The Drumlish Ballinamuck Sustainability Energy Community (SEC) has been busy since its inception.

Two men installing solar panels on a roof.
The SEC has installed solar PV on two businesses with another three in progress. (Stock photo)

This SEC is made up of communities from two towns in County Longford: Drumlish and Ballinamuck. It was founded in 2020 by the Town Team and Tidy Towns, who have a longstanding commitment to sustainability initiatives. Their next goal was to refurbish the Community Centre.

The project

The SEC operates within the larger framework of the Town Team: Drumlish-Ballinamuck Area Development Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG). A CLG is a company most commonly used for charities, social clubs and property management. 

The committee is made up of over  20 members, including school students, business owners, sports groups, the local church and existing well established community groups. They each bring their own unique range of skills, making it a very diverse group indeed.  

Their shared vision involves exploring, educating, and disseminating information to the wider community, to help achieve carbon neutrality. As well as energy-related projects, the SEC has worked on sustainable initiatives in water, waste, transport, and biodiversity.

Activities completed by the SEC

The SEC actively engages with the wider community by supporting initiatives such as:

  • Energy audits at local Schools and businesses.
  • Hosting community meetings, online and in person.
  • Visits to homeowners and organising BER Assessments
  • BER WOW (an online tool to explore, plan and implement energy upgrades) for sample houses, as well as promoting reducing the use of electricity in homes e.g., switching to LED bulbs.
  • Promoting  SEAI’s Support Scheme for Energy Audit (SSEA) and Local Enterprise Office Green-for-Micro Audit with local businesses.

The growing number of SEC members and volunteers meet regularly in the local library to track progress and identify new and innovative ideas. They envision becoming a carbon-neutral community and are excited about collaborating and sharing  knowledge and insights with other SECs.


The biggest achievement to date is the completion of Drumlish Ballinamuck SEC's Energy Master Plan (EMP). That involved carrying out an energy audit on:

  • 12 Businesses
  • 2 Schools
  • 6 community centres / organisations
  • A representative sample of house types (energy audits were done on a few different types of houses that are predominant in the area, for example a 3 bed bungalow, 2 bed mid terrace, 3 bed end of terrace, apartment etc.)

The findings from the energy audit were hugely insightful and helped the SEC to come up with a Register of Opportunities. In other words, it helped them to understand what energy upgrades they could make in the community.  

After moving from the Plan to Do Stage of SEAI’s SEC Programme, the SEC began implementing the EMP Register of Opportunities. Actions included:

  • Retrofitting the community centre – they are currently fundraising to install solar PV on the building.
  • Hosting community awareness briefings – to engage behavioural change measures in reducing use of energy and retrofitting.
  • Installing solar PV on two businesses with another three in progress.
  • Installing closed refrigeration units in one retail outlet.
  • Completing an initial appraisal for a Solar PV Farm on the site of a disused landfill.

The SEC has shown that that extensive community engagement, behavioural change initiatives, and partnerships with funding and support agencies, all contribute to an overarching impact within their communities.


While securing funding for domestic retrofits is still a challenge, Drumlish and Ballinamuck SEC is hoping it will be supported through a community solar PV farm and a collaborative Solar Meitheal project with other SECs. This is where a group of homeowners, communities and/or businesses come together to negotiate a deal with suppliers to get solar PV installed.

The SEC's approach combines resources from two villages Ballinamuck and Drumlish and engages technical and financial support from multiple funding and support agencies. This leverages the scale of projects and increases community support of a project.

They have successfully collaborated with:

  • Other SECs
  • An Taisce
  • European Union Just Transition Fund
  • Department of Education
  • Green Pine Consultants - Ecological & Community Planners
  • Longford County Council
  • Longford Golf Club biodiversity project
  • Longford Beekeeper’s Association
  • Department of Rural and Community Development:
    • LEADER Programme for Rural Development
    • CLÁR-Funding for Small-Scale Rural Projects

What's next?

These are some potential future projects that are gaining traction in the community and beyond:

  • Solar PV Farm – initial appraisal completed and recommends proceeding with a feasibility study for a 1 mega watt project.
  • Solar Meitheal project that will simplify the application process and deliver reduced costs for a large number of homes/businesses – initial engagement and fact-finding with other SECs has begun.
  • Give support to Ballinamuck and Drumlish Primary Schools to install Solar PV through SEAI’s Pathfinder Programme.
Learn about SEAI’s SEC Programme