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The complete report can be downloaded by clicking on the following link:  Drombane Upperchurch Energy Survey Report final Oct 2011

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The Drombane / Upperchurch Energy Scheme :

The Energy Scheme phase 2 is well underway with the appointment of Marcella Maher as Community Energy Officer. Marcella is an Architectural Technician and a BER Assessor, but in her role as Energy Officer she is giving out free advice on how be to reduce your energy costs, while making you home a more comfortable and warmer place to be, and how to benefit from the Grants that are available from SEAI.

Marcella is currently visiting the homes of people who have expressed an interest in getting some upgrade works done and getting advice on reducing their energy bills. The next stage is the BER assessments, a team of Building Energy Assessor will be contracted to survey these houses to quantify the works that need to be carried out. Building Contractors will Tender for the works which will be cluster based so the best possible price can be obtained for the homeowner.

If anyone want to be included in this energy saving scheme,  Marcella will be in Drombane Energy Office in the Community Centre every Thursday from 10am -4pm, she can also be contacted on 085 8013647, or email energyofficerdrombane@gmail.com.

 

Overall Project Information:

PROJECT AIM

The aim of this project is help homeowner to become more comfortable in their homes and by reducing the amount of money spend on energy.

In Drombane / Upperchurch along we are spending 1 million euro a year on energy / heating costs, by carrying out upgrades on your property we can help reduce that figure, and reduce your own heating bills with a bit of investment.

 

BENEFITS OF THE GROUP APPROACH

We hope to Cluster the jobs that need doing – for example if 10 houses in the community require their attics to be insulated, and require their externally walls to be insulated, we would get a reduced price from a contactor because he is going to be able to do 10 houses in the area within a short space of time – these savings will be passed onto the homeowner by way of the contactors initial quote.

 

FIRST STEPS – BER ASSESSMENT

We firstly need to establish what works should to be done on the houses within the community and then bring on board local contractors who can carry out the work within a specific time frame and at a reduced rate.

All houses getting upgrades will require a Building Energy Rating assessment to be carried out –this will give you guidelines as what the best upgrades would be for your home to get done.

The Energy Team is offering participating households a discount on the cost of these BER assessments….partly through a subsidy, partly through a competitive rate which we will gain as a group….

The BER assessors will begin their work from May 14th. The householder will  pay the BER assessor the discount rate obtained by the Energy Team.

 

GAINING COMPETITIVE GROUP PRICE FROM CONTRACTORS

Once we have established the type of works and the amount of upgrades needed in the community we will then Tender out to local Contractors who will in turn come back with the best price possible for carrying out works, we will probably engage with two or three contactors, you will then deal with a particular contactor that suits the work you require –again this price that will be quoted to you by the contactor will be at a reduced price because it is under this Community Project.

 

GRANTS AVAILABLE FROM SEAI

There are grants available from The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for certain upgrades, this needs to be done online but I can aid you with this process once we establish what upgrades you are going to get done, and who the contactors are going to be.

 

Currently the way the grant work is –you get approved for the Grant from SEAI – then you engage with your contactor to start works – once all works and complete you must pay the contactor and the BER assessor directly, all the grant forms will be signed by each party and send back to SEAI for the Grant money to be released – this can take from 6 -9 weeks to receive the money.

We are in talks with SEAI to get monies released to the community project instead of homeowner waiting for this period of time to receive their grants.

OTHER FINANCING ARRANGEMENTS

We are also talking with the Credit Union, this will hopefully allow homeowners to get a loan from the Credit Union under the Community project – each homeowner will be required to have their own Credit Union account to start with – but this scheme will just make it easier for homeowners to avail of a loan because it is recognised as an investment in your home.

 

Better Energy homes Grants:

Grants are available to eligible applicants for undertaking the following works, in accordance with the requirements contractor Code of Practice Technical Specification.

