About the Pilot
Ireland has great potential for a positive change in the energy consumption of buildings. To capitalise on this, the National Retrofit Plan 2022 aims to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030, emphasising the country’s commitment to sustainable post-pandemic recovery and robust energy efficiency in buildings. This commitment is underlined by initiatives such as Ireland’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), which is driving the nation towards its renewable energy ambitions. A shining example of this progress is Cabra, an urban village in Dublin, where the Connecting Cabra Energy Community (CC SEC) initiative symbolises a shift towards a greener future. Launched in 2021 with the support of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), CC SEC’s core mission is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Funded by SEAI and local councils, it promotes energy efficiency in a variety of spaces. In 2023, Connecting Cabra joined forces with Phibsboro Village Climate Club SEC and Cosybatter SEC to form the Triple SEC initiative to promote sustainable change in the north of Dublin City. Triple SEC also faces challenges due to the diversity of buildings in the area, navigating local grants, institutional barriers, community engagement and understanding of energxy regulations. The initiative is in the process of formalising its structure, which requires both financial and administrative fine-tuning.
Ireland has a unique population spread: 34.5% live in cities, 26.3% in towns, and 39.2% in rural areas, differentiating it from other European countries. When it comes to housing, Ireland mainly has detached (40.1%) and semi-detached homes (49.9%). These unique demographic and housing characteristics play into the country’s retrofitting efforts. From 2000 to 2019, Ireland realized a remarkable 41.2% energy savings, ranking it third highest in the EU. This showcases the country’s strong potential for positive change in energy consumption. While the country has made significant strides in energy-saving, indicating a dedication to change, there remains an immediate need for more energy-efficient measures in homes. This challenge is not just about retrofitting alone; it’s about adopting a comprehensive approach. Such a strategy must consider the unique dynamics of rental situations, the diversity of housing types, and the specific requirements of retrofitting policies.
To support such energy communities, the Citizen-Led Renovation (CLR) initiative will provide Triple SEC with a holistic support from project management, ecosystem building, and business plan drafting to the technical design and community communication and engagement strategies. CLR’s tasks span administrative responsibilities, building a business strategy for Irish pilot, and streamlining Triple SEC’s e volution into a formal energy community.
In Cabra, for example, retrofitting homes promises annual energy savings of more than 77 million kWh. In addition, the introduction of 2 MW of solar PV could generate a further 1.8 million kWh per year. The project idea for the citizens of Cabra includes concrete measures such as loft insulation and solar PV installations, as well as initiatives to train local building energy rating assessors, work with businesses and promote community involvement. To support this mission, a workshop will be held in Dublin in October, providing an opportunity for the energy community to network and gain insight into the upcoming pilot project.
|Pilot Information||Connecting Cabra SEC|
Phibsboro Village Climate Club SEC
|Location||Dublin 7||Dublin 7, 9, 11||Dublin 7|
|Legal Form||Unincorporated Association|
|Established in year||2021||2018||2020|
- Development of an EMP
- Selected participants offered Building Energy Rating, assessments for free as part of the EMP
- Information regarding retrofitting and renewable energy grants made available to members.
- Personal experiences and lessons learnt of retrofitting projects made available to members.
- Local engagement events surrounding energy, active travel and biodiversity
- Triple SEC has the perspective to offer a community led option for renewable energy & energy saving measures that are affordable to all.
- Leverage partnerships with local institutions such as Technological University Dublin (TUD), Dublin City Council, local businesses, local schools and other community groups.
- Establish themselves as a legal entity to allow them to actually support the delivery of innovative renewable energy projects.
- Develop a “How To” guide for other communities to follow for community-led renewable energy projects.