Dundalk Students Explore Business Opportunities For Green Future House

February 2013

Northern Ireland's first accredited zero carbon house was a real hit this week with final year students from the Dundalk Institute of Technology. Fifteen students, all studying different disciplines from marketing to technology, visited the Green Future house in Middletown, outside Armagh, as part of their course, Doing Business in Emerging Markets.

Green Future NI, the company responsible for building the 3,000 sq ft house, welcomed the students along with Fiona Oster, from Smart Eco Hub, a cluster of companies innovating in the energy sector.

The Green Future house, which was officially opened in March 2012 by the Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, showcases a pioneering blueprint build which demonstrates how affordable and accessible it is to build an energy saving zero carbon house.

A representative from Green Future NI said: "It was brilliant having so many students here who all had different ideas to share once they had a look round the zero carbon house. 

"The Green Future House addresses critical questions around affordable, energy efficient homes for social housing associations, the government, developers and homeowners. The students were here, as part of their research for their course, to examine the business opportunities which come alongside having a house such as this one.

"I look forward to seeing the analysis they do and I hope we will be able to put their research into practice."

Fiona Oster, Smart Eco Hub manager accompanied the students. She is an expert in the development and design of European low carbon technology/ cleantech networks and clusters.

Fiona said: "The visit to Northern Ireland's first accredited zero carbon house was fantastic. It was brilliant to see their students and their reaction to the whole concept. They were all so enthusiastic and will now analyse lots of different business opportunities.

"Their research will be very practical and we will then deliver that research back to Green Future NI which will present the company with potential sound business opportunities. There was so much information available to the students, lots of questions were asked and everybody left feeling enthused about the future of house building."

Northern Ireland's first accredited zero carbon house is a bungalow in a rural location. It has triple glazed PVC windows, a 4kw inline heater battery, an external wood pallet boiler which has 97 per cent efficiency, solar water heating, an alternative energy supply in the form of solar PV installation, its own waste water treatment plant and LED lighting.

The Green Future house qualified for five years free council rates under the Low Carbon Homes Scheme.