Author: Derek Roddy, CEO & co-founder of Climote
When it comes to dealing with major issues such as energy efficiency and tackling fuel poverty, the challenge can seem so immense that it is difficult to know how to make a lasting difference. The challenge for Government departments, State agencies and local authorities is to make decisions that have an immediate effect with a profound and measurable impact.
Louth County Council, working with its project partners Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Kingspan, Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL) and Electric Ireland, is aiming to tackle the issue of energy efficiency by completing the largest social-housing regeneration scheme in Europe. When complete, over 2,000 homes in the county will have been upgraded with Climote remote-control heating systems and a further 100 homes will have received a full energy upgrade including cavity-wall insulation from Kingspan.
Sometimes, the most successful engineering projects are in fact the simplest ones to execute. To give a context of the scale of what has been carried out by Louth County Council, the project is by far the largest physical regeneration of a social housing project in Europe.
This project has had enquiries from other public bodies responsible for housing across Europe and, before Christmas, Climote hosted the most senior officials from the British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). They are keen to see how, working in tandem with the major energy-utility companies in the UK, they can replicate the innovative scheme that is being carried out in County Louth.
Sometimes it can take outsiders to point out how successful a scheme has been. This project is a classic case in point, as in Ireland there is a tendency to look past what is done and focus instead on what has been yet to be done. However, European leaders in the area of energy efficiency have marveled to us about the scale of the project and how little it has cost the local authority to complete.
In simple terms, this regeneration scheme has proven successful because of the close partnership forged between all the key components in the scheme. We started with the idea that any product or service must be designed to be simple and easy to use for every consumer, regardless of their age and even regardless of their technical knowledge. That is why Climote, with its one-touch programming, was a key part of this project. Thousands of homeowners in the four corners of the world were already using Climote, having an immediate effect on their energy costs.