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CAN SME Offered Discounted Energy Audits for Irish SMEs

Can Cap Transparent

Applications are now closed for CAN SME Audits

South East Energy through the CAN SME project, offered a discounted energy audit with a voucher of up to €1000 through the CAN SME programme.

The Climate Active Neighbourhoods project (CAN) focuses on underprivileged neighbourhoods that require renovation in municipalities and regions of varying sizes throughout northwest Europe.

To build relevant capacity in these participating local authorities, neighbourhood approaches and synergies based on new governance models will be introduced. CAN SME will build on the efforts of CAN to begin working with SMEs.

One such SME that has benefitted from CAN SME is Grantstown Nurseries. They provide tomatoes to the southeast region of Ireland. Through CAN SME, Grantstown Nurseries  have gained a better understanding of their energy usage and have begun the process of installing a biomass heater. You can watch their interview across:

CAN SME is the new name for CAN Cap.

CAN SME Logo Small

What was Climate Active Neighbourhoods?

The initial CAN (Climate Active Neighbourhoods)-project supported Local public Authorities to implement their low carbon plans more effectively in urban residential areas using a neighbourhood approach. New organisational governance modes for sharing public responsibility with bottom-up action and financial instruments stimulated the process. 1,339 households benefitted from CAN investments reducing CO2 emissions by 2669t annually. In these pilot investments, the mix of measures (e.g., heating system upgrade, loft insulation) and their combination with the ways of cooperation were tested and improved.

How Does CAN SME Build on This?

CAN SME looks to extend the efforts of CAN by working the Small and Micro businesses across northwest Europe. The newest iteration of this project will transfer the successful CAN approach to foster energy retrofitting of SMEs (buildings and, if applicable, processes). SMEs are an important sector addressed in all municipal low carbon plans but are particularly hard to reach. CAN SME aims to especially support SMEs and young entrepreneurs who are in a challenging or problematic situation (also due to the Covid-19 crisis), where energy retrofitting and GHG emission reduction is not on the top of the agenda. This project aims to continue the reduction in territorial disparities and/or in less developed zones of the urban area/zones that are lagging.
CAN SME will also develop the CAN approach further by integrating digital consultation procedures in the consultation process to reach more target persons/SMEs with less effort allowing them to achieve more value for money.

How did CAN SME help Irish SMEs in the region?

  • Enable SMEs to implement energy retrofitting activities at their premises and reduce their GHG emissions
  • Enable Local authorities to support the SMEs on their territory more effectively (e.g., with the CAN multiplicator approach)
  • Target new stakeholders (e.g., multiplicators such as chambers of commerce) and enable them to disseminate and implement the approach in the long term
  • Maximise the impact of the initial CAN-project through widening the cooperation between municipal energy or climate protection services with economic development departments and multiplicators in the economic sector.
  • Support Local authorities to implement their low carbon plans in residential and economic areas effectively.

How Can Local Authorities Learn from CAN SME?

The activities of Climate Active Neighbourhoods was not limited to Southeast Ireland and energy audits. Groups across Northwest Europe engaged with neighbourhoods and small businesses in a variety of ways including Energy Caravans and Digital One-Stop-Shops.

Below, you can download the Climate Active Neighbourhood’s Practice Cube. This book outlines all the activities of the partners across both the original CAN project, and the CAN SME extension. This is a great tool for learning how different organisations engaged with their citizens to bring climate action and GHG emission reductions.

You can also see below our webinar which we hosted describing our audit process and above is a testimonial video from Grantstown Nurseries, an SME that has received one of our energy audits. These resources may still be of use.

Finally, if you are an SME and are still interested in receiving an energy audit, there are other funding streams available. Please contact us through our Contact Form to learn more.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about CAN SME in Ireland you can contact us at

Watch Our CAN SME Second Call Webinar

On August 22nd we hosted a webinar for SMEs interested in applying for our discounted energy audits through the CAN SME project.

You can watch the recording of the webinar here:

And, if you would like to download the slides you can do so by clicking below.

CAN SME Second Call Webinar Slides

The CAN SME Project Draws to a Close

South East Energy Agency joined the CAN SME partners in Liege for the Final Conference. This conference brought the project partners and stakeholders together to discuss some of the activities, learnings, and results of the project. Two Table Talks were hosted during this conference. The first discussed “How can public authorities support SMEs in their just and sustainable transition?” which emphasized the need of a holistic approach in the activities of local authorities.  The second table talk looked at how to “Choose the right incentives for carbon mitigation” and addressed the development of strategies to support small businesses in Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The day after the conference, CAN SME partners held their final project meeting to discuss how the effects of CAN SME will continue in their region and the plan to further develop the project beyond its lifetime. On this day we were also lucky enough to get to visit the shopping centre, “Médiacité”, which has invested a lot in its sustainable development to reduce the centre’s eco-footprint. Green roofing, waste sorting, rainwater collection and solar energy production are some of the actions the centre has implemented to became a key player in sustainable development. Most recently, they have installed beehives on the roofs.

