Green Skibbereen working towards making West Cork more sustainable

June 20th, 2020 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

Aodh, Katherine and Jim of O’Donnell Design. ‘We are looking towards more projects that involve education, training, and economic development,’ said Jim.

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A SKIBBEREEN business has successfully applied for funding to remove 40 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Award-winning O’Donnell Furniture intends to replace all the lighting in their factory with energy efficient LED units and will also deploy solar panels on the factory roof to power their operations. They made the application to the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI), and it’s now hoped that other local businesses will follow their lead.

The initiative is one of the many positives delivered as part of ‘Green Skibbereen’ which held its first public meeting in November 2019. From initial boardroom meetings at O’Donnell Furniture, the group has been working weekly via Zoom since March.

Noel Casserly, founding director, said: ‘We have been meeting to complete funding applications for projects we think will contribute to a Green future for West Cork. Our team is made up of Jim O’Donnell, Jose Ospina, Trish Lavelle, and Brendan McCormack, who bring together a vast experience of enterprise, sustainable development, education and marketing.’

Jim added: ‘The staff in O’Donnell’s are well aware of the challenge of climate change and wanted to be one of the first applicants with Green Skibbereen for an SEAI grant. We are hoping that other local businesses will follow suit.’

Meanwhile, Jose and Ana Ospina see great opportunities for changes to homes in Skibbereen and throughout West Cork. Their experience with Carbery Housing Association (CHA) brings vast experience to the Green Skibbereen project.

Jose says: ‘Our most recent CHA survey shows that many of our own tenants are “fuel-poor” in that they lack the money to heat their homes adequately given current energy costs and incomes. Our aim is to eradicate energy poverty in CHA homes and provide an example to everyone of how we can improve the quality of life for residents and also combat climate change. We hope we can bring these savings and efficiencies to every home in Skibbereen.’

Trish Lavelle, with years of experience in making funding applications, believes this is just the start. ‘We are actively seeking funding at regional, national and European level and we are optimistic about the change we can bring to Skibbereen and West Cork. It is hugely important during this crisis to bring as much investment as possible to West Cork for a future that is sustainable and equitable for everyone.

‘We will be looking to partner with community groups and local businesses as we progress.’

During this crisis, Green Skibbereen is looking to a future where Skibbereen and West Cork are more resilient and sustainable and can prosperously thrive amidst the climate change challenges that are coming.

Jim added: ‘Our first applications for retrofits have been successful so far. But we are looking towards more projects that involve education, training, and economic development. This is just the start.’

For more information about Green Skibbereen or their funding partnerships for retrofits, renewables and sustainability, contact Brendan McCormack at [email protected].

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