Sustainable Energy Communities

The ORS mission is ‘to design and build a better world by delivering sustainable solutions for our customers and creating a supportive workplace for our people.’  We are genuinely committed to engineering a sustainable future.  We understand that to do this, we rely on the commitment and dedication of communities across the country.

A Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) is a community in which everyone works together to develop a sustainable energy system.  For over 30 years, ORS has worked with communities that are established SECs and those who are seeking to become one.  We  support them by taking a staged approach from preparation to planning and implementation.  Communities can take the form of small towns, GAA clubs, schools and groups of business owners.  Their ultimate objective being, to achieve energy savings, create better environments and change user behaviour.

Stage One: Education

Our first task is to educate on the journey to developing an Energy Master Plan.  Whether you are already established as an SEC or simply considering an energy project, the most important stage is education.  By their nature, SECs often comprise a variety of people with a diverse range of opinions, motives and concerns. ORS has established trusted and long-standing relationships with several key players in the energy efficiency market, including SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) and multiple established SECs.  We understand the sometimes emotive nature of involvement, and complexities of their management.

We are flexible with our time to accommodate volunteered time.  The ORS Energy Consultants educate and address the five key steps all SECs must take on the journey to energy efficiency.

  1. How to structure an SEC?
  2. What are the key roles?
  3. What are the key responsibilities?
  4. How much time is needed?
  5. What templates and policies are required?

Stage Two: Planning

The goal for any SEC is the creation of an Energy Masterplan (EMP).  To support sustainability in our community, the Government established significant funding through SEAI.  The good news is that an EMP is 100% funded by SEAI.

So, what is an EMP?  It allows a community to understand their energy demand and supply and is developed to:

  1. Quantify the current energy status.
  2. Identify any existing renewable energy sources.
  3. Create a Register of Opportunities.
  4. Select suitable projects for the first three years of your SEC.
  5. Allow periodic updating of the SEC energy status to track progress against targets.

The ORS Energy Management Team has extensive experience, designing bespoke Energy Master Plans for a wide range and scale of communities such as Sligo Town, Inishowen, Killorglin, Clane, Maynooth and Kilcullen to name a few.  Our team of Consultants are also County Mentors and Regional Coordinators on behalf of the SEAI in the Midlands and South/East.  We assist, advise and support SECs in all aspects of their sustainable journey from initial registration to completion of energy efficiency projects.

Stage Three: Implementation

For many SECs, the challenge is to implement the EMP.  From our experience, we understand the valid concerns about time investment, uncertainty of deliverables, managing expectations and venturing into an unknown area.  What we do best is building relationships with communities.  We gauge their levels of risk and concern, and we understand their motives and objectives.  Having created multiple EMPs, we can support SECs to meet their targets and generate a return on investment.  As a multidisciplinary firm, we have immediate access to in-house specialists – for example from infrastructure, health and safety, environmental – who can provide expert advice on the implementation of your EMP.

Through information evenings and a safe environment for questions and discussion, we can help you make your community sustainable, and your buildings user friendly