Energy Efficient Works Incentive
    Cash Grant Value*
Insulation Attic Insulation €200
Wall Insulation – Cavity €250
Wall Insulation – Internal Dry Lining
Apartment (any) OR Mid- terrace House €900
Semi-detached or End of Terrace €1,350
Detached House €1,800
Wall Insulation – External
Apartment (any) OR Mid- terrace House €1,800
Semi-detached or End of Terrace €2,700
Detached House €3,600
Heating System Heating Controls with Boiler (Oil or Gas) Upgrade. €560
Heating Controls Upgrade only €400
Solar Heating €800
Building Energy Rating (BER) €50**

 

Warmer Homes Aid: – under fuel Allowance and built before 2002 – 1 year waiting list

Attic Insulation

Blown Cavity wall insulation

Draughproofing

Hot water cylinder

Low energy Lights

 

 

The Energy Survey

Further discussion concluded that a local community energy survey would give accurate information on current energy use and insulation levels, while creating awareness of the benefits of energy conservation, and the government grants available. It was hoped the survey would help save money for people and spurring economic activity in the community.

The energy analysis of Drombane/Upperchurch has highlighted an opportunity to reduce the community spend on energy, through investment in energy efficiency. There is significant interest both in carrying out energy conservation work, and obtaining more information on options available. There is potential for individuals and the community to create investment and work opportunities in the parish.  This voluntary led initiative can offer a model to other rural communities.

Main Conclusions

• €1,000,000 per annum spent on energy Drombane/Upperchurch (households). This equates to €1,000 per person or €2,500 per household per annum.

• A reduction in energy usage of 25% could result in €250,000 being saved, money which could be spent locally.

• Respondents cited financial savings the most important reason for investing in energy efficiency (200 out of 349).

• Oil is the fuel most used in 59% of the households, mainly in oil boilers or ranges.

• Wood is a significant fuel source in the area. There is strong interest in using locally produced wood fuel, and evidence of an untapped and underdeveloped local market.

• Expenditure on energy: heating fuels-55%; electricity-33%; 12%-secondary fuels.

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Community interest in energy efficiency schemes is high:

• 63% of respondents interested in availing of energy efficiency schemes.

• 18% would like to receive more information on the schemes.

 

Eligibility for Grant Schemes

• 82% (281) of houses could avail of the Better Energy Scheme

• 13% (46) could avail of the Warmer Homes Scheme grants.

• 10% of the population have already availed of existing energy efficiency schemes.

• Majority of houses have some type of insulation, however age profile of housing stock, suggests considerable scope for thermal upgrades throughout the parish.

• 30 households in Drombane/Upperchurch have no insulation in their homes.

 

House profile:

• 80% of houses are detached dwellings (typical of a rural community). Significant portion of the houses were built before 1920.

• 50% built before 1981 when insulation began to be introduced into the building stock. 40 houses were built every 10 years from 1971 onwards.

 

Population Age:

Population age profile of the community is similar to national figures, indicating that there is unlikely to be a need for age specific interventions in the region.

What Next? Main Recommendations

1. Further analysis is required to allow for energy upgrade actions to be taken eg: clustering of house by type, age, required upgrades etc.

2. Cluster households interested in Community Approach, based on the analysis indicated under Recommendation 1, in order to allow economies of scale be identified in procuring energy upgrades.

5. Liaise with SEAI on how the homes which qualify for the Warmer Homes Scheme, can avail of energy conservation work. There is no community based Warmer Homes Scheme provider in North Tipperary, and currently no potential to establish one.

6. The Energy Team should engage with the Tipperary Energy Agency to help provide support to home owners, eg set up on-line Energy Savings Account for home owners, to track energy use and measure the impact of investments.

7. The Energy Team should engage with local entrepreneurs and co-operatives to see how a community wide energy conservation programme can be developed.

8. The Energy Team should engage with landowners, and Coillte with a view to encouraging harvesting and planting of suitable trees for firewood. There is strong interest in using locally produced wood fuel, and evidence of an untapped and underdeveloped local market.

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