University College Cork (UCC) has signed an agreement with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to affirm its commitment to energy efficiency. The partnership comes as a result of the SEAI’s Public Sector Energy Partnership programme, which will see UCC taking the lead in contributing to valuable and sustainable energy savings towards the national energy efficiency target of 33% for 2020.
This target is drawn from ‘The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2009-2020’. Its fulfillment will have a significant impact on the success of the Irish economy and on the creation of a more sustainable environment into the future. Included in the plan is the aim of meeting a year on year energy savings target of greater than 3%.
The development builds on the energy programme already in place at UCC, which has been instrumental in securing accreditation as the world’s first third-level institution to be awarded the IS0 50001 standard in energy management. ISO 50001 enables organisations to establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency, use and consumption. UCC is also the first public sector body in Ireland to be certified to the ISO 50001 standard, which can lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy cost, and other related environmental impacts, through systematic management of energy. UCC was also awarded the world’s first Green Campus Flag for third-level institutions in 2010, awarded by An Taisce and the Foundation for Environmental Education.
Paul Prendergast, Buildings Officer at UCC, says: “UCC is committed to continuous energy performance improvement to enhance the sustainable environment of the University community in which we work, teach and carry out research. UCC is also committed to responsible energy and water management as part of our overall environmental strategy and the Public Sector Energy Partnership Programme is a key component of that strategy, with the aim of meeting our public-service targets and continuing to fulfill our corporate responsibility.”
The next step will focus on developing an eight-year plan to extend until 2020 in order to meet the energy savings target of 33%. A key aim of the SEAI is to help public sector organisations reach this national goal through facilitating the Partnership Programme, which offers a support package to large organisations towards meeting their obligations, in return for commitment to energy management.
Dr Brian Motherway, Chief Executive, SEAI says: “We’re delighted to have UCC signing up to our public sector programme and showing real commitment to reducing their energy use. SEAI is already working with many public bodies who are leading the way in energy management, lowering their energy bills and at the same time reducing their environmental impact.”
Dr Brian Motherway, Chief Executive of SEAI, pictured with Paul Prendergast, Buildings Officer at UCC.