Three Counties Energy Agency - which includes Carlow - to create 'near zero emissions' zone

Carlow continues to perform strongly

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

news@carlowlive.ie

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3 CEA team with their electric car

3CEA, formerly Carlow-Kilkenny Energy Agency, is bidding to create Ireland’s first "near zero emissions" zone.

The 3 Counties Energy Agency (3 CEA)  has enjoyed one of its busiest years on record and is helping a growing number of home owners, businesses, community groups and organisations as well as local authorities and churches even to reduce their energy costs and cut down on harmful carbon emissions.

Latest figures released both by 3CEA and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) show that Carlow continues to perform strongly.

Growing numbers of home owners snapping up energy grants, availing of free energy poor home upgrades and carrying out deep retrofits.

Many more are investing in electric cars and upgrading their businesses or community premises.

They’re using greater insulation, more efficient heating systems, solar power, energy controls, better windows and doors, LED lighting and so much more to cut their energy bills and impact on the environment.  

It’s an encouraging trend a year on from when the former Carlow- Kilkenny Energy Agency added Wexford to the fold to become 3 CEA.

Figures show 3 CEA achieved over €8,569,000 in cumulative energy savings since it was set up in 2013. The number of projects completed in Carlow continues to grow.

The data shows that cumulative delivered energy savings since 2013 in Carlow come to over €210,000 for non domestic projects and €1,120,000 plus for domestic clients, meaning that clients in Carlow have saved over €1,341,000 since 2013 with the help of 3 CEA. 

3 CEA has been doing Trojan work with public sector and private clients across Carlow over the past year. Among the bigger projects are works at Carlow Fire Station and on public lighting.

The Fire Station was built in 2002 and consumes lots of gas and electricity.

3 CEA analysed what was going on and came up with an energy plan. Solar panels were added and the heating system was upgraded at a cost of €26,000. Of this, €7,800 was grant aided. Energy bills at the station have now fallen €4,400 per annum.

Significant savings are also being made across the public lighting system in Carlow. Bulbs on the system were switched more energy efficient, long lasting and easier to maintain LEDs.

Smart photocell controls were also added. The entire works cost €260,000, of which almost €80,000 was grant aided. The lighting bill in Carlow has now been cut by a whopping €22,000 per annum.

Senior Engineer with 3CEA, Alexandra Hamilton, said because they’re a not-for-profit business, clients get product-independent advice from an expert team of energy engineers which always has their best interests at heart.

But she says they are still astounded by the number of people, communities and businesses who don’t know about the grant supports readily available to help finance works.

She said: "We applied for grants totalling €2.2 million for our service users last year, saving them approximately €0.5 million on their energy bills.

"Most of these were across our three core counties of Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford. But a number were in the midlands.

"If people are planning works for 2020, they need to get their energy audit done now and to get in touch. Lots of people want to carry out upgrade works.

"They want to be more environmentally friendly. But they don’t know where to start. That is where we come in.

"We will take them through what needs to be done, what grants they can apply for, how they can best save money on energy and save on emissions."

Building regulations now require that heating, lighting and ventilation upgrades are part of the fabric of major renovation works.

She added: "Lots of people doing major renovation works don’t realise there are grants available for certain pieces of a project. If they come to us, we can show them how to achieve the best results and get funding help.

"Housing will continue to be our biggest area of growth for the coming years. We need to get all houses up to a B2 energy rating.

"Under the Deep Retrofit, the grade is even higher – at A2. So if anyone is planning development work, they need to get in touch now."