Govt To Fund New Energy Efficiency Works At 17 Schools

Seventeen schools nationwide have been selected for energy efficiency works under a government-funded retrofit pilot programme for 2019.

The newly-expanded programme focuses on projects to reduce energy consumption, test retrofit solutions, build capacity and test delivery and procurement models. It is jointly funded with a €7 million budget from the Department of Education and Skills and Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment. 

Now in its third year, the aim of the pilot is to create a scalable model for energy efficiency retrofitting of schools. This is taking place in advance of the major programme of retrofits scheduled to commence in 2022, as outlined in Project Ireland 2040. Subject to resources, it is intended to expand the intake of schools in the pilot programme in the lead up to 2022. 

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: "This exciting collaboration sets an example by creating a better environment to learn and work for pupils, staff and teachers. The money saved by 'greening' will support schools to concentrate resources on doing what they do best – teach.

"This pilot programme will demonstrate the most environmentally-friendly, high-performance and cost-effective solutions to turn older school buildings into top-rated energy-efficient buildings. It’s good for schools and good for the environment."

Minister for Communication, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton TD said: "If we are to take the lead on climate change, the public service must set the example. Schools are at the centre of our communities. By taking on best practice energy efficiency measures, the participating schools will demonstrate the benefits – both financially and the improvements to overall comfort levels, that these upgrades bring about."

CEO of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Jim Gannon said: "SEAI supports schools with energy efficiency through student workshops and resources (50,000+ students per annum), energy management (700+ schools to date), and allows them to report energy data through our monitoring and reporting system (2,279 schools in 2018). Since 2017, this pilot programme is providing a pathway towards a retrofit solution for all schools in Ireland, helping us deliver on national targets."

For the 2019 pilot, 17 schools have been selected in five geographical clusters, covering all four provinces and including a mix of urban and rural areas. Each school was assessed comprehensively to ensure that the measures were suitable for that school and would deliver value to both the school and the pilot. 

Now in its third year, the pilot programme involved 10 schools being retrofitted in 2017 and a further six schools in 2018. 

Design teams have been appointed to each cluster, with medium to deep energy efficiency works to be delivered in summer 2019. The upgrades target a 33% energy efficiency improvement and involve upgrades to doors and windows, insulation, lighting and heating upgrades as well as renewable technologies. 

The following schools have been selected for the 2019 pilot and present a variety of challenges, including building age, archetype and retrofit requirements. 

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