Anna Ternheims New album “Night Visitor” due for release on 28th October 2011

If you have not heard of Anna Ternhiem then I am not surprised. For an amazing Swedish singer/song writer her popularity has not translated to the UK and Ireland.

LIT-Tipperary application for Green-Campus Programme accepted by An Taisce

As part of LIT- Tipperary’s ethos of a sustainable campus we recently applied for the Green-Campus programme. An Taisce has accepted our application to register for their Green-Campus programme. The Green-Campus programme will increase the opportunities for our students to engage in active learning and to gain practical experience in environmental management – particularly relevant to our programmes of BSc (Hons) in Environmental and Natural Resource Management and BSc (Hons) in Computing (Smart Sustainable Energy).

LIT Tipperary shows the way at International Energy Conference

My colleague Seamus Hoyne presented at a major gathering of experts at a conference in Niagara Falls, Canada. They attendees heard about a range of sustainable energy projects being developed in Tipperary.  RETScreen International, developers of a software tool for assessing the potential for energy projects, had invited Seamus Hoyne from LIT-Tipperary to present the work of the Institute and that of the Tipperary Energy Agency at their inaugural international conference.

Approximately 240 attendees were present at the event where projects involving wind energy, biomass heating and energy efficiency upgrades were presented by Seamus.  The audience included engineers, architects, consultants, academics and project developers from Canada, USA, EU, Asia and Africa.

Seamus filled me on some of the RETScreen usage stats “We have been working with RETScreen since 2000 and have used the tool extensively for the development of projects.  It has close to 300,000 users across the world and has proven to be an excellent tool for assessing energy projects at the feasibility stage. LIT-Tipperary and the TEA bring a unique perspective in that we include the use of RETScreen in education, training and project development.  I was letting the conference participants know about how we have used the tool and what we plan to use it for in the future.  For example, we will be using RETScreen as part of the Institute’s Degree in Smart Sustainable Energy.  Also, we are developing an on-line training course in RETScreen which we hope to have available later this year.”

Participants were particularly interested in the fact that LIT-Tipperary and the TEA have combined education, training and project development elements in its activities.  A new network of RETScreen trainers has been established and LIT Tipperary will be involved in its development.  LIT Tipperary has started discussions with RETScreen so that students on the Smart Sustainable Energy Degree will be working on new modules as part of their degree programme.  This will give the students great experience of working on real world problems related to the sustainable energy sector.


Triple Glazing upgrades are they worth it?


We recently had our double glazing windows serviced by munster joinery. I was surprised to learn that our 9 year old windows can be upgraded to 24mm triple glazing. This involves replacing the glazing and where necessary the hinges and seals.

I belive there would be an improved thermal comfort experience. But I will have do some.more research before we make a decision. The no.mess and fuss of the.upgrade makes it very attractive.

Free irish newspapers on your kindle

Irish Independent on the Kindle. Mobi file created by Calibre

Irish Independent on the Kindle. Mobi file created by Calibre

I am a big fan of the wifi version of the kindle as I can use Calibre to download Irish & UK news papers and have them converted to a mobi kindle file which then gets emailed to my kindle. All this is achieved via 1 click.

A kindle has an associated email address. To send a document to your kindle you just email it as an attachment. I hope to exploit this feature and use it good effect for keeping up to date with developments in the sustainable energy tech sector which our students in LIT Tipperary will be exploring as part of our degree in smart sustainable energy

LIT Tipperary’s Smart Sustainable Energy students can expect a green and busy year

500 sqm Solar Park

Cloughjordan Eco Village 500 sqm solar array for hot water

As we head back for another academic year in LIT Tipperary/ Tipperary Institute my thoughts are turning to the busy year we have ahead of us. Our Smart Sustainable Energy students in our level 8 and level 7 programmes will have the oppurtunity to experience many aspects of the renewable energy sector in our sustainable orientated campus. These include:

  • Installation of our wood chip heating system for the Thurles campus. Students will have a read only access to the complete system which will be used through out the 4 years of the degree.
  • Field trips with the Smart Green Society to various Renewable sectors/sites
  • Installation of our wind anemometer and Davis Pro weather station. We will use this data in our maths analysis modules to estimate wind speeds and models for wind turbine power estimation. The weather station will also record solar activity and we will use this to estimate solar PV output.
  • Solar PV Trainer, our new solar PV trainer will assist us in exploring how to harness solar energy to generate electricity as well as developing hardware/embedded solutions to integrate with the solar PV kit.
  • Assist in organising Green week, last years green week was a great success and we hope to continue this with a week of talks by people and businesses in the green sector.
  • Green campus initiative, LIT Tipperary is in the process of seeking green campus accreditation. This will require a significant amount of input from both the campus community and management. Members of the smart green society will assist in this process.
  • Explore and learn software development processes and languages that are used in the renewable energy/ green tech sector. The efficient use of green resources requires intelligent software and hardware to harness this resource to good effect from web apps to hardware solutions. Students will explore how software applications and embedded systems can be developed to assist in this area.
  • Monitor and assist in reducing the electrical energy demand of our Thurles and Clonmel campuses. Using real time electrical monitoring equipment we aim to educate the campus community about electrical consumption and reduce it.
  • Monitor and assess data from energy efficient communities so as to assess the performance of various building technologies and renewable heating sources.
So its going to be a busy but enjoyable year. As a campus that practices sustainability as well as teaching/preaching it we believe that our smart sustainable energy students will get experience both the practical and theoretical in this emerging and fast growing sector.

