A Clare hotel was delighted to receive an award recently in the SEAI Energy Awards.
The Falls Hotel & Spa in Ennistymon were awarded the trophy in the most ‘Innovative Deployment of Renewable Energy’ category for their hydroelectric turbine project that provides clean, renewable hydro energy to the hotel. They were shortlisted with Lidl Ireland in this category and are honoured to be the eventual winners.
The SEAI Energy Awards were set up 18 years ago to showcase excellence in sustainable energy. They continue to highlight energy innovation across Ireland today. The SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards recognise and reward excellence in all aspects of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The awards are assessed by a distinguished, independent panel of expert judges. According to the SEAI, winning entries go well beyond the norms of sustainable energy best practice. They demonstrate high levels of innovation and strong potential for replication. They also have achieved significant energy demand reduction or clean energy deployment.
Being based in the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, the hotel owners, the McCarthy family, were conscious of trying to reduce their environmental impact on the area around them. Looking to the river to do this was a natural gravitation.
One of the most significant measures taken by the hotel was the installation of a €1.3m hydroelectric turbine on the nearby River Inagh which generates enough electricity to power the hotel. After one year, the hotel had reduced carbon emissions by 70%, resulting in their energy bills being reduced by approximately 60%. Other projects included switching to renewable electricity and Bio LPG gas, using water from the hotel’s own well and planting 300 native Irish trees on the hotel grounds. Within five years, the hotel reduced it’s carbon emissions completely, being declared a carbon neutral operation in early 2021. They are the only hotel in the country to produce their own electricity in this manner.
Michael McCarthy, General Manager, Falls Hotel, said “We are delighted to receive this recognition, especially given the huge investment we have made with our hydroelectric turbine”.
“We are extremely proud of this award. With 145 bedrooms, a leisure centre and a spa complex, we went from having a large carbon footprint to being carbon neutral in five years. We love knowing that we are powering the hotel with a clean, sustainable energy source. “
A green team was also set up to encourage staff to become fully involved in all of the hotel’s sustainability initiatives. These included using chemical free cleaning products, compostable cups and straws, replacing every single bulb in the hotel with LEDs and cutting back on food waste.
In the SEAI Energy Awards last week, Duncan Stewart received the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Energy’ awards. Duncan Stewart has been a champion for environmental and architectural conservation since his student days. More recently his involvement as producer and presenter on ‘Eco Eye’, is driven by his interests in the protection of our environment, Ireland’s biodiversity, supporting local communities and the communication of climate issues. Other winners include; An Post, Pfizer Grange Castle, Kore Insulation, University College Cork / Tyndall National Institute and Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council.
Photo attached shows Michael McCarthy, General Manager and members of the hotel’s Green Team with the trophy from the SEAI.