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Ministers McHugh and Bruton Announce Energy Efficiency Upgrade Pilot Programme for Schools

29th March 2019


Seventeen schools to benefit from €7 million fund targeting energy use reduction by 33%, test retrofit solutions and improve efficiency


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 T.D. 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 T.D. 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.


·         St Kevin's Boys NS, Tallaght, Dublin 24

·         St Kevin's Girls NS, Tallaght, Dublin 24

·         St Dominic's NS, Tallaght, Dublin 24

·         Mount Sion Primary School, Waterford

·         Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School, Waterford

·         St Peter's School, Athlone, Westmeath

·         St Hilda's Special School, Athlone, Westmeath

·         Cornafulla NS, Athlone, Westmeath

·         Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Doire Beaga (Derrybeg), Donegal

·         Gaelscoil Adhamhnain, Letterkenny, Donegal

·         Loreto Secondary School, Letterkenny, Donegal

·         Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Donegal

·         St Oran's NS, Buncrana, Donegal

·         Dunmore Community School, Dunmore, Galway

·         Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew, Galway

·         Colaiste Mhuire, Ballygar, Galway

·         Lawrencetown NS, Lawrencetown, Galway




Notes to Editors

The pilot programme builds on significant investment by the Department of Education and Skills in energy efficiency through the 2009/10 Cavity and Attic Insulation/Water Conservation Scheme and ongoing Summer Works.


SEAI and the Department of Education and Skills have also partnered for a number of years on a range of initiatives, collectively called 'Energy in Education', to support the improvement of energy efficiency in schools. There is a strong focus on the provision of practical guidance and direction to schools via the Energy in Education project. The website provides a one stop shop designed to help school boards of management, principals, teachers, administrators, caretaking staff, pupils, parents, architects, engineers and contractors to improve energy use practice and reduce school operating costs along with helping to protect the environment for future generations. The project also provides energy management training for schools along with an energy assessment from a professional.


In addition, the SEAI schools' programme works with schools, both students and teachers, to provide curriculum material around the energy retrofit, unlocking the educational benefit to these works. More information is available about the SEAI schools' programme at


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