Members of the Oireachtas Climate Action Committee have visited a number of projects in Co Tipperary to see how energy efficient changes to a number of homes, schools and community buildings have reduced carbon emissions and impacted on costs to consumers and on the environment.
Members of the committee were invited to Nenagh and Cloughjordan in Co Tipperary by Paul Kenny of the Tipperary Energy Agency, to see for themselves how the changes have impacted families and school children.
He had made a presentation to the committee about the work the not-for-profit energy consulting agency was doing in Tipperary to achieve energy efficiencies and how communities want to continue to build on that work for the future.
TEA has been working with Tipperary County Council over the past 20 years to bring about energy efficient changes in homes and public buildings to transition to a low carbon community.
It started the SuperHomes initiative where 150 homes have been transformed into A3 standard energy efficient retrofitted homes.
TEA simplifies the process with a one-stop shop process by energy auditing, designing, and grant application and reducing energy costs by up to 80%.
The agency has also upgraded 60 non-residential buildings such as the Nenagh Leisure Centre, which is now one of the most energy efficient in the country, producing €7,500 of its own solar electricity a year and using €50,000 worth of local biomass for its heat.
Another upgraded building is Youghalarra National School located outside Nenagh, where heating and air quality were poor, which was also upgraded with renewable heat and electricity installed improving the entire school environment for the pupils.
The Cloughjordan ecovillage established over ten years ago is now home to 100 residents with homes heated by a district heating system fuelled by renewable energy, with its own community farm which provides fresh food, and with a bakery, and woodland allotments.
TEA believes that these types of initiatives engaging communities in upgrading homes and public buildings reducing energy imports and carbon emissions, could be replicated in every county in Ireland.