They realised that eco-tours would help showcase to fellow communities, investors, renewable energy developers, researchers and students how it can be done. As well as helping provide a sustainable living for inhabitants on the island, the Co-op worked in partnership with REMOTE, a project linking institutions across the Northern periphery primarily aimed at renewable energy training to remote and rural communities.
Murray Porritt, a Research Assistant at Inverness College UHI, went on one of the tours, delivering REMOTE training materials to two groups, the first being community representatives and eco-interested parties and the second being transition year students.
The tour included a visit to an island house and the island's recycling centre. The house uses solar PV panels to harness the sun’s energy, and an air-to-water heat pump which supplies all the hot water.
The recycling plant also showcases the employment benefits of having renewable energy on the island.
Because shipping is so expensive the islanders try to keep as much on the island as possible. For example, glass is crushed and then re-used in concrete for footpaths and walls.
Paper is shredded, added to food waste, liquidised and heated to make compost for the island.
The tour was rounded off by a visit to one of the island’s heritage sites – a naturally formed pool known as the wormhole.
Murray said “It was a great opportunity to speak about the REMOTE project to people so committed to energy independence and conservation. Inis Mor is a really beautiful place and the islanders’ goal of energy independence by 2022 is inspiring.”