€3 million invested across 140 building energy upgrades in Waterford
Minister White commends community initiatives
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White, T.D., highlighted community enthusiasm and ambition as he visited Waterford to see the variety of energy upgrade projects receiving €3 million in government support through the Better Energy programme. Waterford City and County Council and EcoMerit, together with SEAI, today held an event to showcase the range of works being done to 140 local buildings and highlight the benefits to locals from lower energy bills and improved community facilities.
Waterford City and County Council are coordinating the Deise energy efficiency upgrades where a total of 134 buildings are being retrofitted including homes, the Holy Ghost Hospital, Crystal Leisure Centre, An Rinn Gaeltacht College and Cunigar Pitch and Putt Club.
EcoMerit, a national energy efficiency community initiative, is upgrading 16 buildings including Waterford Institute of Technology and Woodstown Residential & Activity Centre. In addition to insulation, heating and lighting upgrades, renewable energy technologies are being funded under both Waterford initiatives. The projects, involving the installation of a combined heat and power plant and photovoltaic solar panels, have the potential to generate enough electricity to power 30 homes.
Commenting on the ambition of the projects, Minister White said; “The success of programmes like the Better Energy Communities scheme shows that communities can lead the way and have a genuine stake in our transition to a low-carbon society. The scheme is about properly supporting communities and empowering them so that they can grasp the available opportunities. Community groups, like here in Waterford city, are the driving force in delivering real change around Ireland by implementing ambitious energy upgrades that have a far reaching impact on our society and our economy.” The Minister continued; “In 2015, the national Better Energy upgrade programme will provide almost €47 million for energy upgrades and this week’s budget announcement will see even more funding towards the scheme which is already supporting up to 2,750 jobs.”
Dr Brian Motherway, CEO, SEAI said; “As more and more communities engage with sustainable energy, the benefits are being felt right across Ireland. These building energy upgrades are lowering energy bills, improving the comfort and lowering carbon emissions of homes, sport and recreational facilities, public buildings and private enterprises. We must commend the strong leaders behind these projects who are delivering for their communities.”
Liam Fleming of Waterford Energy Bureau which is a sub-section of the Waterford City and County Council Environment Department noted; “The energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations have significantly contributed to the local economy with more than €2 million being spent through this project. The challenge in reducing Waterford dependence on imported energy into the county is significant, with in excess of €250 million being spent on energy in the county annually.”
Phil Walker of Econcertive, who manage the EcoMerit programme, added; “This is the fourth consecutive year in which WIT and other EcoMerit member organisations, small and large, have benefitted from SEAI funding support. These projects are saving €450,000 per year in energy costs for our members and 1,500 tonnes per year in carbon emissions for our country. This is proof positive of the wisdom of investing in sustainability and rising to the environmental challenges we all face.”
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