Consumer Parliament 2020 – Assembly Buildings Conference Centre, Belfast.
On 6th March 2020 NIHE staff members Gemma Cowles of the Sustainable Development Unit and Amy Lewis of the HANDIHEAT Project attended the fourth annual Consumer Parliament event in Belfast. This year’s theme was ‘The Cost of Living in Northern Ireland’, as research shows thatdiscretionary income here is thelowest in the UK, and £100 a week less than the UK average.
Consumers were able to hear from a panel of experts and interact with a range of exhibiting companies and discuss issues affecting them, including household bills, reducing or switching energy tariffs and keeping on top of their spending. This was a fantastic opportunity for consumers to engage with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Gemma and Amy were able to offer Energy advice to homeowners, landlords and consumers using an Energy Price Comparison Tool as well as responding to queries and providing information on available NIHE schemes, such as the Affordable Warmth Scheme and Boiler Replacement Scheme. This was also a great opportunity to promote and inform the public about the HANDIHEAT Project and it’s aims to reduce fuel poverty by identifying renewable energy solutions for rural communities.
NIREV Event – Ulster University, Northern Ireland
In early March 2020 HANDIHEAT Project Lead Robert Clements presented at the NIREV (Northern Ireland – Reforming the Energy Vision) workshop at Ulster University. The aim of NIREV is to focus on empowering consumers and creating the markets and regulatory frameworks needed to deliver the transition to a clean, smart energy system.
In his presentation, Robert highlighted the current progress of the HANDIHEAT project and it’s second demonstration pilot, using energy efficiency retrofit methods and low carbon heating solutions for six dwellings in rural Co. Fermanagh. Robert further explained how Ulster University and NIHE wish to carry out a joint research project to assess how electrical heating, energy storage and smart control technologies could create new business and ownership models for flexible heat demand in social housing. Ulster University’s SPIRE 2 Project (Storage Platform for the Integration of Renewable Energy) will design and coordinate a field trial of a range of domestic technologies provided by project partners Climote, Grant Boilers and Sunamp. Six houses will be fitted with standalone or hybrid Air Source Heat Pump heating, along with thermal storage and smart controls. NIHE will be responsible for identifying suitable houses and securing tenant agreement to participate in the trial.
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