Energy, Waste and Water 2009

The Coillte Group continues to take steps to reduce energy and water usage and decrease emissions and overall reduce its carbon footprint. 

In addition, Coillte will play a key role in delivering on Ireland’s Renewable Energy Strategy across a broad range of roles including; as a developer, a co-developer, a strategic source of sites for third party developers, a strategic source of rights of way and way leaves for third party developers and expertise to support the development of comprehensive planning applications to the relevant statutory authorities.

Energy Consumption in the Coillte Group

Direct Energy Consumption by source in the Coillte Group 2009

Coillte Offices

 Coillte Sawmill Dundrum

1.9 million Kwhs

36,369 million Kwhs

Note 1: We are currently enhancing our ability to measure energy consumption in other parts of the business such as Nurseries Division and plan to expand reporting in this area next year.

Note 2: Coillte does not use any indirect energy source.

SmartPly Energy Usage
Units Quantity
Wood biomass Tonnes 65,311
Electricity kWh 32,006,056
LPG Litres 201,397
Diesel Litres 368,004

Medite Energy Usage
Units Quantity
Wood biomass Dry Tonnes 81,156
Electricity kWh 96,955,310
LPG Litres 49,814
Natural Gas kWh 26,395,722
Diesel Litres 4,193

While working hard to look at ways by which we can generate renewable energy, we are also fully cognisant of our own energy consumption.  The Coillte Group is a relatively large user of energy and we have introduced a number of initiatives aimed at reducing these levels.  These include:

  • Introduction of one of the first industrial wood pellet burning boilers and solar panels to provide heating at our HQ facility in Newtownmountkennedy. This has resulted in savings on energy calculated at approximately 150,000 kwhs per annum.
  • The introduction of a refiner plate design at Medite, which has resulted in a reduction of 30kWh per ton of oven dry fibre produced (Line 1). 
  • Installation at SmartPly of low energy lighting which is expected to result in savings of 40405.5 kw/€118,374.
  • Video conferencing and voice conferencing facilities have been installed at all major Coillte offices reducing the need for travel between locations.

In addition, Coillte has introduced the 'Power of One' initiative at all offices but do not yet have figures to show energy reduction details. We are also at the early stages of examining the feasibility of using a small wind turbine at our HQ and possible other sites and are also investigating the use of an Archimedean screw at sites close to river locations.

Medite operates under ISO14001 and CARB Certification while SmartPly is regulated under the IPPC licence Environmental Management Programme.

Greenhouse gas emissions

In relation to Greenhouse gas emissions, as a comprehensive measurement systems is not in place, a complete figure is not available for Coillte office network.  Below please see details of Medite and SmartPly emissions.

Medite SmartPly
4,981 Tonnes / year 827 Tonnes / year

SmartPly intend to minimise the use of a geka diesel burner through careful management of fuel and fuel hogging in winter months with a view to further reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Other Air Emissions by type and Weight

Medite NOx, SOx, and other significant air emissions by type and weight: 2009
Emission Type Quantity kgs / year
NOx 216,552
SOx 0
Formaldehyde 11,999
Particulates 33,944
Carbon monoxide 461,384 
Particulates 33,946
SmartPly NOx, SOx, and other significant air emissions by type and weight: 2009
Air Emmisions Quantity (kgs / year)
Particulates 36,370
CVOCs 55,597
Formaldehyde 10,567
Total Aldehydes 22,570
MDI 0.56
Phenol 238
CO 301,450
NOx 53,995
SO2 10,940

Reusing and Recycling

Coillte and Medite are members of Repak and produce annual returns in relation to the amount of waste produced, both through internal distribution of products and services and from external purchase of waste packaging materials. E.g. plastic bags, plastic drums, pallets, paper, cardboard.

Coillte run a fleet of 140 vehicles made up of vans, cars, trucks and tractors. Of these, 97% run on diesel and we are currently preparing to trial bio-diesel and lpg alternatives in some of these vehicles.

Water Withdrawal By Source

Coillte Nurseries, SmartPly and Medite, at times, withdraw water from river sources or site wells, rather than solely from a public distribution system.  

