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Sun Shines on Delamont House!

Tuesday 15 Apr 08

The sun will be shining on Delamont House in Killyleagh this summer as the Outdoor Education Centre celebrates the completion of its latest energy project.

The Centre has installed solar photovoltaic panels (PV) on the south facing roof at the property as part of 'Switched on Schools', a new programme promoting renewable energy  at rural schools throughout Northern Ireland. The 5kWp system, which was funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) through the Northern Ireland Programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity (PBSP), Northern Ireland Electricity's Smart Programme and the Belfast Education and Library Board, will produce around 4000 units of electricity each year, a saving of up to £400 on the Centre's energy bills.

Delta Hamilton, NIE Energy, says there is great potential for solar power in Northern Ireland and is delighted Delamont House has switched onto solar. While visiting the Outdoor Education Centre this week to see the new solar technology, Delta said, "Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies have the potential to substantially reduce the amounts of carbon dioxide (C02) emitted, helping to prevent climate change.

"This 5kWp system will substantially reduce the carbon dioxide emitted into the local environment by around 2.5 tonnes. In recent years schools and outdoor education centres have become enthusiastic adopters of renewable energy, demonstrating a range of sustainable energy solutions such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. We look forward to continuing our work with the Education Boards to promote renewable energy alternatives in schools throughout Northern Ireland."

Vince McKevitt, head of DARD's BSP programme said, "This is a truly innovative project which places renewable energy at the heart of rural schools. It is important for children to be aware of the need to save electricity and the damaging effect energy consumption has on the environment. Having renewable energy in schools is a brillant way to show young people what can be done to help the environment. School children will see the actual workings of renewable energy whilst learning about bigger issues such as climate change. Everyone has a role to play in saving energy and even little changes made by children can make a big difference to global issues. Educating children to be aware of environmental issues will not only benefit the rural community, but also the world around them."

The Centre has also installed an environmentally friendly street light, a 'Green Column'. The Green Column uses wind and solar power to energise the street light. There is no waste as the light is automatically switched off and on by in-built sensors  and energy generated is maximised by the use of a low energy, compact fluorescent tube.

Willie Sinclair, Energy and Environmental Office for the Belfast Education and Library Board says the Board is committed to reducing CO2 emissions and has been introducing renewable energy technologies where possible in properties throughout the area. "We are delighted to be part of Switched on Schools. The Board is doing something positive for the environment by substituting the burning of fossil fuels with solar power to provide electricity and Delamont House benefits environmentally through a reduction in CO2 emissions and savings on annual energy costs. The Centre is in use all year round and will be able to take optimum advantage of the solar technology."

To find out more about saving energy and renewable energy solutions for your home, school or business check out the NIE Energy website www.nie-youreenrgy.co.uk , the EST website www.est.org.uk , or call the Energy Saving Trust on freephone 0800 512 012.