Limerick parish launches energy saving masterplan

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Email:

donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Limerick parish launches energy saving masterplan

Tom Foley, Solar Electric, speaking to Louise Barry about savings for homes at an information evening on Caherconlish / Caherline’s sustainable energy community plan | PICTURE: Brendan Gleeson

AN ENERGY masterplan in Caherconlish /Caherline will help save the environment and money.

Over 150 attended an information evening in the Millennium Centre last week featuring many exhibitors and a presentation from XD Consulting Engineers, who produced the plan.

Caherconlish/Caherline is the first Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) of more than 100 in Ireland to deliver an energy masterplan. It has been 100% funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI).

One of the driving forces behind it is local man Eddie O’Gorman. He said the plan includes a full energy usage audit of typical businesses, organisations, clubs, farms and households in the parish. The total number of homes in their SEC is slightly more than 1,000.

Speaking at the event, Mr O’Gorman said: “We are all here to learn how we can work together to dramatically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and reduce our electricity and fuel bills, retain more cash in our pockets by making our homes more comfortable and valuable with an improved BER rating up around an A or a B level.” Based on the Energy Regulator’s Data the average household consumption of electricity is 5,300 kW-Hrs (units) and heating is 13,500 kW Hrs per annum.

“Most homes in our area use oil and solid fuels for heating. Based on these statistics and quoted on the switcher.ie website the average electricity bill per home is €1,136 and the average cost for home heating is €945. €2,000 per annum in total energy spend. 

“Therefore, in our SEC area the average domestic energy spend is €2,000 x 1,000 (homes) equals €2m per annum.  When all homes, farms, business and community buildings are included the total energy spend is over €4,500,000,” explained Mr O’Gorman. He and fellow committee members are confident this project will reduce the average energy spend by at least 20% and up to 40% using insulation, efficient heating and electrical appliances together with renewable energy sources for water heating and electricity generation.

“For example, our local Millennium Centre has the capacity to produce over 80,000 units of solar electricity per year on average using unobtrusive roof mounted panels. Installing electric heat pumps to replace the existing LPG heaters can reduce the heating energy costs by more than 50%

“When all homes, businesses, farms, churches and schools are upgraded to efficient usage and energy generation is included, a huge reduction in energy usage and carbon emissions will be achieved which will enhance the living environment for present and future generations and provide long term sustainable viability for all sectors of our community.

“This ongoing project will give a very worthwhile boost to consumer spending, due to retained saving, in our local economy. It will also generate local jobs during the installation phase and ongoing maintenance of systems,” said Mr O’Gorman. For more information and how to get involved see www.facebook.com/SECMILL/