Camphill Communities of Ireland is part of the international community working with over 500 people with intellectual disabilities and other kinds of special needs.

In the Republic of Ireland, 18 communities of varying sizes and settings, Duffcarrig, near Gorey on the coast of north Country Wexford, was the first Camphill Community in the Republic of Ireland and was founded in 1972.

The campus also contains 3 support and community facility buildings of meeting hall, laundry and workshops, as well as a farmyard and vegetable garden area. The Duffcarrig Camphill Community is currently home to 72 people and 5 non resident day attendees.

Project Background

Reducing annual energy costs while at the same time improving energy performance was central to the overall design of the project. Operation costs were also to be reduced by replacing 15 individual oil boilers with one new biomass boiler with integrated oil boilers for backup and to meet peak loads. The new energy centre will provide all the thermal heat for the site and in addition the centre incorporates solar PV technology for some electricity generation.

Project Development

CHP was the feasible and practical choice for this site given the continuous base load of electrical requirements (e.g. car park lighting, pump loads etc.) and the large amount of heat required by the 78 units. The base electrical load was calculated for the complex and designed with this in mind, given that there is no payment for export to the grid at present. The heat requirement could then be addressed with the use of a 7,500 litre buffer tank which allows for the continuous running of the CHP units whilst continuing displacing electrical imports from the grid.

There were initial commissioning problems with the CHP and the BEMS and controls had to be fine tuned to achieve optimal performance and efficiency.

Project Description

Two equally sized CHP units both with 12.5kWth and 5.5kWe to supply heat, electricity and hot water to 78 apartments as part of a district heating scheme were installed.

The CHP units are connected to the LPHW return and acre configured to act as the lead heat source for the as the lead heat source for the apartments.

CHP, often referred to as cogeneration, is the combined production of heat and power in a single process. It takes advantage of the heat rejected in the thermo-dynamic conversion process from primary fuel to power. This heat is then supplied for useful purposes.

CHP typically saves upwards of 25% of the energy that would have been required to produce electricity in a conventional power station and heat in separate heat-only boilers.

Micro-CHP is defined as CHP with an electrical capacity of less than 50 kW. Whereas CHP has traditionally been installed in larger sites, this scale of CHP is suitable for smaller businesses.

The benefits of CHP when compared to importing electricity and using boilers to generate heat include:

  • improved efficiency of overall primary energy use
  • energy and CO2 emissions savings
  • independence and security of power supply

Technology used

  • Biomass –Wood Chip – Boiler 200kW, Wood Chip store 60m3, Thermal store 15m3
  • District heating pipework-2.5km complete with heat exchangers & Zone controllers
  • Building fabric insulation upgrade plus Solar- PV -12 KWp


Energy cost savings €65k/yr; Energy reduction of 410,000 kWh(TPER), CO2 savings of 428 tonnes per annum (Estimated)