Entrants to this year’s Sustainable Energy Awards have saved an unprecedented €48 million in the last year through their extraordinary sustainable energy projects. Irish-owned water treatment specialist EPS Group took the Leadership Award having co-ordinated several community outreach projects around the country. Its efforts saw 81 community and voluntary groups including addiction centres, sheltered housing, sports clubs and schools benefit from almost €2million in funding for energy saving projects.
Presented by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and sponsored by Electric Ireland and Enprova, the Awards recognise excellence in energy in businesses, communities and public sector organisations. Innovation is at the heart of the competition, with this year’s entries including a wide range of new and exciting solutions across a broad spectrum of sectors including agriculture, marine, hospitality and pharma all of which have reduced their CO2 emissions and energy costs.
OpenHydro won the GlenDimplex sponsored Innovation Award for its development of an open centre tidal turbine with such a clever design that the 40 meter device can be fully deployed at sea in less than six hours. Other innovative entries this year included: a smart beer cooling system that can be retrofitted to bars and restaurants using smart electricity meters to run when electricity is cheapest; a new exemplar ‘Living Building’ which will be completely energy independent; and a pioneering anaerobic digestion plant, which allows farmers to use agricultural waste to generate a 100% renewable heat and electricity supply.
The Awards were presented by Mr. Alex White TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources who congratulated the winners. Minister White said: “The sustainable energy activities we are recognising through these awards are making an important contribution to our economic recovery. While energy demand will increase to supply Ireland’s growing economic activity, the industry has worked hard to break the rigid ‘one-to-one’ link between increased economic output and increased energy demand. Our energy is now delivered and utilised much more efficiently and intelligently than in the past. The Sustainable Energy Awards winners and finalists demonstrate the benefits to our society of making our homes and businesses more comfortable and cheaper to run, while also benefitting the environment.”
Speaking on the night, Brian Motherway CEO, SEAI said: “This is the biggest and best year yet for the SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards. Now, more than ever, we are seeing really innovative solutions to saving energy, and also greater collaboration between organisations who are working together to deliver results. I commend all who took part on their achievements in reducing energy use, protecting local jobs and reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels.”
A new Design Award was especially introduced to mark Irish Year of Design and GKinetic Energy, a family business from Limerick, won this Award for its turbine designed to harness energy from rivers and oceans in a new and efficient way. The Community Award was won by Clonakilty Community Cycle scheme for its new bicycle scheme for locals and tourists with 500 members on board since its launch earlier this year.
Further information on the 2015 Sustainable Energy Awards and the winners can be found on SEAI’s website www.seai.ie/energyawards