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Eoin Conlan, General Manager, Lahinch Leisure Centre, Lisa Vaughan, CEO, Tipperary Energy Agency, John Hayes, Senior Building Services Engineer, Tipperary Energy Agency.

Two Clare businesses in running for sustainable energy awards

Champion Chatter Podcast

TWO Clare-based businesses, have been shortlisted as finalists in the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Energy Awards 2022.

The Falls Hotel and Spa and the Lahinch Leisure Centre in partnership with Tipperary Energy Agency, are among the cohort of energy-conscious businesses and communities that have been selected for their dedication to an energy-efficient way of working.

The annual awards recognise and reward excellence in sustainable energy in business, communities, research, buildings, renewables and the public sector.

A total of 33 applicants across 10 categories have been shortlisted. Winners will be announced at the national awards ceremony in October, this will return in person for the first time in three years following online ceremonies during Covid.

The Falls Hotel & Spa has been nominated for its six-year campaign to reduce its CO2 emissions.

The hotel’s sustainability journey started with smart energy changes, such as switching all of the light fittings to LED, fitting aerators on all water supply systems and using BioLPG fuel.

They then invested in using hydropower. This is powered by the cascades that give the hotel its name. Installing a hydro-electric turbine on the river next to the hotel reduced their carbon emissions by 70%.

John Mc Carthy, of the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon in the water turbine wheelhouse whose power generation has helped the hotel reduce its carbon emissions by 70%. Photograph by John Kelly.

In addition, they are selling their excess hydro-electricity back to the grid. This and other sustainability initiatives led to the hotel being declared a carbon-neutral property. They were
awarded their GreenMark recognition in March 2021.

Now with a 56-tonne emission reduction by the end of 2021 and 70% reduction in energy bills, they can see a huge change. They proudly have guests stay at a carbon-neutral hotel.

Lahinch Leisure Centre’s refurbishment incorporated an energy retrofit that was managed by Tipperary Energy Agency for Lahinch Leisure Centre which was constructed in 1950.

At the beginning of the project, the centre was experiencing high operational costs and declining memberships. This meant the facility was looking at the prospect of closure. In upgrading the
leisure centre, the goal was to create a sustainable solution focusing on energy efficiency and renewable systems and to serve the local region with a lasting impact. 

The building fabric has been updated and the centre now benefits from a 100% renewable energy system with the installation of a ground source heat pump, biomass boiler, and solar PV array.

The energy efficiency upgrade works will achieve a 56% reduction in running costs and a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions. The upgrade of the leisure centre to an A rating BER has boosted the local community.

The project has generated local and national interest and shows that it is possible to deep retrofit existing leisure facilities.

Congratulating the entrants and finalists, Fergus Sharkey, Head of Business Supports and Transport with SEAI said, “It is the 19th year of the Energy Awards and each year the SEAI team, and our external VIP Judges, continue to be blown away by the quality of entries, and the grassroots climate action underway in all pockets of our society.

“We received 107 entries from businesses, communities, and organisations across the country who are leading the movement, reshaping our communities and businesses, and encouraging every one of us through their action.

“With the urgent need to accelerate climate action in the context of energy supply constraints and rising costs, their work is more important now than ever and we hope they can provide an example to others.”

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