St. Flannan’s, Ennis, Co. Clare is a seven teacher school with around 180 students that received it's first Green-Flag in 1999.
Actions taken by St. Flannan’s Clare to reduce their energy use and increase awareness of energy include:
Installation of a solar powered hot water tank.
Keeping windows shut when the radiators are on (in so far as possible as adequate ventilation must be provided for health reasons).
Monitoring temperature in classrooms and making use of thermostats on radiators to turn down heat when the rooms get too hot.
Turning off computers, CD players, etc. when not in use.
Organising an energy awareness poster competition.
Organising a draught excluder competition.
Organising an energy awareness workshop (CELT).
Holding a Low Energy Day in the school
Putting an Energy Newsletter together for parents.
St. Flannan’s also changed their electricity supplier from ESB to Airtricity.
Everyday the Energy Action Teams in each class (1st to 6th class) record on tables how each class is doing in relation to:
Keeping doors closed at break times and when there isn't anyone in the room.
Making sure the lights are turned off at break times and when there isn't anyone in the room.
Keeping windows closed when the heat is on.
Turning down thermostats on radiators when the room is too hot.
Checking that taps are turned off properly.
These findings are reported back to all the children and teachers at special Green-Schools meetings in the school hall and monthly during "Student of the Month". Meter readings are taken daily and the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity being used is displayed on graphs on the Green-Schools notice board. Pupils discuss whether or not they are getting better at conserving energy on reading the graphs at the whole school meetings and at the Green Committee Meetings. The number of newspapers collected, aluminium cans collected and batteries collected is also recorded and displayed on graphs on the notice board.
Day of action - Low Energy Day.
The aim was to try to use the least amount of energy possible for the day. One of the Green Committee members found the lowest number of kilowatt-hours of electricity used in one day so far, in the copy with the meter readings. Their goal was to beat this number. They also looked at what the cost of electricity for one day generally is for the school.
All classes turned off the lights or at least one of the banks of lights nearest the window when the rooms got bright enough. Corridor lights and the lights in the hall were turned off as soon as they weren't needed. Computers and CD players were turned off straight after use and not left on standby. Also the records of actions taken daily were given back to each classroom to examine how well they were doing generally in relation to closing doors and windows when the heat is on, keeping temperature at 18°C, turning taps off properly, closing the blinds at 3pm and turning off computers when they're not being used, etc.
4th,5th and 6th class made some graphs on the day based on these findings, which were then displayed in the school hall. In the afternoon before the children went home all classes met in the school hall. The meter was read again and it was discovered that only 12 kilowatt-hours of electricity had been consumed during the day, the lowest amount yet! The pupils examined what actions had been taken to make this so. It was decided that lights and computers were a huge drain on the electricity resource and that every attempt would be made from then on to limit usage of electricity in respect to these two ‘sinks of energy’ where possible.
All families filled out an "Energy Checklist" to give the school an idea of how energy efficient they are at home. Families were encouraged to take actions similar to those the children are taking at school to make their homes more energy efficient. It is planned to send home the same checklist before the end of the school year to examine the difference in findings. Parents also bring old newspapers, aluminium cans and batteries to the school to be recycled.