni Integrated CLG will host four public energy workshops across the county intended to inform attendees about better use of energy in the home, grant support and sustainable transport options among other topics.It’s also intended that energy audits will be undertaken on the following buildings: Cavan Institute; Aughadreena NS; Courthouse Ballyjamesduff; Percy French Hotel, Ballyjamesduff; Ramor Theatre, Virginia; Crossdoney Presbyterian Hall; Ballinagh Community Centre; Cavan Town Hall, as well as any fuel poor homes that identified.
“These energy audits will be the start of a project portfolio for Cavan to upgrade the fabric of the buildings that serve the local communities,” said Mr Hyland.
The group is hoping to train students from Cavan Institute and individuals looking to re-skill in energy auditing to conduct the audits, which are due to be carried out in June.
A full report with recommendations to improve the energy performance of the building will be completed in July. This report will be used to apply to SEAI for capital grant funding to implement proposed recommendations in August.
“The long-term goal of this partnership is to give students the opportunity to gain real world experience in an energy project while improving their campus. This aligns with Cavan Sustainable Energy Group’s overall ambition to develop and maintain long term employment opportunities in the energy sector within the county,” explained Mr Hyland.
Breffni Integrated itself is currently upgrading the lighting in its office spaces. The group will submit an application to SEAI LED retrofit scheme in the second quarter of 2018. Breffni’s office stands to save 47% per annum in energy savings through the initiative.
The Cavan Sustainable Energy Group comprises of members from Breffni Integrated CLG, Cavan County Council, Cavan Institute, together with environmental representatives from business and the community. “We want to be the first point of contact for community groups, home owners, public bodies and businesses who are considering implanting changes in how they use energy. We are a new group and we are continuously learning. We also want to extend an invitation to anyone with a background in this sector to join our group,” he said.