Introduction to Handiheat

Handiheat is funded by Priority Axis 3 of the Northern Periphery and Artic Programme. HANDIHEAT will focus on energy performance in rural housing and public infrastructure challenges in peripheral and arctic regions.

The overall objective of Handiheat is to develop a set of resources; implementation toolkits, decision making guides and a roadmap for the rural community housing sector. Pilots will provide visible proof and an enduring guide to what can be achieved.

The project focuses on energy networks for rural communities such as housing, both social and private, which are subject to fuel inequity/poverty and reliant on imported fossil fuels for energy. Sustainable solutions will protect rural communities from energy price fluctuations and improve the social wellbeing and quality of living throughout NPA regions.

Project Partners

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Robert Clements is the Sustainable Development Unit Manager for the Housing Executive, working within Regional Services. His unit is the custodian for the Home Energy Conservation Authority statutory function and the Housing Executive’s environmental management system. Robert has worked in social housing for over 20 years, and has extensive experience in residential maintenance and refurbishment with his previous experience in the Private Grants Dept. and within the housing association sector.

He has worked in residential energy efficiency for over 5 years. Recently he wrote the ‘Energy Efficiency Good Practice Guide for Refurbishment of Residential Sector’ and is a certified Passive House Consultant. 

Robert graduated from Ulster University in 1993 with a BSc (Hons) in Building Engineering and Management and is a chartered member of the Charted Institute of Building.

ARC Healthy Living Centre

Jenny qualified as a Registered General Nurse and completed a Master of Science Degree in Executive Leadership with distinction through the University of Ulster. Jenny Irvine is currently Chief Executive Officer of “the ARC” Northern Irelands first Healthy Living Centre.

Jenny is a community voluntary sector representative and vice chairperson of the Western Local Commissioning Group. Jenny has been recognised for her contribution to the UK, as a Pioneer of the Nation, at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace.

ARC: the ARC” Northern Irelands first Healthy Living Centre. The award winning ARC Centre is a registered charity managed by a voluntary Board of Directors. ARC delivers a broad range of initiatives that actively address health inequality encouraging a very strong element of user participation in the planning, development and delivery of service. In 2018 ARC was awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest level of civic recognition that can be given to volunteer groups across the UK.

ARC’s  role in the project is to identify policy gaps, for example lack of support for rural areas or innovative energy models. A full review of policy and the resulting report will set a clear direction to address the need for policy change and new policy initiatives as enablers to address fuel inequity in each region.


Natural Resources Institute Finland

Saija Rasi is specialist in bioprocessing technology, energy production technology and biorefinery concepts. She has a wide experience on coordination international and national projects. Rasi is a Finnish representative in IEA Bioenergy Task 37: Energy from biogas

Robert Prinz has over 10 years working experience in bioenergy sector. He has been working as a researcher and project manager in several large EU-funded projects mainly dealing with forest technology, forest energy and holistic supply chain design.

Erika Winquist has a strong knowledge on biomass processing in various biorefinery concepts including AD. In a recent project SUSTAg, she has developed economically feasible biogas production concepts for farm-scale using liquid cow manure and grass silage as raw materials.

Elina Virkkunen has about 10 years working experience in biogas production and research. She has been working as a project manager in several regional projects concerning farm-scale biogas plants and agroecological concepts.

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is a public research organisation. Researchers and specialists working in Luke provide new solutions towards the sustainable development of the Finnish bioeconomy and the promotion of new biobased businesses.

Claremorris Irish Centre Housing

Alma Gallagher is employed by Clár ICH as Manager since 2006. Alma has a specific interest in the areas of social enterprise, rural development and fuel poverty. Alma has representation on the National Advisory Committee for Age Action’s Care and Repair Programme and The National Warmer Homes Forum. Alma has a Masters in Partnership Studies from The University of Limerick, Diploma in Community Development from NUI Galway, Certificate in Training and Education from NUI Maynooth as well as a Certificate in Domestic Energy Advice.
Clár ICH is an Approved Voluntary Housing Association established in 2000 to develop social housing projects to benefit older people and people with disabilities. Clar ICH is funded by the Community Services Programme and manages social housing stock, delivers energy retrofitting programmes and social initiatives.
Clar ICH is responsible for the communication work package of Handiheat. Duties include project promotion through social media, seminars and conferences, web site construction as well as the formulation of a communication strategy to disseminate project outputs.


PURE Energy Centre

The Pure Energy Centre designs and installs wind and solar systems at global level, provide battery, hydrogen and nitrogen energy storage solutions and supply green fuel fleets. The PEC were involved in designing and installing the hydrogen project in the Western Isles – the H2SEED. It is the world’s fist hydrogen infrastructure project to harness H2 produced from biogas derived from municipal waste. 
PURE Energy Centre is responsible for work package 3. The object of this work package is to determine what ESCO model provides best options for rural areas across NPA regions and a road map for local communities to be better informed on available energy models with knowledge training. This work package comprises the learning from across all other work packages to ensure a systematic approach can be adopted by rural communities across the NPA region and that the outputs can be enjoyed beyond the initial funded period of HANDIHEAT.  

Karelia University of Applied Sciences Ltd

Ville Kuittinen has been working on biogas production and business for past 20 years. In the last few years he has been concentrating mostly on international bioenergy project management and co-ordination.
Markus Hirvonen has been working with different renewable heating and CHP -solutions for the past 10 years. Lately he has been studying HVAC-engineering to gain deeper understanding of the interdependence of heating energy systems and detailed HVAC design. World is filled with semi-optimized HVAC-processes that are wasting precious renewable energy.
Karelia University of Applied Sciences (Karelia UAS) expertise in renewable energy solutions support the establishment of new RE schemes across the NPA area. Karelia UAS has been one of the main actors in its area in structural funds projects since 1995. 
Karelia UAS has developed AD solutions and business model. In this project, the expertise of renewable energy (AD and energy and environmental technology) and business is integrated to promote the utilisation of local raw materials to renewable energy.



Austerland's energy Transition

Jón Steinar is a project manager at Austurbru’s office in Egilsstadir, Iceland. He leads projects focused on energy transition and job development. Jón Steinar studied physics and chemistry at the University of Iceland and at the Technical University of Denmark. 

Alda Marín Kristinsdóttir is project manager at Austubrú’s office in Borgarfjörður eystri, East Iceland. She manages the Fragile Communities project in Borgarfjörður eystri. Alda Marín studied comparative literature at the University of Iceland and will be finishing a degree in Tourism studies from Holar University, Iceland in 2020.
Austurbru advocates in the interest of inhabitants, communities, institutions and companies in East-Iceland. It provides a coordinated and interdisciplinary service related to economy, education and culture. The institution represents the development of the economy, society, administration, college and continuous education, research, knowledge and culture in East-Iceland.
Austurbru leads the work package called evidence in excellence where the aim is to identify best practices and highlight underutilized resource opportunities across the NPA regions.



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HANDIHEAT · Clar ICH · Ballyhaunis Road · Claremorris, Mayo F12 · Ireland

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