(Tobar Noafa: Phase 1 of the Mitchel’s Boherbee sustainable community regeneration project)
Tralee Town Council (TCC) is the administrative centre for Tralee (Pop. 2006: 22,714) the capital town of County Kerry and Ireland’s 7th largest town. It is a bustling shopping, tourism, commercial, educational, retail, industrial and services centre, the seat of local government, and a regional transport hub.
Phase 1 of the Mitchel’s Boherbee Regeneration project involved the upgrade of 42 residential units at “Tobar Noafa”, Deane’s Lane in Tralee which was completed in November 2008. Modelled on the SEAI “House of Tomorrow” standards they provide fully accessible accommodation for independent living by the elderly. A target 40% reduction in energy use above the prevailing regulations was set for the dwellings.
Central to the overall project is the renewable wood chip fuelled district heating (DH) system providing all space and hot water needs, in addition a small solar water heating system supplements the hot water production in six of the units . A further six units have a small PV system supplementing the electricity supply. All ground floor units have draft lobbies and most bathrooms and kitchens are naturally ventilated. Heat recovery ventilation systems are being trialled in a further six units. Insulation levels were increased and stringent airtighteness standards were set for the builders to achieve. The average BER rating achieved is B2 / B3.
The district heating system has the capacity to serve the refurbished Convent -Day Care Centre & Residential Units and six additional sheltered units on an adjacent site. An extension to the DH system to supply the adjacent County Library is complete and an to serve an additional 100 residential units and the Primary School is expected to be completed this year.
The DH system is being managed by TCC and “Pay as you use” billing is being introduced on an ongoing basis. Annual energy savings for residents of 37% are expected.
Design and build of air tight high quality housing units for the elderly with low energy costs and addressing fuel poverty – all heated by a renewable fuelled wood fired district heating system. The “Pay as you use” scheme also act as a monitoring system making residence aware of their energy consumption and costs. The district heating system fuel by local wood chip demonstrates the community wide approach providing local employment and security of supply through the support of local industry/small farming sector. The price paid for fuel is linked to fuel moisture content and the hence quantity of heat generated by the fuel. This acts as an incentive for suppliers to provide wood chips with a moisture content of less than 25% and in order to secure higher prices.