Collinstown Park Community College linked renewable energy and environmental education to achieve its sustainability goals.
90%Reduction in lighting costs
30Solar PV panels installed
50%Reduction in electricity bills
50%Funding from SEAI
The school's biggest issue in terms of energy usage was rising electricity costs. By collaborating with Microsoft, SSE Airtricity and SEAI, the School was able to develop an energy efficiency plan to address high costs and begin their sustainable energy journey. The total project investment came to €250,000, with 50% of the funding coming directly from SEAI. This investment enabled the school to install renewable tech and energy efficient lighting.
The success of the project came down to two key actions:
- The installation of energy efficient technologies
- The education of students and staff on energy efficiency and sustainable development.
Their ‘green’ journey began with the installation of new L.E.D lighting, solar panels on the roof and battery storage units. The school received a grant to fund the installation of 30 PV Solar Panels and battery units which worked well for a high-occupancy school. They also replaced light fixtures in the main building with L.E.D lights and sensors, an eco-friendly solution to lighting.These energy upgrades enabled the school to reduce their lighting costs by an incredible 90% and overall electricity bills by 50%. Other small changes such as the introduction of Hippo Bags and fixing leaking taps, helped to cut back on water waste.
In addition to taking action and swapping fossil fuels for renewable energy, the school embarked on an educational mission to empower staff and students on sustainability. This was accomplished through a series of events such as school trips, workshops, challenges, and competitions.
The school hosted an ‘energy efficient’ evening to showcase the great work which they had done to become more sustainable and energy efficient. Victory Luke, a transition year student at the School was one of the ‘5-day leaders’ who addressed the engaged crowd on the night. Cllr. Mark Ward gave the opening address at the event which was attended by a host of exhibitors from SEAI, SSE Airtricity and Microsoft. The ‘leaders’ presented the school’s achievements to a packed room and information was available for all who wished to learn more about sustainable energy. On the back of this, Victory was asked to give a speech at the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Annual Conference in Dublin.
"We hope this will inspire other schools to take similar climate-action.”
One challenge the school faced was how to address the massive heat loss through the main school doors, which were kept open every morning and afternoon. To address this issue, they installed automatic doors. This contributed to both energy savings and a reduction in heating bills as less heat was required to keep this area warm. Another challenge faced by staff and students was finding time to host and co-ordinate sustainable-energy focussed school events. However, through sheer drive and a commitment to sustainability, the school can now proudly say they have achieved their project’s goals.