Connacht GAA scores win at SEAI Energy Awards
Connacht GAA SEC won the Inspirational Sustainable Energy Community award at the SEAI Energy Awards 2023.
The Connacht GAA Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) was established in Claremorris, Co. Mayo at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence
They joined the SEC Network in 2019 and started out by understanding their energy bills and educating staff on daily energy efficiency behaviours. With support from SEAI, they then developed their Energy Master Plan which has a 10-year vision for the Centre.
Connacht GAA’s sustainability efforts started in 2010-2011 with rainwater harvesting, improved lighting and biodiversity activities. In 2019, they established the sustainability committee and that formalised the process by joining the SEC Network.
The initial roadmap has brought them on a journey of change, from installing successful projects, through to culture change and community leadership beyond Connacht.
The SEC have positioned themselves as a leader within the GAA and its membership indeed beyond the GAA. The centre of excellence and its programmes have led them to be an intrinsic part of the newly Launched GAA Green Club programme. Connacht GAA SEC supports the programme with messaging, awareness, and education to the 2000+ clubs and members.
Connacht GAA’s Centre of Excellence is home to the world’s largest Airdome, which is powered by solar energy. The Airdome is now exporting solar energy with the first category B export licence to go live in Ireland.
The Airdome was completed in 2020 and can host 2,000+ fans for matches. It also means that games can be played year-round without any weather dependencies.
The Airdome project refocused the SEC’s attention and it’s a showcase to its over 150,000+ annual visitors. Other SECs and groups visit the Center of Excellence and gain insights from Connacht GAA, learn from their experiences and understand best practice is a key differentiator. This backs up their vision of leveraging our leadership in the community to help influence better behaviour around energy, sustainability and biodiversity.
At the Centre, the changes have had significant impact and effect from the first days of reviewing and understanding our bills, addressing staff understanding of their daily actions and behaviour around energy, to now exporting enough power for 20 homes a day on top of keeping the world’s largest Airdome inflated. I believe it's inspirational.
“The behaviour change through leadership has been fantastic within our own staff and visitors.
I believe our management teams experience and insight is what has made us different to others, our ability to develop an appropriate vision, our ability to communicate that vision and then execute the programs effectively have given us an edge and indeed position of leadership within our community.
SEAI has been an integral part of our efforts they've been integral to actually implementing the programs. We couldn't have done it without their help, education and guidance,” said Kurt Reinhardt.
“Our SEC has a 10 year energy master plan which we will aggressively implement, that along with our role within the Green Club Program and the greater GAA Community will sustain our position as a leader by continual improvement and engagement with the community,” explained Kurt Reinhardt.See all winners Sustainable Energy Programme