The Fair Play Café is working towards becoming a zero-carbon building and a hub for sustainability in the community.


  • 50%

    grant funding through SEAI
  • €1,300

    savings per annum
  • 21%

    electricity savings

Key Achievements

Energy Master Plan Completed

Completed the SEAI Energy Master Plan, which provided a roadmap for energy efficiency projects in the wider community. 

Advancing Sustainability in the Community

The Solar PV panels and the internal display have become a talking point with visitors to the cafe, helping to raise awareness.

Installed Energy Efficient LED Lighting

Saving 21% of total electricity consumption, 3,500 kWh/yr. 

Installed Solar PV to generate electricity

Installed 3 kW of solar PV, generating 16 % of total annual consumption. 

The Project

The Fair Play Café has been the hub of Ringsend Irishtown Sustainable Energy Community since its inception in 2018. As Chairman of RISEC and CEO of the Fair Play Café, Joe Donnelly was keen to use the café’s status as an established community centre to showcase the benefits of sustainable energy.

The first stage of their zero-carbon mission was to implement a suite of projects to learn and understand the process of project implementation and provide confidence to the Café and the community that sustainable energy projects can be implemented successfully.

Joe and the team carried out an energy audit to see how much energy they use, what they use it for and where they could potentially save energy. The audit was carried out as part of the Energy Master Plan which provided a roadmap for energy efficiency projects in the community as well as in the café.

Joe installed energy efficient LED lighting, saving 21% of total electricity consumption in the café or 3,500 kWh/yr. In addition, he installed 3 kW of Solar PV generating 2,800 kWh/year, 16 % of total energy consumption.

Other measures carried out at the café included; installing advanced heating controls with remote access. This allows for time and temperature control of different zones, preventing unnecessary heating when not in use. A new insulated door, which helps to reduce heat loss, creating a more comfortable space. Both measures have resulted in gas savings of 26.5% or 6,000 kWh/yr. 

The Fair Play Café was eligible for 50% grant funding through the SEAI Community Grant scheme, making the project feasible for Joe and his team. 

“We took the recommendation from the energy audit to develop an action plan for phased investment over the next three to four years.  We wanted a strong visual statement of sustainable energy and choose to install solar PV panels with an internal display showing generation levels,” says Joe Donnelly CEO of the Fair Play Café and Chairman of RISEC.

Challenges faced

The project was challenging in terms of timescales and contractor management, particularly as this was their first time completing a sustainable energy project. "However, the support from SEAI and Arden Energy, the project co-ordinator, was invaluable in guiding us though the process", says Joe. 

Take climate action in your community

Start your community energy journey by learning all about the SEAI Community Network. Then take the next steps to establish your own community group.