Climate Change & Carbon Footprint

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive is currently demonstrating the effectiveness of renewable energy solutions in isolated rural communities through the HANDIHEAT Project.

Background

The aim of the €2m EU-funded HANDIHEAT Project, which is in the third year of its implementation, is to contribute to improvements in energy efficiency by demonstrating the effectiveness of renewable energy solutions in isolated rural communities across northern Europe.

What the Housing Executive did

The Housing Executive fulfils dual roles in the context of the Project, acting as the Lead Partner, as well as developing and assessing the benefits of a demonstration pilot involving the installation of renewable technology in a small number of Housing Executive owned homes in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh. The feasibility of innovative heating solutions is being evaluated through two demonstration pilots on sites at Vártsila, in northern Finland and Lisnaskea, in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

From left: Housing Executive Patch Manager Kirsty Dixon, Handiheat Project Lead, Robert Clements, tenant, Mark Kiernan, Project Manager, Catherine Savage and Senior Admin Assistant, Amy Lewis

The second pilot demonstration which is being led by the Housing Executive aims to explore the potential benefits of hybrid electricity generation and storage solutions for six Housing Executive owned properties in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh. This pilot will evaluate a combination of hybrid installations in these properties, including: oil/electric boilers; air source heat pumps; solar photovoltaic panels; and battery storage systems, as well as energy efficient insulation measures. In the strategic context of the Clean Growth Strategy, there is an imperative to find alternative energy sources to counteract the current high level of fossil fuel consumption, particularly in rural settlements that do not have access to alternative sources of low-carbon heating.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • The Fermanagh pilot is also being supported by associate partners PowerOn, which specialises in energy storage solutions (storage batteries), and staff from Ulster University, who will analyse and monitor the effectiveness of the hybrid systems over a 24 month period
  • Data from the pilot will be analysed to assess the suitability of low-carbon and hybrid options as alternatives to oil fired boilers, which are still the predominant fuel source currently being installed in Northern Ireland