Irish Water recognised for reducing carbon emissions at Energy Achievement Awards

Irish Water has been recognised for its commitment to energy efficiency, climate action and sustainability with two awards at the inaugural Business Energy Achievement Awards: Best Energy Achievement in Utilities and Best Energy Achievement in the Public Sector.

The awards recognise Irish Water’s commitment to becoming more energy efficient, embedding sustainability with the ultimate aim of achieving net zero carbon by 2040.

The utility’s sustainable energy strategy has already delivered impressive results, achieving almost 13 Gigawatt hours of energy savings in 2020 – enough to power over 3,000 homes for an entire  year – with the utility achieving  a 34% improvement in energy efficiency performance to date.

This has been achieved by taking a proactive, business-wide approach to becoming more energy efficient. In 2020, Irish Water’s strategy and energy management programme included 36 Energy Action Plans and 255 discrete energy projects. These covered a wide spectrum of activities, including energy efficient design, innovation, energy retrofits, renewable energy, lighting and heating, energy audits and planning, and staff training.

Charlie Coakley, Irish Water’s Sustainability Lead said the utility was delighted to be recognised for its commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.

“Energy efficiency improvement is a key measure of our climate change policy as we work to safeguard water supplies and protect the environment. Since 2016, when we developed a sustainable energy strategy, we have made significant progress on the journey to become an energy efficient, low carbon, sustainable water utility, achieving over 34% improvement in energy efficiency performance.

“Our strategy enables a structured approach with commitment from Senior Management, right down through the business in order to develop, improve, maintain and sustain a culture of energy efficiency, including supporting biodiversity and implementing a circular economy approach. The consequences of climate change for our planet are far reaching, with significant impacts on water resources and infrastructure.

“As one of the largest public sector users of energy, Irish Water is rising to the challenge of climate breakdown and the biodiversity crisis, aiming for net zero carbon by 2040. We are leading by example, applying the expertise of our people to improve the sustainability of water services and wider society, and contributing to national targets for the benefit of our planet and our future.”

Among the projects delivered were the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels at a number of water and wastewater treatment plants in Tipperary and Limerick. In three plants alone – Nenagh, Thurles and Newcastle West – these projects have resulted in savings of over 66 tonnes of carbon per annum. Other innovative solutions include the development of low-carbon, nature based solutions for wastewater treatment such integrated constructed wetlands and sludge drying reed beds.

Irish Water is responsible for the delivery of all public water and wastewater services in Ireland. We are committed to continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support the growth needed in housing and across our economy, while protecting the environment and safeguarding water supplies.