Older schools to be transformed into top-rated energy efficient buildings

Government-funded pilot project is model for national programme to retrofit schools

Seventeen older schools are to be transformed into top-rated energy-efficient buildings this year as part of pilot programme to be extended across hundreds of primary and secondary schools over the coming years.

The schools will be e quipped with new energy-efficient windows, heating systems, lights and renewable technologies.

The works will be jointly funded with a €7-million budget from the Department of Education and and Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment.

The aim of the pilot is to create a scalable model for energy efficiency retrofitting of schools.


A major national programme of retrofits is scheduled to commence in 2022, as outlined in the recent national development plan.

Internal estimates have put the full cost of a deep energy retro-fit for all schools in the region of €2.5 billion.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh said this new collaboration would create 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,” he said.

“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 Climate Action Richard Bruton the public service must set the example in taking climate change measures.

“ 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.”

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.

Participating schools are based in Dublin (St Kevin's Boys NS, St Kevin's Girls NS, St Dominic's NS in Tallaght). Waterford (Mount Sion Primary School and Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School), Westmeath (St Peter's School, St Hilda's Special School and Cornafulla NS in Athlone), Donegal (Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Gaelscoil Adhamhnain, Loreto Secondary School, Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, Donegal and St Oran's NS,) and Galway ( Dunmore Community School, Holy Rosary College, Colaiste Mhuire and Lawrencetown NS).

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent