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An energy efficiency upgrade is not something that only homeowners should consider. It’s important that we all do our part to help curtail the current climate crisis we’re facing. In 2016, the CSO found that industry, commercial and public services accounted for 13.9% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Combined with the energy industry, agricultural and transport, these greenhouse gas emissions were responsible for 66.2% of our total emissions. This represents a huge opportunity to invest in energy saving measures to reduce energy demand and associated greenhouse gasses.

In our latest post on the KORE Blog, we’ll explore the top 5 reasons both public and private businesses should consider investing in energy upgrades to help Ireland reach its Climate Action Plan objectives.

1. Reduced energy demand

While reducing energy demand may seem like an obvious reason to upgrade energy efficiency measures, many don’t realise just how much can be saved by doing so. For example, Shaws Department Store in Carlow upgraded its lighting systems to LED lighting and now saves 102,223 kWh per year with a single measure upgrade alone. Letterkenny Shopping Centre also upgraded its lighting system to LED lights and now saves nearly 175,000 kWh per year. Barleystone Paving in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan upgraded its curing chamber to a high efficiency model, installed LED lighting and underwent EcoDrive Training and now saves more than a quarter-million kilowatt hours per year. The reduced energy demand of even a single measure can add up quickly, and with grant funding, the initial investment can be substantially reduced. We’ll touch more on this later.

The measures you choose to upgrade can be tailored to the business and budget. There is no need to upgrade every measure at once. Business owners can start by choosing the measures that offer the greatest energy savings at a cost that stays within budget. The savings can be used towards funding future energy upgrades as the budget allows. A commercial energy audit can show how the business is using energy, where it’s being wasted, and identify what measures can be implemented and the benefit it will bring to the organisation.

2. Reduced energy-related costs

While again this may seem like a given, many don’t realise exactly how much a business can save by reducing energy demand. Shaws Department Store in Carlow has reduced its expenditure on lighting by 35% per year. These savings can be invested elsewhere in the business or they can be used to fund future energy upgrades. Likewise, Letterkenny Shopping Centre now saves approximately €25,000 per year by upgrading to LED lights, while Barleystone Paving enjoys in excess of €32,000 in savings per year on its energy expenditure. With a full commercial energy audit, planning and design of the measures, the payback period and return on investment can be short, often taking just a few years to recoup the initial investment. This bring us to our next point.

LED lighting upgrade at Shaws Department Store

LED lighting upgrades at Shaws Department Store, Carlow

3. Reduced up-front costs with grant funding

There are a number of grant schemes available to businesses that wish to participate in energy efficiency upgrades, including the Better Energy Communities Scheme administered by KORE Insulation and funded by SEAI. This scheme offers businesses, both public and private, up to 30% off the cost of works for a wide variety of measures. Common upgrades include LED lighting upgrades, heat pumps for space and hot water heating, solar PV for generating electricity, solar thermal for generating hot water, ventilation upgrades including heat recovery, building fabric upgrades like floor, wall and roof insulation, window and door upgrades, and measures that are specific to the business itself.

Community organisations and not-for-profit organisations can also participate in the scheme, with grants of up to 50% available to help offset the cost. Community organisations who have participated in the past have received LED lighting upgrades, solar thermal for hot water heating, insulation upgrades and more.

KORE is currently seeking commercial and community organisations to participate in a 2020 Better Energy Communities Scheme. Visit our Better Energy Communities Scheme page for more information.

4. Enjoy more comfortable and healthier indoor environments

Energy upgrades aren’t all about reducing energy demand and carbon footprints. There are many benefits that building occupants will experience from the outset. These benefits include:

  • A more comfortable indoor environment that stays warm in the winter and cool during the summer months
  • Proper air tightness measures which reduce draughts and heat loss
  • Healthier and less polluted indoor air with proper ventilation and building fabric upgrades which helps reduce respiratory and other illnesses, and reduces exposure to mould and other contaminants
  • Improved lighting conditions with LED lighting upgrades

In a work environment, this could lead to happier and healthier employees, reduced stress levels and reduction in employees taking sick leave. When we invest in energy upgrades we’re not only investing in the health of our buildings, but in the health of the occupants, as well.

LED lighting upgrade at Michael Moore Car Sales Ltd

LED lighting upgrades at Michael Moore Car Sales Ltd.

5. Become a leader in corporate social responsibility

There is no denying that climate change is a major problem. It is vitally important that we all start making changes to reduce our impact on the environment, and it all starts within the local community. While upgrading to LED lighting or installing a renewable heat pump system may seem small in the grand scheme of things, there is no better way to prove our commitment to a healthier, more sustainable future than by practicing what you preach, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.

At the KORE factory alone, we’ve installed a high efficiency steam boiler, upgraded to LED lighting, installed new insulation and ventilation, converted to a renewable heat pump system for space heating, identified water leaks and saved over 1.3 million litres of water per year, and planted dozens of new trees. While there will always be more to do, we now save nearly 500,000 kWh per year in energy demand and have reduced our environmental impact on the local community.

Behavioural changes are important, too. This includes:

  • Turning off the lights when leaving a room
  • Powering down computers and electronics at the end of the work day
  • Printing less
  • Using environmentally friendly cleaning products
  • Reducing the amount of packaging we use
  • Participating in EcoDrive Training so the transport of our products is more efficient, including proper route planning
  • Setting environment and sustainability goals and sticking to them

The 2020 Better Energy Communities Scheme makes it more affordable than ever to invest in energy efficiency and sustainability. For more information you can visit our Better Energy Communities Scheme website, or contact our retrofit department directly by calling 049 437 4002.

published:11 Nov 2019