28 January 2024
By Tom Collins
Ballydehob Community Project Granted Almost €55,000 Through SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Community Funds
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) granted a Ballydehob community project almost fifty-five-thousand-euro (€54,860) Government funds to help carry out an extensive energy upgrade; transforming the community building from a cold, costly place to a warm self-sufficient community hub. The project is one of 84 community or not-for-profit projects supported by SEAI in 2022 and 2023.
The works were completed at the Ballydehob Bank House community project in West Cork with Government support through SEAI’s community grants and additional funding through SE Systems community fund. The building, a former AIB bank, which now serves as a tourism office, community centre and art museum, had a low BER rating with poor comfort levels for staff and community members. Due to poor insulation and energy efficiency, the community council found it difficult to achieve a warm, comfortable building at an affordable cost.
Speaking about the Ballydehob Bank House energy upgrade project, William Walsh, CEO at SEAI said:
“The Ballydehob Bank House energy upgrade is a testament to the Ballydehob Community Council and SE Systems who have helped deliver such a fantastic project. These energy upgrades will help them reduce their carbon footprint and heating costs. With over 750 Sustainable Energy Communities across Ireland driving the energy revolution, SEAI’s community network are taking control of their energy future by establishing a path to lowering their energy use and climate impact. SEAI is delighted to support their collective journey through advice, mentoring and capital grants.”
The Ballydehob Bank House required a significant number of energy upgrades. The building was upgraded with new windows and doors, the cavity walls were pumped, and the attic was insulated. There were three flat roof sections at the back of the building which were fitted with warm roof insulation. After the insulation was complete, solar panels were installed to run the new heat pump upgrade and four EV chargers.
William Swanton, Ballydehob Committee Member explained,
“The ambition of the Ballydehob Bank House was for the local community to have a place where they can meet and develop. The full energy upgrade project took the building from a cold, costly place, to a warm, self-sufficient, low cost, low carbon success story. The solar panels are producing more electricity than we are using, and we’ll be selling it back to the grid. There’s an app on my phone that allows me monitor how much electricity is produced and see how much energy we have saved. It’s amazing.”
Finbarr O’Sullivan, Project Manager, SE Systems said:
“SE Systems offer a complete solution for applying and delivering the SEAI Community Energy Grants. What was required here for the Ballydehob Bank House was a complete energy retrofit. The Ballydehob community upgraded their building fabric and main electrical and mechanical infrastructure. Ballydehob Community Council’s next step is to begin fitting out the internal space to expand their services. This energy upgrade is a flagship project for Ballydehob and the wider community, bringing vibrancy back into an old, unused building in the town.”
Over 750 communities across Ireland are benefitting from SEAI’s support. SEAI invites even more communities to join the Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) network and encourages existing community groups to avail of SEAI’s community energy grants for their future projects. Further information on the network and how to get involved is available on the SEAI Sustainable Energy Community webpage here: www.seai.ie/community-energy/sustainable-energy-communities/
SEAI grant funded the Ballydehob Bank House project for €54,860. The total project cost was €125,203.21. Additional funding via SE Systems Community Fund included €50,294, with a net cost to the Ballydehob Community of €20,047.