LIT Tipperary takes the lead in Sustainable Energy Technologies

“Ireland has an opportunity to take the lead in the development of Smart Sustainable Technologies which will benefit energy security, sustainable development and the creation of employment” according to Dr Liam Noonan the programme chair of the Computing degree in Smart Sustainable Energy in LIT Tipperary.

LIT Tipperary have recently taken delivery of a number of new sustainable energy technologies so as to provide students with hands on practical experience in monitoring, assessment and design of new solutions to maximise energy efficiency. LIT Tipperary is also a partner in monitoring energy performance generated by the monitoring systems installed in 100 houses as part of the EU SERVE Project, as well as data from Eco village in Cloughjordan which include Ireland’s largest Solar Array, District heating and passive standard buildings.

“This comprehensive degree, which includes hands-on training and access to live data from sustainable communities, will give our students the necessary skills to be successful in the workforce upon graduation,” Dr Noonan explains. “Our goals for this degree are two-fold, to encourage and develop sustainable technologies, and to provide our students with the best, leading edge learning experience possible.”

The Smart Sustainable Energy degree provides a range of advanced modules in computing and sustainable energy technologies thus producing graduates with strong employment prospects within the sustainable energy and software development domain. Graduates will acquire the necessary knowledge to cope with the changing nature of the sustainable energy domain and the computing industry throughout their careers.

“This flagship degree program is the first of its kind in Ireland,” Dr Noonan said. “This degree  builds on our continued leadership in the renewable energy and sustainable development sector. We are the first college to offer a degree in the converging area of Computing and Sustainable Energy and we are delighted to be partnered with the Eco village in Cloughjordan and their community”

With the spiraling costs of fossil fuel based energy such as oil the environmental technologies market is forecast to reach €2.3 trillion by 2020, while in the EU the sector employs 3.4 million people and turns over €227bn annually.

Eco Evolution, a renewable energy business based in Co. Wexford and Switch Source a Photovoltaic company based in Co. Antrim, have designed and supplied LIT Tipperary with a Solar PV Trainer station for use on the Smart Sustainable degree programme.

“Eco Evolution is thrilled to be partnering with LIT Tipperary on this exciting project” said Frank Gethings, managing director. “We firmly believe that degree programmes like this are the way of the future and that LIT Tipperary are leading the charge on behalf of third level institutions across Ireland”

For more information please visit or contact Dr Liam Noonan at 0504 28254 or email

Retro fit Air Tightness project update – lessons learned so far

I have just completed the knee wall/ crawl space area of our dormer house using the vario air tightness system. I find the Vario protape ideal for attaching the membrane to the timber beams and the masonay wall and I am sealing the overlaps using KB1 tapes.

As the project has progressed I am getting more proficient at installing the membrane. Initially I was running the roll horizontal along the rafter/crawl space area and then running a second roll above it to complete the seal. I have found that it is more practical to run the roll vertical up along the rafters and use the protape and the top and the bottom. I would recommend measuring and cutting the pro tape in a big area such as your hall way so you can ensure you use the right amount. What also helps is to attach the protape to the Vario KM  Duplex UV membrane on one side this simplifies the install.

When dealing with masonry walls I run a strip of the protape along the wall and when the Duplex UV is in position remove the other side of the tape and attach. I find the Vario DS sealant impossible to use and its very messy.

The powered respirator is a god send and so is the 60 Watt LED light wand, I would not be able to do the install with out them as you are working in awkward corners with insulation dropping all around you as you position the rockwool flexi in place.

The attic overhead is next and I am hoping/praying that it will be more straightforward ! Time will tell …

Heat your home with irish timber instead of imported oil


With heating oil heading beyond 90 cent a litre. Irish home owners should give serious consideration to heating their homes with solid fuel stoves with back boilers. The fuel can be sourced from Irish timber growers such as ash thinnings and is not subject to the same price fluctuations. The stanley reginald stove pictured above produces 15.8kw maximum boiler output and 4kw maximum output to the room.

In order to utilise boiler stoves effectively home owners should first reduce the heat demand for their home by incorporating insulation, heating controls and if possible address any air leakage issues which can be revealed using a pressure and infra-red assessment of the home. We are in the process of addressing air leakage through the implementation of an air tightness system which should reduce the heat demand by addressing the heat loss issues due to unnecessary air movement in our dormer home.

As the cost of oil increases the payback time for implementing these solutions is rapidly decreasing. There is over 1000 acres in our parish under forestry so switching to solid fuel seems like the right decision for our home. I believe that in the next 5 years many Irish home owners will make the same decision,

Eircom should invest in rural exchanges before they invest in fibre roll out

I welcome Eircom’s announcement that they are going to invest in fibre with a 100 million euro rollout. But I wish they would spend the money on enabling all exchanges in Ireland for broadband. We live in Upperchurch in the Tipperary Hills and it looks like we will never see the exchange at Rossoulty being enabled for broadband.

This means using slower connection speed technology such as wifi (if you live in the right area) or satellite. The 3G broadband products do not offer sufficient bandwidth. So while the towns and cities in Ireland prosper, rural communities will continue to suffer.