Reaping rewards of energy efficient venues

The Energy Efficient Venues programme is helping groups in Northern Ireland reduce their carbon footprint and benefit the environment. With Climate Week well underway, what a good excuse to reflect upon some of the great work carried out by funded projects. 

The programme awards grants of up to £50,000 to local groups so they can carry out energy efficiency improvements to their venues that are saving them money during a time of recession and helping them cut down on their carbon dioxide emissions.

Children ride banana boat
Share Discovery Village offers outdoor pursuits for people of all abilities

By buying new UPVC doors and windows, fitting a new heating system or even installing solar panels or a wind turbine, groups have been able to reduce the cost of their venue’s heating and lighting.

This has meant they are also reducing the amount of energy they are using and decreasing their carbon footprint.

Share Discovery Village, an outdoor pursuits centre in Fermanagh that gives disabled and non-disabled people the chance to take part in education and creative arts activities, was recently awarded nearly £47,000 to carry out a range of energy saving improvements.

“We are replacing the lighting in our swimming pool and external areas with energy efficient LED lighting, said Robert Livingstone, Chief Executive.

“The centre’s insulation is being upgraded and new solar electric panels are being installed in the pool which will feed into the grid supply.

“The money we save will go back into running the wide range of activities we offer that encourage people of all backgrounds and ages to mix together.”

Boho Cross Community Association, near Enniskillen, is using nearly £50,000 to carry out a number of energy saving improvements to its centre, including installing a solar photo-voltaic system on the roof of the venue.

“The Association was set up in 1992 and we built our centre on the site of an old National school in 1999,” said treasurer Gretta Farmer.

“We had to add a new building to the existing old school which is constructed of stone and because of this there have been problems with damp from the very beginning.

Solar panels
Boho Cross Community Association installed solar panels on the roof of its venue

“Our kitchen and the playgroup are located within the old school and these rooms have always been damp. We have to keep the heating on 24 hours per day during bad weather and have been using a dehumidifier in the playgroup at night.

“Many groups use the centre for meetings and activities including Bo-Peeps playgroup, Boho Women’s group, youth club, parent and toddler group, keep fit, bowls, music and dance, senior citizens, heritage and many more.

“The photo-voltaic panels installed on the roof of the centre are an innovative approach that will help us save money which we can then put back into maintenance, activities and support we offer.

“These panels will feed into the national grid, so we can sell the energy we don’t use back to the electricity company.

“The improvements will reduce our heating and lighting costs which is brilliant because despite all the activities we offer we have to keep rent low.

“And we’ll be able to reduce our carbon emissions which is so important to us. Protecting the environment is an absolute necessity in this day and age.”

Want to do your bit for the environment during Climate Week then check out our map of volunteering opportunities.

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