Coillte Nurseries

At Coillte’s Nursery in Ballintemple, Co. Carlow, water abstraction from the River Slaney is permitted under a Planning Licence which allows extraction of: 511,000 m3 (cubic meters) per annum at a limit of 1400 m3 per day.  Actual consumption for 2009 was 8,924 m3 which equates to 1.7% of the total allowance.

Coillte Panel Products

Medite Water Withdrawal
m³ / year
Mains Water 14,181m³ / year
Surface Water
(river abstraction)
356,335m³ / year
Smartply Water Withdrawal
Site Well 23,494m³

Note 1: In relation to water recycled and reused, SmartPly used 18,800m3 from surface water discharge.

Water Discharges

In relation to water discharges, Medite and SmartPly discharge water into the River Anner and the River Suir.

Medite: Total water discharge by quality at River Anner: 2009
Total water discharge Quantity
Average flow 639 m³ / day
BOD 6,448 kgs / year
Suspended Fluids 25,447 kgs / year
COD 57,771 kgs / year
Ammonia 294 kgs / year
Orthophosphate 49 kgs / year
Nitrate 210 kgs / year
OFG 346 kgs / year
Phenol 14 kgs / year
SmartPly: Total water discharge by quality at River Suir: 2009
Total water discharge Quantity
Average flow 50,970 m³
BOD 28.08 mg / m³
Ph 7.40 mg / m³
Phenol 0.01 mg / m³
Oils, Fats & Grease 7.80 mg / m³
Suspended Solids 88.67 mg / m³
Formaldehyde 0.26 mg / m³
Nitrate 1.37 mg / m³
OrthoPhosphate 0.19  mg / m³
Total Ammonia 0.26 mg / m³

Packaging materials for all products sold are all recyclable e.g. wood, plastic, paper, cardboard and Coillte has had no incidences of non-compliance in relation to environmental laws or regulations.

Coillte Panel Products - Materials Used
Material Used Quantity
Resins 48,646 Tonnes
Wood 213,000 ODTub

Garvagh Glebe Windfarm

Coillte is a leading player in the wind energy sector in Ireland with over 20% of current generating capacity on land which is now or was previously owned by Coillte. We have 25 potential wind farm projects in the development pipeline.  This would amount to approx 1300 MW of electricity or enough to power 130,000 homes by 2020.  The first completed wind farm is at Garvagh Glebe in County Leitrim at a site located 4km west of Drumkeeran village.  In partnership with Hibernian Wind Power, Coillte has installed 13 turbines at Garvagh Glebe in County Leitrim generating 18 MW of electricity, enough electricity to supply 18,000 homes.  Garvagh Glebe wind farm alone will offset over 36,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Developing a Sustainable Biomass Business

Coillte is the largest owner of wood biomass in Ireland with 350,000ha of forests and annual sales of over 2.5 million M3.  It is our intention to add significant value to our fibre resource through being the national leader in the development of the wood for energy business.

Forestry can act as a sink for the removal for C02 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and biomass can substitute fossil fuels such as oil and gas thereby reducing Irelands carbon production. For industries that rely on fossil fuels, switching to biomass would result in a reduction in the annual energy costs of the business while circumventing future carbon tax levies in place or being proposed. The biomass market, outside of the wood processing sector is considered relatively new to Ireland with the first installations taking place in the commercial heat sector in recent years. These first installations were supported by capital grants and much of the hotel and leisure sector has availed of this scheme. Recent market research of the larger process heat and steam users carried out by Coillte highlighted several issues inhibiting the take up of biomass as an alternative fuel source. Market research has shown that the larger energy users demand a guaranteed supply of quality wood chip over an extended contract period. They also require a world class technology solutions provider to install, operate and maintain the boiler installation to ensure a long period of service with minimum downtime. An opportunity now exists for Coillte to convert these large energy users to a more sustainable carbon neutral biomass steam or biomass CHP solution. The supply of the resource combined with technological expertise presents an opportunity to unlock the market potential. 

Coillte has teamed up with SISK and CES to look for large scale industrial customers who want to commit to a biomass energy solution.