CAN SME Final Conference

Copyright: Ville de Liège

Read the Report on the CAN SME Final Conference

CAN SME final conference in Liège
CAN SME Final Project Partner Meeting

Copyright: Ville de Liège

Examples of projects – Nursing Homes

In 2017 and 2018 we linked up with SOS Kilkenny which provides service for adults with intellectual disabilities to save over €3,300 off its heating and lighting bills through a series of energy upgrades.

We also worked with The Irish Wheelchair Association to make its 1980s headquarters more energy efficient. It consumed lots of electricity, oil and gas. South East Energy Agency oversaw works which included improving attic and wall insulation. The improvement works cost €5,000, €2,500 of which was grant aided. The Irish Wheelchair Association is now saving €4360 per annum on its energy bills.

At Mount Carmel Nursing Home, a high efficiency condensing oil boiler was added and LED lighting installed. Solar panels were also added. In all, €23,000 worth of grant aid was provided for the €46,000 works. Mount Carmel is now saving close to €5,000 in energy bills each year.

At Kerlogue Nursing Home, a high efficiency gas boiler was added and the whole heating system upgraded. Kerlogue Nursing home is currently saving €500 annually on their heating bills. 30% of the total cost of the project was grant aided.

Examples of projects – Food Producers & Manufactures

In 2019, South East Energy Agency worked with many food producers such as Kehoe’s Farm based in Lacken New Ross, Co. Wexford. Kehoe’s Farms grow, process, and package potatoes as well as packaging and selling animal feed (through Kehoe’s Ketripack). South East Energy Agency installed solar PV panels for Kehoe’s potato packing to assist the power burden from the necessary cold storage. South East Energy Agency also installed solar PV panels to assist with the power needed in the packaging of the animal feed. A simple lighting upgrade was also complete on the animal feed facility to reduce energy costs. In total, these improvements saved €4,813.95 in Kehoe’s Farm and €11,340.15 in Kehoe’s Ketripack (animal feed).

It’s not just farms however, again in 2019 South East Energy Agency began energy improvement works with Stafford’s Bakeries in Gorey in Co. Wexford. Stafford’s Bakery has been in operation in Gorey, since the 1950’s and now provide their breads and cakes nationwide from their state-of-the-art Bakery at the IDA Industrial Estate in Clonattin, Gorey, Co Wexford. Stafford’s were spending upwards of €58,171 a month on electricity alone as they needed to have the bakery running through the night to ensure supply of fresh bread each morning. To help reduce their energy costs, South East Energy Agency installed solar PV panels and completed an insulation upgrade on their premise. This is expected to save Stafford’s Bakery €130,894.94 a year with a simple payback time of under 4 years for the project.

Examples of projects – Convenience Stores and Supermarkets

South East Energy Agency has in the past worked with stores and small supermarkets to help them reduce their carbon footprint and energy expenses. In 2019, Quinn’s Food Store approached South East Energy hoping to do exactly this. The agency investigated the premise and found that the refrigeration units were using a lot of power. Post audit, the team at South East Energy Agency recommended the installation of a reduced size fridge, from 5m to 2.5m, with multideck and doors. This lead to an estimated savings of €1,552.78 for Quinn’s Food Store

Kilmartin Service Station is a 24hr Service Station on the Dublin Road in Athlone. This service station boasts a convenience store with a hot food deli counter as well as all other services including fuel, air, and water. Given these services available, and the 24hr opening times, Kilmartin Service Station had huge energy demands with the shop paying about €63,331 for energy in 2017. To reduce this usage and having audited the premise, South East Energy Agency staff recommended an upgrade the refrigeration units to ones with higher energy efficiency. This simple change lead to an estimated savings of €9,077.35 a year.

Examples of projects – Community Halls

South East Energy Agency has worked with community halls in the past, helping them improve their energy use and make some well-needed improvements. One such example is Marshaltown Community Centre a community centre located in Marshalstown, Wexford. South East Energy completed an insulation upgrade as well as a door and window upgrade to prevent heat loss in the community centre and make it easier to heat in winter months. Another community centre the agency has worked with is Cloneen Community Hall. The hall had a very high electricity and gas demand for heating so, South East Energy Agency increased their wall and attic insulation and replaced all single-glazed windows with double-glazed windows.

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