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Enniscorthy in sights of US green organisation

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US delegation to Enniscorthy, hosted by Enniscorthy & District Chamber in The Wildes Cafe. Back: Robert Cavey, Washington DC, Jimmy Gahan (Enniscorthy Chamber), Michael Bennett (Enniscorthy Chamber); Esther Obonyo, Penn State University; Alyi Said, Penn State University and Tomas O’Leary (MosArt); Front: Leslie Montgomery, Pittsburgh, PA; Jenna Cramer,(Green Building Alliance) Pittsburgh, PA.; Maree Lyng, President, Enniscorthy Chamber; Megan Zeigter, Pittsburgh, PA, and Cllr Barbara-Ann Murphy

US delegation to Enniscorthy, hosted by Enniscorthy & District Chamber in The Wildes Cafe. Back: Robert Cavey, Washington DC, Jimmy Gahan (Enniscorthy Chamber), Michael Bennett (Enniscorthy Chamber); Esther Obonyo, Penn State University; Alyi Said, Penn State University and Tomas O’Leary (MosArt); Front: Leslie Montgomery, Pittsburgh, PA; Jenna Cramer,(Green Building Alliance) Pittsburgh, PA.; Maree Lyng, President, Enniscorthy Chamber; Megan Zeigter, Pittsburgh, PA, and Cllr Barbara-Ann Murphy

US delegation to Enniscorthy, hosted by Enniscorthy & District Chamber in The Wildes Cafe. Back: Robert Cavey, Washington DC, Jimmy Gahan (Enniscorthy Chamber), Michael Bennett (Enniscorthy Chamber); Esther Obonyo, Penn State University; Alyi Said, Penn State University and Tomas O’Leary (MosArt); Front: Leslie Montgomery, Pittsburgh, PA; Jenna Cramer,(Green Building Alliance) Pittsburgh, PA.; Maree Lyng, President, Enniscorthy Chamber; Megan Zeigter, Pittsburgh, PA, and Cllr Barbara-Ann Murphy

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The Executive Director of a major American organisation within the building sector has confirmed to this newspaper that the Technology Park in Enniscorthy is being seriously considered as a potential location for its first European office.

Jenna Cramer, from the Green Building Alliance (GBA), spoke to this newspaper on Friday while she was visiting the town as part of a delegation that included representatives of Pennsylvania State University and the UN who met with members of the local Chamber and Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy.

Ms Cramer's organisation has begun working with the UN in addition to its ongoing work with a number of universities across the USA.

She said it would be envisioned that GBA would work closely with the UN centre of excellence - for which a memorandum of understanding was signed in County Hall two years ago by the UN Director of Economic Commission for Europe, Scott Foster.

'We work all around the US,' she said.

Ms Cramer then confirmed that once the Technology Park is completed her organisation will be seriously looking it as an ideal location to set up its first European office.

'The organisation was founded in 1993 and we work to advice universities and business partners in the area of green building,' she added.

Ms Cramer also complimented the work of Enniscorthy research scientist and environmental entrepreneur, Tomás O'Leary, especially his work in developing NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Building).

She praised him for his work in helping people in the US become 'passive house trainers'.

Ms Cramer first visited Enniscorthy in April after attending a UN conference in Geneva as part of a US delegation.

She said she was very impressed by the work being done here at that time and also with the warmth of the people.

She said the work being done in Enniscorthy by people like Mr O'Leary and local developer, Michael Bennett, in the area of passive housing is something 'that should be done all over the world'.

'I look forward to the Technology Park being completed and I think it will bring great opportunities for education and training,' she said.

In April, as part of the delegation, Ms Cramer visited the park site and with regard to it's potential she said: 'It could offer a space where we could strengthen the partnership and relationship [with] universities we work with in the US.'

'We want to bring trainees here and we could offer the expertise that we have,' she said.

Ms Cramer commented that having Meanscoil Gharman within such close proximity to the Technology Park offered huge potential.

'The potential for students to have access to world class technology right next door is huge,' she said.

Ms Cramer said the Technology Park has the potential to make Enniscorthy a 'global scale' centre of excellence in the area of green building and innovative technology.

Associate Professor Aly M Said, from the Architectural Engineering faculty of Pennsylvania State University, was also among the delegates visiting Enniscorthy on Friday.

He said one of the main aims of the visit was to see the passive houses being built locally.

He said the delegates were looking at the data from the passive houses to see how it might be incorporated into training and education.

'We want to learn from their experience and them from ours,' he said.

Prior to visiting Enniscorthy the delegates had attended an NZEB conference in Dun Laoghaire and Professor Said commented that one of the aims of the visit was to build even closer links between Enniscorthy, Ireland and Pennsylvania State University.

Esther Abonyo, who is the Director at the Global Building Network in the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, at the American university, said the visit to Enniscorthy and Ireland will strengthen partnerships.

She said Ireland had made significant progress in the area of energy efficient social housing and it was 'having an impact'.

Ms Abonyo said the negative affects of air pollution only becomes evident in the future and 'that's why the work being done in Enniscorthy is so important'.


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