This year, the DaysE (Donate As You Save Energy) model was awarded the prestigious Innovation Award by SEAI. Here, Colm Byrne explains the importance of using this recognition to bring the DaysE ‘win-win-win’ message to a global audience.
“The DaysE concept evolved from a desire to create a method of channelling the energy that people or companies are wasting’’ says Byrne. “Saving energy is not very exciting to most people but this model is about capturing the ‘value’ of energy waste, and using it to bring energy to people that need it most. The funds raised are used to finance energy upgrades for non-profit organisations or to help to bring energy to the 1.5 billion people without access to energy.” The donor saves energy & money, reduces carbon emissions and raises funds for beneficiaries in the process…. ‘Win-win win’
DaysE forms the links in the chain between, ‘Donors’ (Domestic, commercial, corporate or public sector), ‘Beneficiaries’ (local non-profit’s or Developing-World Energy projects) and ‘Industry Partners’ (Utility sponsors, and suppliers of energy equipment or services).
For potential donors there are a variety of ways to become part of the ‘DaysE Chain’ one of which is based around the concept of ‘energy credits’, the quantified energy savings made by implementing energy efficiency measures. These ‘credits’ have a value to the large energy companies such as SSE-Airtricity, who have been set targets as part of an EU energy directive. DaysE provides a means of donating energy credits as a ‘no-cost’ method of supporting ‘energy for impact’ projects.
The expanding network of DaysE industry partners can advise individuals or companies about the feasibility of potential energy upgrade measures. DaysE monitor and verify the savings & utility sponsors will make a payment for every unit of energy saved to go towards an ‘energy impact project’ on their behalf. Donors can choose from a range of projects or nominate a beneficiary for DaysE to engage with.
“A market value started to emerge for the credits,” says Byrne, “ For example, we worked on some hotel projects, who did energy upgrades. They saved over 2 million units of energy and agreed to donate those energy credits, Airtricity gave us funding for those credits which we then used to do energy upgrades, such as insulation, solar panels and wood boilers in Camphill Communities, an organisation which look after people with special needs. Companies who sold products or services then also made donations.
“Although our work in Ireland can have significant social impact, my passion from the beginning has been to bring energy to the developing world. When we waste a unit of energy here, it has very little impact on our daily lives but for remote communities with no access to energy the impact can be life changing for example our Tanzania fund to bring energy to remote school’s using technology from another SEAI award winner ‘HYbrid Energy Solutions Ltd’.
“It’s all about behavioural change too. We provide a great reason to save energy. We’re working now with a couple of large energy users to change employee behaviour. For every unit of energy that the employees save, the companies donate half of the value to a project which the staff choose. It ticks all the boxes from a ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ perspective’’
“For me, the Awards gives all the team the recognition for the hard work & achievements to date and the ‘vote of confidence’ to now build this into a global platform. SEAI’s support has been crucial in our development. I was completely blown away last night. To be shortlisted was great but to win the overall award was amazing, already more companies want to engage.”