This is a 9 teacher Gaelscoil located in Westport, Co. Mayo. The school’s pupil population has increased dramatically in the last few years, which has necessitated the addition of prefabs to house everyone in at its current site. The school is currently preparing to move into a bigger building. However, this is a temporary move until such times as its new school building is built.
The school carried out an energy audit as part of their environmental review. All the energy requirements of the Gaelscoil are sourced from electricity. The children obtained copies of bills for the past year (2005) and discovered what they were using for the whole school and for each child in a month and on a daily basis and what it cost.
The children monitored electricity by reading the meter morning and evening for a month and discovered how much electricity they used in a month's period between 20th February and 21st March. They were then able to make a comparison between electricity use during Feb/March last year and this year after implementing no and low cost measures to reduce their energy consumption. The results startled everyone! They halved their energy consumption in the period under investigation even during a time of extremely cold weather!
They now record energy consumption daily in order to use for comparisons next year. Large charts have been made for display purposes.
The low and no cost measures implemented by the Gaelscoil include:
Lowering heating output on storage heaters at night and turning off during holiday time.
Putting one pupil in charge (and rotating) of keeping doors and windows shut where possible, turning off lights when not needed, etc.
Making draught-excluders (snakes) from old tights from home and waste paper from school.
Manually lowering temperature of water heater.
A major discovery that the Gaelscoil made from their monitoring was that electricity appeared to have been needlessly consumed during the summer months.
The Gaelscoil continues to monitor the waste going to landfill every week and have made a chart on which monthly and yearly amounts are displayed. Materials collected for recycling are also displayed on a chart every month.
The pupils of Gaelscoil na Cruaiche were involved in the ‘Food Miles Project for Schools’- the aim of the project being to introduce the children to the subject of sustainable food production, by emphasizing the distance our food is carried to reach our tables. The pupils displayed their project at the Westport Sustainability Fair in May 2006.