According to the SEAI, Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) are communities where everyone works together to develop a sustainable energy system. They aim as far as possible to be energy efficient, to use renewable energy where feasible and to develop decentralised energy supplies.
Dunleer is a town in Mid Louth with a population of approximately 2500 just of the M1 motorway. The Dunleer Community Development board (DCDB) is in existence since 1998 and is an umbrella organisation for voluntary groups, individuals and organisations interested in ensuring that we develop as a community; benefiting all of those living, trading and conducting business in the area.
To achieve this our board has focused on developing certain resources, competencies and the capacity to get things done and grow as a community.
Becoming a part of the sustainable energy community network in early 2016 was a natural build for our town as it is at the centre of a county with significant presence of research, development and manufacturing in the energy and renewables space.
Dunleer has a long history in the manufacture and research of electrical appliances going back to the 1920s, also business in renewable sources of energy such as biomass, air, wind and wave have a strong presence in the county.
As an SEC our focus has been on bringing about behaviour change and the two actions we have taken has been to help homeowners, business and community groups upgrade their homes and premises to make them warmer and more efficient, through the SEAI better energy communities programme (BEC).
Many communities are unclear about what steps to take to save energy and money and what to think about when moving to renewable sources of energy.
This guided us to the second action, which was to build an engaging innovative education programme that informs, motivates and creates discussion amongst homeowners and offers impartial information on energy and renewables. We are launching this programme in March 2017 which is titled “The Energy Ambassadors”.