AN East Clare-based company is hoping to harvest the talents of at least four people in the next few weeks and up to nine more by the year’s end as the two-man business expands.
Rainsavers Ltd is a rainwater harvesting company set up by Kerry native and Whitegate resident Denis Sheehy and his brother-in-law, Shane Kelly from Whitegate.
The two have been working together for the past three years patenting modular rainwater harvesting equipment, which provides both domestic and commercial premises with drinkable quality water harvested from the roofs of buildings.
Although it has been three years in the making, the company has only expanded commercially in the last year following the development of a number of products with worldwide patents by Denis and Shane.
The company is based at the Raheen Industrial Estate in Tuamgraney, where it now employs four people. In the coming weeks, Rainsavers aims to double its current employees and by the end of the year, is looking at employing up to 17 people.
Speaking about how the company developed, Denis, who has a background in architecture and mechanical engineering, said he recognised the need to develop a cost-effective rainwater harvesting system.
Joining him in the business endeavour was Shane, who has an environmental science background, which was instrumental in the development of the patented filtration systems used.
“We started with two people and we have four employed at the moment and we hope to take on four more,” Denis said. The jobs proposed will include skilled and unskilled positions.
With the onset of water charges, the commercial sector has been quick to invest in the system, which has led to the need for the company’s growth. Denis added that the domestic market is also slowly but surely coming along, with the impending domestic water charges.
The company is in East Clare to stay, according to Denis and aims to create “sustainable employment” for the area, which has been hard hit in recent years.
“This is a part of the country that has been very much underdeveloped. It is part of the country that has been hit by a lot of unemployment with the loss of Finsa, so we’re here to stay and we’re hoping to use this business to create lots more employment in this area,” he said. Rainsavers is currently in talks with two UK companies with a view to distributing the products to this market.
In addition to the modular units, which allow the product to be adapted to any building, another distinctive aspect to the East Clare-based business is that the harvested water is filtered back to drinking water quality.
“All our filtration systems are certified for drinking water standards. It makes us unique in a sense. With conventional systems, it is only a small portion of what you harvest from the roof that you are using, whereas with our system 100% of the water harvested is used for 100% of the house,” he said.
Their system also distributes the water without the need for a buried tank and storage tanks can be located in any number of locations, whether it’s in the attic or outside shed.
“It means you are not digging up the ground to get the harvest water. It’s a clip-on system too, so if you move house, you can bring it with you,” Denis said.
He added that the company is seeing an increase in business on a weekly basis, particularly in the domestic market and with a break into the UK market, the company will be expanding further.
“The UK market is 21 times the size of the Irish market, so once we are established there in the next couple of months, we will be looking at taking on more people again to service that market. I would be hoping to come back before the end of the year looking for nine more people if the UK market comes on stream for us,” Denis continued.
The duo are confident that their business will offer further potential for employment in the area. As Denis highlighted, “We are not short of our raw materials, we’ve certainly got plenty of rain”.
The system is used locally by businesses and the agricultural sector and Scariff Community College has also put it in as part of a green schools initiative.