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Orienting Northern Irelands’ Businesses towards the use of Sustainable Energy

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A seminar for businesses in Northern Ireland on clean energy was held in the city of Derry

 

The month of June hosted the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) took place in Brussels and across Europe between 6-8th June. It’s theme this year was on “leading the clean energy transition”. It focused on gathering all types of stakeholders in Europe to raise everyone’s awareness on the sustainable energy sector and talk about its opportunities in research and in the market. Indeed, the Lighthouse Smart Cities projects like STARDUST, have a huge role in this event as the cities act as key examples in promoting a sustainable future for their citizens. In particular, one of STARDUST’s Follower cities Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) - together with people from the Smarter Energy Communities in Northern and Arctic Regions (SECURE) Project organised a local seminar entitled, “Opportunity to save energy”.

 

The event aimed to raise the public’s awareness, particularly the business community, on the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions in buildings and public infrastructures within Northern Ireland’s remote and sparsely populated areas as well as within Derry City, the regions second largest city.

 

The seminar focused on two aspects: (1) providing information on the different energy efficiency and renewable energy actions available and (2) showing how these can also support existing businesses.

 

Leo Strawbridge, Energy Manager with Derry City & Strabane District Council welcomed attendees to the event held in the Guildhall and outlined the importance for businesses and communities to implement innovative energy solutions for improving energy efficiency and renewable sources.  

 

Clare Campbell, Accommodation Manager from the City Hotel Derry, shared her experiences on how green initiatives, like building management system (BMS) controls and staff behaviour engagement and training, enabled the hotel to receive numerous awards including the Green Tourism Gold Award and Sustainable NI award.

 

Moreover, speakers from the energy sector shared their view on how smarter energy consumption and renewable energy and actions on energy efficiency can help businesses and communities, financially save money, whilst reducing their energy use and carbon emissions. 

 

Lastly, some speakers mentioned of the “gap” for sustainable energy to flourish. Alex Bookless,  Senior Project Manager from Action Renewables pointed out the need to overcome the obstacles faced by the lack of environmental policy and renewable energy framework in Northern Ireland. On the other hand, Fergal Tuffy, Technology Innovation Manager from North West Regional College provided case studies in which businesses are supported to work with the latest tools on energy savings, which can be applied across various business sectors.