Efforts on the Aran Islands to develop self-sustaining and carbon neutral energy projects were recognised recently with the top prize at Ireland’s Green Oscars.
Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árainn Teo – Aran Islands Renewable Energy Ltd – was named overall winner of the Sustainable Energy Awards 2014 for its range of energy projects to develop the islands as energy self-sustaining and carbon neutral.
Residents on the three Aran Islands collaborated to establish a co-operative to reduce the islands’ dependence on imported fossil fuels and deliver energy independence by 2022.
This co-op is trialling innovations in renewable energy, running energy awareness programmes amongst resident groups and undertaking retrofit programmes in homes and public buildings.
Over 20% of its housing stock will have insulation upgrades by the end of 2014.
That landed them the top prize at the eleventh Sustainable Energy Awards gala event in Dublin, designed to reward excellence in energy innovation amongst Irish organisations of all sizes, across the business, community and public sectors.
Congratulating all the winners, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White, commented “There is a national movement towards a more sustainable energy future which is evident in the sheer range of organisations honoured by SEAI at the annual Sustainable Energy Awards tonight.
“Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árainn Teo is just one example of the way in which energy efficiency has been embraced by communities and local organisations throughout the country.
“Delivering a sustainable energy future will make our homes and businesses more comfortable, healthier and cheaper to run, while replacing expensive imported fossil fuel with domestic jobs.
“I would like to commend all the participants tonight and urge more communities in Ireland to get active and get involved in local energy saving projects,” he added.
SEAI Chief Executive Dr Brian Motherway said that all of the participants had demonstrated significant savings, highlighting how serious these organisations are about remaining competitive and securing jobs.