John Grogan, Kirby Group Engineering Director, contributes to the US-Ireland Business Report 2022 with his thoughts on sustainability and working to be a ‘Good Grid Citizen’.
Thirty years ago, focusing on sustainable or energy efficient methods of working had a poor image in mainstream culture. Making the effort to be ‘green’ was often depicted as an obstacle to progress. Fast forward to this decade and sustainable options are everywhere you turn, from family vehicles to takeaway options.
The reality is, forward-thinking engineering leaders have been working towards a sustainable future for decades. However, the growing number of industries prioritising the issue means this is an incredibly exciting time to work in engineering. Related methodologies are advancing rapidly, creating opportunities for our teams at all levels to hone their skills and offer leading-edge solutions to clients.
Our portfolio of projects illustrates Kirby’s longstanding commitment and experience in maximising the benefits of sustainable resources in Ireland and across Europe.
Having first embarked on wind farm projects in Ireland in 2003, we’ve now connected 20% of the country’s sites to the national grid. Our transmission and distribution business unit, led by our Associate Director John Davitt, has strong teams dedicated to delivering renewable projects, developing battery initiatives with utility providers and large energy consumers to help them manage their requirements efficiently. We’re working with companies who have on-site generators which can be upgraded and called into service to augment national grid capabilities as necessary.
Working on Data Centre projects has given us a particularly deep insight into the changing dynamics of the industry in Ireland and across Europe. By listening to our clients and drawing on our own experience, we’ve developed an acute understanding of the importance of managing the resources required to establish and run these projects, while meeting the rapid growth in demand for their services.
As we work to reduce the impact on energy resources and the environment, we’ve reduced Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) on our DC projects from 1.5 to below 1.2 and are constantly working to lower that figure further.
Kirby Group Engineering is committed to our five core values – People, Safety, Delivery, Quality and Value. Sustainability is a thread running through each of these and will remain a priority for the future of our firm and the work we do for our clients.
Kirby’s drive to support sustainable goals isn’t solely fuelled by client demands. Our Group MD Mark Flanagan likes to use a phrase which illustrates our goal – the importance of being ‘A Good Grid Citizen’. This is a responsibility which falls on all our shoulders, and on the agendas of businesses in this country.
For our part, Kirby Group Engineering is reducing its intensity of energy consumption, continuing to increase the use of energy from renewable sources through training and education of all our staff, and introducing more efficient and less carbon intensive resources at existing facilities. Our Environmental Management System, overseen by Barry O’Brien, Associate Director – EHS, continuously monitors Direct and Indirect Emissions relating to all areas of our activities.
At an official level, Ireland has set out a wide range of incentives to support people and businesses striving for a sustainable future. Kirby engages with several of these on an ongoing basis – for example some of our projects have benefitted from grants provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
We are on a long term journey to carve out our sustainable future, for individuals, business and government. Kirby is proud to play its part in shaping that landscape, in conjunction with our team and valued clients.
Download the complete US-Ireland Business 2022 Report from the American Chamber of Commerce here.