Interest is really hotting up in Clonakilty energy business

April 11th, 2020 11:40 AM

By Jackie Keogh

The team who have been working on developing the RetroKit software tool over the last three years include, back row (left to right): Denis Croombs, Max Deasy, Shay Kavanagh, Sarah Kandrot, Rebecca Hatchett and Trevor Sweetnam. Front row (left to right): Bert Dufour, Xavier Dubuisson and Susan O’Flaherty. (Photo: Kathryn O’Shea)

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A NEW start-up company in Clonakilty is providing energy solutions for housing providers.

RetroKit – which was established by Susan O’Flaherty, Xavier Dubuisson and Shay Kavanagh in February 2020 – works with large scale housing providers, like local authorities, to help them plan the renovation of their housing stock.

RetroKit is a software tool that assesses the energy performance of the housing stock and identifies opportunities for renovation that suit both the customer’s budget and target.

‘RetroKit helps them plan the energy rating upgrades of their housing stock,’ said Susan O’Flaherty, who is proud of the fact that their Clonakilty-based company is attracting positive attention not just nationally but internationally too.

Susan and Xavier, a married couple who have been living in West Cork since 2001, actually began work on the project in 2017.

Xavier, an expert in sustainable energy who has been working in the sector for more than 20 years, explained that they secured some financial support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland during the research and development stage.

Shay Kavanagh, an engineer who lives in Rosscarbery, has also been involved in the project from the very beginning.

Susan said that the company’s potential customers are likely to include local authorities, sustainable energy communities, housing associations and energy retrofit professionals.

She said: ‘RetroKit can assess the current energy performance of their housing stock and advise them how best to renovate it in order to reach climate action targets.’

The company currently employs the three directors and a software engineer, Max Deasy, but it has the potential to expand considerably. To date, it has drawn on the expertise and support of local experts in the area of data analytics, GIS – geographic information systems, and UX – user experience, which is the appearance and use of the product.

The company has already engaged with a lot of potential customers and have a clear vision for the future.

Despite the uncertainty of the Covid-19 crisis, Susan said: ‘It is, for us, business as usual. We have had to curtail some things but we will continue to engage with customers online, and carrying online demos.

‘Our development will also continue, as planned. There will always be a need to provide energy saving solutions, particularly in the home.

‘It’s is important to that we tackle fuel poverty and improve the health and wellbeing of tenants by providing clean, efficient, and less costly energy solutions.’

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