Siamsa Tíre Announces A Greener Future

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Siamsa Tíre, The National Folk Theatre of Ireland, today launched its Greening Siamsa initiative as it celebrates the completion of recent energy upgrades to the theatre and arts centre. Pictured were John Flynn SE Systems and Jimmy McDonnell, Building Manager Siamsa Tíre.  Photo by Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

SIAMSA Tíre, The National Folk Theatre of Ireland, yesterday launched its Greening Siamsa initiative as it celebrates the completion of recent energy upgrades to the theatre and arts centre.

Siamsa Tíre has recognised the role it can play in reducing the impact of its activities on the environment, and is developing policies which will culminate in an over-arching environmental strategy for the organisation.

It will encompass a wide-ranging approach to reducing its carbon footprint, waste and water management, and improving bio-diversity in the grounds around the building.

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The first phase of this policy was to improve energy efficiency and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

The works carried out in Siamsa Tire included the installation of insulation, heat pumps, Photo Voltaic (PV) panels and upgraded lighting.

Funding for the energy upgrade works was provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Siamsa Tíres’ core funder, the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.  SEAI funding is part of a wider community energy project in Kerry known as the Better Energy Community Scheme (BEC) and also included mentoring supports from SEAI and the whole BEC delivery team.

The overall Kerry project, led by NCE, will see investment of almost €1 million in 9 homes and 13 community, educational and private buildings including Killorglin Community Care Centre, Dingle and Ballybunion libraries, Castleisland fire station, Woodhouse Museum,  and Crowley Drapery.

Under the auspices of Kerry Sustainable Energy Co-Operative, SE Systems submitted an application on behalf of Siamsa Tíre to the SEAI as part of the Better Energy Communities programme for 2017.

In April of this year, it received notification that the application had been successful and work commenced immediately.  The project submitted included four measures to reduce the energy used by Siamsa Tíre:

·        extensive insulation and venting of the building

·        the installation of Photo Voltaic panels on the roof of the building to generate electricity

·        replacement of the current oil fired heating system with an Air to Water Heat Pump system

·        the replacement of all current lighting with LED fittings and bulbs

This project was completed by BEC partners, nearly all local Kerry and Munster based contractors, providing direct employment and sustainability in the locality.

Speaking at the launch event at Siamsa Tíre, John Randles, Head of Delivery with SEAI commented: “It’s great to see communities and community buildings around the country benefit from energy upgrades like Siamsa Tíre in Kerry. SEAI is investing €26 million in community energy projects this year alone which will see thousands of homes and community buildings become warmer and more efficient from insulation and heating system upgrades. We all have a say in what our energy future will look like, and whether in our homes, at work or in our communities, we all have a responsibility to act.”

James Clifford from Kerry Sustainable Energy Co-operative added, ‘We were very pleased that Siamsa Tíre signed up to the Better Energy Community with Kerry Sustainable Energy Co-operative Ltd (KSEC) and that the grant application was successful.  KSEC is committed to 100% renewable energy in Kerry by 2030 and Siamsa can be proud that through its energy upgrade it is helping Kerry reach this goal.  The scheme will be available again next year and we hope that more businesses, households and community groups will avail of it to keep Kerry moving towards a cleaner, more sustainable county by 2030.”

The first phase of the project commenced with the insulation and venting of the building by Kingdom Installation Ltd. In order to move toward more sustainable energy, the second phase consisted of installation of a new Photo Voltaic (PV) System.  SE Systems partnered with PV Generation Ltd, Triple A registered installers, to fit a Photo Voltaic Panel system on the roof of the theatre. These panels convert solar radiation into electricity and over time, will help Siamsa Tíre to save energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.

The third phase of this project was the installation of a Mitsubishi Air to Water Heat & Cooling System and the final phase replaced current lighting with LED fittings and bulbs where possible, increasing savings on energy costs.

Over 90% of lighting was replaced within the main building and a start has been made on stage lighting with the remainder planned for completion in 2018.

Catríona Fallon, General Manager of Siamsa Tíre added, “The development of our Greening Siamsa initiative reflects a growing desire by many people to protect what is precious for future generations.  These energy upgrades represent the beginning of our Greening Initiative and our plans to develop policies across waste and water management, biodiversity, transport, travel and procurement.  This initial step would not have been possible without the generous funding from the SEAI and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and we are exceedingly grateful for their support. ”

The overall project was co-ordinated by SE Systems and Jimmy McDonnell, Building Manager Siamsa Tíre along with other members of the staff team. This project is only the beginning of the Greening Siamsa initiative and work has already commenced on supporting biodiversity in the green areas surrounding the theatre, in conjunction with Kerry County Council.  The next area to be targeted will be waste management – the company has already put in place some waste solutions including composting and recycling measures.

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