EMERGREEN Final Conference

The EMERGREEN project closing conference took place on March first 2022 hosted by Darragh Mc Donough from Donegal County Council. It kicked off with a warm welcome from Councillor Jack Murray, Mayor, Donegal County Council, and chairperson of Inishowen municipal district Cllr. Nicholas Crossan.

Anne Marie Mc Laughlin, EMERGREEN project lead partner from ERNACT, proceeded to explain the process of creating the project, how they searched for emerging challenges that could be resolved and how they faced the issues that came up with the pandemic, having to re-imagine the services the project would develop, and successfully coming up with a plan. The findings and learning from this project are being transferred into business models for any future similar project to use as a guide.

John Mc Carron, David Mc Laughlin and Darragh Mc Donough from Donegal County Council continued by sharing about EMERGREEN´s first service presented: The Donegal Coastal Stories, from its ultimate goal to the specifics of how the app they have developed works. They shared infographics of erosion and accretion problems on Donegal beaches, and how the app would work to address this issue and assist the Council in coming up with ways to solve it.

Afterwards, the National University of Ireland Galway, who have worked on developing the services that EMERGREEN has created, took on the spotlight. Murray Scott explained to us the sustainability of the apps, which is a core value for the NUIGalway as well as our project. Augustin Garcia Pereira later proceeded to share how the apps and services they have designed for the project worked and the long lasting impact they have - “Finding examples like these project that persist in time is very rare, and that’s the goal with the EMERGREEN services”. The Donegal Coastal Stories for example, essentially gathers pictures from the public to show the erosion of the coast over time. The app can filter out pictures that aren’t appropriate or good quality.

They also introduced RIA (Recycling Information Assistant) and SolcEllen. The first one, a chatbot that informs the public about their recycling options in Derry and Strabane area (North Ireland), and the second one, a chatbot that informs people about solar energy in Västernorrland County (Sweden).

A short coffee break took place before Toni Ryynanen from Ruralia Institute presented OMAidea. “A service geared to promote greener communities”. They do this by raising awareness on sustainability through surveys, idea collections, and competitions. There were 5 piloting activities tested:

  • Biowaste challenge - Food waste challenge (part 1)
  • Small scale climate action
  • Food waste challenge (part 2)
  • The future food systems and cellular agriculture

Ryynanen shared the challenges and advantages they faced when promoting the platform and reaching stakeholders. Posing questions such as: are we reaching out our targeted audience? Their experience on digital participation found that the platform should be user friendly, visually appealing, engaging, and meaningful for participants.

Our 2 guest speakers followed Toni. First Paul Early, NPA funded SMARCTIC project partner from Donegal County Council, who talked about the SMARCTIC project and their smart energy management models, and later, Mary Daly, who talked about using innovative technology on walking trails to measure activity, developed by the NPA funded TrailGazers project.

Derry City & Strabane District Council developed 3 new technologies through the EMERGREEN project. A website, an app, and a chatbot named RIA, which stands for Recycling Information Assistant, and its name was chosen by the public through an online contest. They talked about the process of creating these services for waste management and their launch that will happen soon. Cathy Burns, from the DCSDC, expressed the urgency to develop sustainable tactics and the importance of these services.

Agustin came back to talk us through the process of creating a chatbot and then introduced Oskar Lindberg from Region Västernorrland, who explained how SolcEllen is being used to help the public access information about solar energy systems that they can implement.

Finally, our partner Bjarti Thomsen from Faroese Environment Agency, shared about their heat pumps initiative in their region. They launched a website that solves users doubts and questions about heat pumps.

Overall, the conference was a success in presenting what the EMERGREEN project has successfully accomplished, even while facing the adversities that the global pandemic presented. Our partners´ involvement and commitment to make everything happen is what gives the project the possibilities to make tangible changes in our regions for creating greener communities through emerging technologies.

Stay tuned final conference recording will be available soon!