The Ballynagran Energy Plus Community Project is a rural community in East Wicklow comprising approximately 500 homes clustered around the village of Glenealy as well as dispersed throughout rolling green countryside in the heart of the Garden of Ireland and covers an area of approximately 37km2.
The area has embarked on an ambitious project to become a “zero CO2e emission” community within the next fifteen years, focusing on energy consumption in buildings, transportation and food production. In addition, the project is focussed on determining material and energy flow streams in areas such as waste, wastewater and agriculture. The overall mission of this project is to dramatically reduce the energy use of this rural community, to eventually create an energy independent region and to improve and enhance the overall quality of life for its residents.
The following is a brief summary of the projects achievements in 2011, the first year of the project.
- Establishment of relevant stakeholder network which has involved the setting up of community website, Facebook and twitter accounts along with the establishment of relevant sub committees on green energy, food network and sustainable transport.
- Hiring and training of two local persons and the distribution of free low energy light bulbs and radon test kits to all participating households.
- Free energy audits of over 340 residential homes and the development of a database of all properties and their energy usage with proposals to reduce their CO2e emissions.
- Energy upgrade works of local national school classrooms. The Glenealy primary school is being partially retrofitted to the Passive House Standard as an exemplar project using external insulation, renewable energy technology and triple-glazing. This will reduce energy consumption and increase comfort levels for the students and staff.
The community of Ballynagran is within ZECOS Project represented by MosArt Ltd. MosArt is a multi-disciplinary design practice established in 1993 and based in Wicklow Town. Memberships by staff include the Irish Landscape Institute, the UK Landscape Institute and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. MosArt is also one of the leading sustainable design practices in Ireland and has been at forefront of innovation concerning low carbon buildings and zero emission strategies for the past decade.
MosArt’s expertise will significantly contribute to the realisation of the Zero CO2e Emission goals of the Irish Ballynagran Community.
Under ZECOS Project, MosArt will develop masterplan to convert Ballynagran to an exemplar Zero CO2e Emission Community, reducing energy costs for local people, creating ‘green collar’ employment and enhancing quality of life for residents. Initiatives under the ZECOS include starting up and managing a community food coop and farmers’ market. Plans for future years include smart transport based on biodiesel, carpooling with electric cars and encouraging cycling and walking.