Is developing a completely sustainable energy region too ambitious? Not for the North Tipperary region! Here, a whole eco-village has been created and various measures have been implemented in existing houses and all of this was done in close cooperation with the residents.
The rural region of North Tipperary, with a population of 10,000 people, covers an area of 600 km². Originally, there were limited applications of renewables and most of the existing houses had been built with poor insulation levels and inefficient heating systems. In the CONCERTO project SERVE (Sustainable Energy for the Rural Village Environment), both existing and new buildings have been targeted to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.
One core activity has been the development of the new eco-village in Cloughjordan. The village is heated entirely by renewable energy sources. This is achieved through a newly constructed solar thermal and wood pellet district heating system, which is buffered in individual vessels containing smaller “tank in tanks” for domestic hot water. A number of the houses were built from natural materials like cob or hemp/lime mixtures. Noteworthy in Cloughjordan is that the village has been created from inside the community itself.
The residents focus on embodied emissions in building materials as well as consuming as little energy as possible in the use phase. The aim of the village is that the majority of the materials used in the houses are produced in Ireland. Detailed monitoring of measures and results, in terms of energy savings as well as training for the people to develop skills in energy saving, were also part of the project’s activities. Hence, this example eco-village is showcasing an alternative approach to developing a modern and sustainable community