Scoil Mhuire Lourdes, Tullow, Co. Carlow is a 10 teacher primary school with 180 students. The school received it's first Green-Flag in 2004 and successfully renewed it in 2006. The committee is composed of two students from each class, either elected (senior classes) or drawn from a hat (junior classes), and also includes the caretaker, the principal and a teacher (co-ordinator). Meetings usually held once a month during school hours, with the previous months activities reviewed and new targets set for the coming month.
Before undertaking the energy review, the co-ordinating teacher met with the Area Energy Manager who visited the school and targeted areas where improvements might be made. In October 2004 students from 2nd class upwards carried out surveys on lighting, draughts, transport, as well as a lighting and heating audit. Results were displayed on the Energy Board. The review helped raise awareness among staff and students of energy wastage/conservation.
An Action Plan was put together on Energy, focusing on raising awareness and promoting positive habits in relation to lighting, heating and electrical appliances (i.e. switching off when not needed or not in use). Action plans were also developed for litter and for recycling, to try to maintain and improve on the good work carried out when working on their first flag.
For monitoring and evaluation, the ESB meter is read weekly and amount of units consumed recorded. Units are totalled monthly by 1st to 6th class in turn. Competitions, such as "Star Energy Saver" and "Star Bins of the Week" are also held with prizes at the end of the term for the best classes. Students are informed of progress through the Green-Schools Energy Board (with weekly updates of energy units consumed), posters, a Green-Schools newsletter, as well as carrying out energy surveys in the home
Curriculum work was linked with the programme across all the classes, particularly in subjects such as English (composition, poetry, reading/writing in relation to energy themes), Maths (addition and subtraction, data collection, graphs, analysis), S.E.S.E. (energy forces and conservation, recycling, fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, healthy eating and exercise, ozone layer and CO2), and Art (posters with an energy theme, art using recycled materials).
For the schools Day of Action, Mrs Anne Murphy and her 5th class students conducted an Energy workshop in the school hall, and each class attended the workshop accompanied by their teachers. The experiments were enjoyable, interesting and informative, and included experiments on heat, air (rocket launch), wind (paper windmills), fans, magnetic cars, gravity forces (paper helicopters), electricity (lighthouse with full circuit and switches constructed from pringle boxes and paper), friction and self-inflating balloons!