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The latest news from CHA


Carbery Housing Association (CHA), is delighted to report that tenants in the four houses retrofitted with solar panels, battery storage, storage heaters and smart meters under the EU-funded pilot project ‘RED WoLF’ Project are already saving money on their energy bills, as well as reducing their carbon footprint by as much as 80%.

The project was launched in February this year, at an event in CECAS at Leap, attended by project partners from around Ireland, the UK, France and Luxembourg as well as representatives of local Sustainable Energy Community ‘Net Zero Skibbereen’ and other interested members of the local community.

The innovative domestic energy system, consisting of solar PV panels, storage heaters and a battery, was installed by contractor Eurotech Renewables. Tenants are already seeing a significant drop in their energy bills and are also benefiting from additional savings on their bill as any unused energy generated is sold back to the grid. CHA representatives Ana and Jose Ospina recently

visited the tenants , to ensure they were happy with the new system.

One tenant told them: “We’re delighted with the RED WoLF system, it’s really simple to use and is already saving us money - our latest electricity bill was only €61 for the past 2 months. We are getting most of our hot water for free and we’re looking forward to cheaper heating costs next winter.”

In addition to saving their money, CHA tenants will save around 115 kg of carbon per year, due to the system’s special algorithm, which controls when power is drawn from the PV panels, battery or the grid, depending on the carbon-intensity at any moment of the day or night. CHA is committed to retrofitting all of its properties to the highest possible standards of energy efficiency and has increased the building energy ratings of these 4 houses from an average D2 rating to an average of B2. In addition to the new heating system, CHA has also addressed insulation and draft-proofing issues in the four houses.

Chair of CHA, José Ospina, had this to say about the project: “We are delighted to be part of this innovative, cutting-edge pilot project and we firmly believe that the RED WoLF system is a viable alternative fossil-fuel based heating systems and superior to the heat-pump based retrofit approach that is being widely promoted and employed around the country. In our view, the RED WoLF system provides more benefits for the residents and fewer disadvantages, especially when dealing with older properties with poor insulation, where a full deep retrofit is not feasible.”

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From the 27th to the 28th of September, CHA travelled to Luxembourg for the 4th in-person meeting of the RED WoLF partnership. Now that some of the pilots are up and running, this was the perfect time to come together and share our experiences and learning since we last met up in June. The meeting was organised by project partners eco:novis, who gave us a warm welcome to the modern and comfortable youth hostel which was our venue for the duration of our visit. Alex and Kerstin introduced their organisation and spoke a little about how things work in terms of domestic energy Luxembourg. This was followed by an update from lead partner Giuseppe, of Leeds Beckett University (LBU), UK. After this we heard from Sasha, also from LBU, about the more technical aspects of the project. This was followed by Dave and Ben from Oldham Council, UK, who talked about the progress of the market capitalization plan and shared interesting updates on variable energy tariffs which are becoming available in the UK. The reported back on their recent successful meeting with the Octopus Energy group and the potential for collaboration between them and RED WoLF. After this we had a presentation on some exciting marketing ideas from Kerstin and a presentation from Kevin from eco:novis relating to the RED WoLF algorithm.

After the coffee break, we talked about other potential funding opportunities for the future of the project and Michelle from SOS UK gave us an update on this year's RED WoLF Summer School, happening in October. The partners shared a lunch at the hostel, after which the pilot partners all gave updates on their progress. Stevie from Sligo ATU and Peter from Glas Energy reported on the Cork City and CHA pilots. Ben from Energiepark gave us a preview of the installations we would be visiting the following day. After the second coffee break, there was an explanation and discussion on the deliverables that are due during the next reporting period. The meeting was adjourned around 4.30pm and after a short break, the partners came back together at the Bacchus restaurant for a delicious dinner.

The following day, we met again near the hostel to catch a bus to Energiepark's offices in the nearby town of Beckerich. We had a welcome introduction from Ben and his colleague and then visited two of the pilot sites. It was very interesting to hear about how these developments came about and how the energy provision is managed. The houses are built to a very high level of sustainability and are heated using ground source heat pumps. We got on the bus and went back to Luxembourg in time for lunch. The meeting came to an end and the partners disbanded before heading back to their respective countries. Another successful meeting concluded!

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Tuesday, June 14th 2022 marked the start of the first face-to-face partner meeting of the RED WoLF project since the Covid pandemic. The project has been progressing slowly during this time, with significant delays, so it was great to reunite with the other partners and hear about the exciting progress that has been made recently.

The project partners, including CHA's RED WoLF project manager, Ana Ospina, arrived at 9am on Day 1 at the Science Campus of the University of Lorraine, where they were greeted warmly by the French hosts with coffee and pastries. Introductory words were first spoken by Thierry Divoux, CRAN Associate Director, and Eric Rondeau, of University of Lorraine. The hosts extended a warm welcome to all project partners and were visibly pleased to come together. This was followed by a presentation from project leader Giuseppe Colantuono, of Leeds Becket University. He described the growing momentum of the project and introduced all the newcomers. Giuseppe then passed the floor to the speakers from the pilot sites. Brian Cassidy from Cork City Council reported on the progress of the pilots in Ireland. Ana Ospina from CHA added to the discussion, stating that many tenants are now under pressure from energy poverty and would rather not heat at all than think about installing a smart control system. It became clear that there are still some hurdles to be addressed in the project. The idea of holding information sessions for the residents of the RED WoLF houses was discussed, and specifically the possibility of CHA collaborating with Cork City Council to deliver sessions at the new Home Energy Upgrade Office (HEUGO) on Grand Parade, Cork. The day continued with progress updates from UK pilot partners Oldham Council (OMBC) and First Choice Homes, as well as French pilot partners, EDF. These were followed by an interactive session from Kerstin Köhler, communications manager for the project. After lunch at the University canteen, there was a presentation from Inge Keymeulen, the Interreg NWE representative. After a short presentation of the "Mini-Pilot", the scientific part of the meeting continued with the discussion on "Research results and future initiatives", led by Sylvain Kubler of University of Lorraine. Day 2 consisted of a presentation from Michelle Hemmingfield of SOS regarding the second RED WoLF Summer School and was followed by a stakeholder event at the Nancy Palais de Congres. CHA hopes to get its own pilot up and running in 4 of its houses in the next couple of weeks. Watch this space for more updates coming soon!

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