SEAI, in association with SE Systems, has helped Down Syndrome Cork to achieve major energy upgrades at their Field of Dreams education and training centre and reduce their carbon footprint.

  • The energy efficiency project will provide more comfortable facilities for members while cutting energy costs and carbon emissions for the charity.
  • SEAI grant funded the Down Syndrome Cork project for €8,137.80
  • Over 700 communities in Ireland to date have benefitted from SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Community Grants.

Down Syndrome Cork completed their energy efficiency project with Government support through SEAI’s community energy grants and additional funding from the SE Systems community fund. Works at the site in Curraheen, Co Cork included LED lighting upgrades, timer clocks installed on water heaters and new doors on their log cabin, with the largest upgrade being the installation of 6 kW ground mounted Solar PV panels.  

Speaking about the Down Syndrome Ireland energy upgrade project, William Walsh, CEO at SEAI said: 

“The Down Syndrome Cork Field of Dreams energy upgrade is a testament to Down Syndrome Cork and SE Systems who have helped deliver such a fantastic project. The energy upgrades to the charity’s facilities will assist them in reducing their carbon footprint and heating costs. With over 700 Sustainable Energy Communities across Ireland driving the energy revolution, SEAI’s community network are taking control of their energy future by establishing a path to lowering their energy use and climate impact.” 

The Field of Dreams was founded by Down Syndrome Cork in 2017, their goal is to help students become independent and integrate them into their own communities. Students learn how to cook, clean, and use technology. The centre includes a training room, commercial grade kitchen with cafe area, three polytunnels, market garden, sensory garden, remembrance garden, fruit garden, orchard, covered courtyard, and recreational areas.  

Debbie Kelliher, Down Syndrome Cork, Care Coordinator speaking about the energy upgrades said:  

“We are living in this current energy crisis where we have seen our energy bills almost double in a short space of time. That’s putting huge pressure on everyone in our society, including the charity sector. We were keen to reduce our carbon footprint, it aligned with our ethos, our training, and we wanted to make it happen. We contacted SE Systems, who led us through every step of the journey from start to finish. From a charity perspective, the journey was seamless. SE Systems conducted an energy audit, sourced a grant from SEAI and provided a corporate donor to cover the balance. I am recommending the SEAI Community Energy Grant to all charities in Ireland. This will be an ideal fit for you just like it was for my charity. It’s a win-win, you won’t be disappointed, and it has long lasting benefits.”  

Along with the energy upgrades and as part of Down Syndrome Cork’s education piece for the students, a monitor was also installed to show their members and staff the energy savings.    

Caiman Barrett, SE Systems, Energy Engineer added: 

“From conducting the initial energy audit of the Field of Dreams site, we identified potential grant paths that could be explored. One of them was the successful SEAI Community Energy Grant which gives up to 50% funding to organisations like Down Syndrome Cork. At SE Systems, we have our own Community Fund supported by corporate donations that contributed to the remaining 50% so there was no cost to the client, Down Syndrome Cork.  Looking at the consumption of the Field of Dreams site, over the baseline period, it was approximately 18,000 kW/hrs which is the equivalent of powering four homes for a year.” 

SEAI invites more communities to join the Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) network and encourages existing community groups to avail of SEAI’s community energy grants for their future projects. Further information on the network and how to get involved is available on the SEAI Sustainable Energy Community webpage.

Find out more