Clonakilty Community College C...


Clonakilty Community College Celebrate Winning 'Carbon Club Schools Challenge'

RedFM News
RedFM News

02:15 9 Jun 2023

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An awards ceremony was held in Clonakilty Community College to celebrate the school winning the Carbon Club Schools Challenge. The event was attended by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Cork Education and Training Board, Local TD Christopher O Sullivan, Cllr Paul Hayes, students from the schools and the Carbon Club Steering committee.

The Carbon Club held their inaugural Schools Carbon Club Challenge between 2022 to 2023. Ten Post Primary ETB Schools in Cork were competing against each other to see who could save the most kilowatts of energy and reduce their carbon emissions. A free Energy Monitoring system with a visual display screen was installed in each school so that all students could see live energy consumption data in the school as well as the associated CO2 emissions. Each school set up an energy team with transition year students who acted as Energy Team Ambassadors in their school and completed in challenges throughout the year. The winning school received a free 10 kWp Solar PV system which has already saved them nearly €300 on their energy bills in the two weeks it has been installed. Each school that competed in the competition will also have an energy audit carried out as well as receive a free electrical vehicle charger.

This project was funded through the SE Systems Community fund and the energy metering was co-funded through the SEAI Community Energy Grant. The participating schools incurred no costs.

John Flynn, Programme Manager of the SEAI Communities Scheme said” SEAI are delighted to support the Schools Carbon Club competition. It’s a great way to engage our young people so they educate themselves about energy use in their everyday lives. SEAI hope this initiative will be extended to a wider group of schools in the coming years.”

Local TD Christopher O ‘Sullivan stated “Its great to see young people leading the way in climate action, there is a lot we could learn from their passion. The students showed a great enthusiasm in the area of renewable energy and that’s important because going forward as a country we are going to need those skills and young people heading towards careers in sustainability and energy efficiency. As former student it was fantastic to see Clonakilty win the competition and have solar erected on their school”.

School Teacher James Hurley quoted “Winning the inaugural Carbon Club Community Challenge has meant so very much to the college.  Clonakilty Community College prides itself on being an inclusive place of learning and this competition provided the perfect opportunity for students of all abilities to work together to find practical ways to reduce our carbon footprint.  Each challenge posed by the Carbon Club team provided fresh opportunities for us to gain a new awareness of where energy could be saved.  Light switches, projectors, PC rooms, photocopiers, even the staffroom burka became daily targets in order to reduce energy waste.  The “green schools” education we had been providing all along now had a real focus with a measurable outcome.  The school community was able to monitor progress through a live feed screen in the assembly area and, as the saying goes, success breeds success!  As we climbed the Carbon Club league table our motivation to do more increased.  We could see the actual difference our combined efforts were making with joules, watts and kilowatt-hours becoming far more real as the weeks progressed.  The “report” set as the final Carbon Club challenge provided us with the opportunity to consolidate much of that learning as well as learn how to fully decipher the college’s electricity bills. We expect to save In the region of €3500 per annum off our electricity bills with the installation of solar panels”.

Competition Results Summary

  • 10 CETB Post Primary schools engaged in the competition.
  • Total Energy savings: 70,786 kWh
  • Total Carbon Savings: 30.08 Metrics Tonnes of CO2
  • Total equivalent trees planted: 1203 Trees
  • Winning School received free Solar PV system and all 10 schools received a free EV Charger and energy audit report from an SEAI registered energy auditor.

The Carbon Club are a Not for profit organisation, who are educating and empowering students to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions through energy monitoring and behavioural change. This will provide the students with practical knowledge to assist them reduce their environmental impact and Co2 emissions.

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