11 May, 2009 - Minister O'Keeffe announces new €20m scheme to cut schools' energy bills

Schools' energy bills will be dramatically cut as a result of a new €20 million scheme to improve roof and cavity wall insulation levels in buildings across the country, according to the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD.
The new energy efficiency scheme for schools is an add-on to the €80 million Summer Works Scheme announced last week.
Announcing the new scheme, Minister O'Keeffe said: 'Schools can now apply to the Department for 100pc grant-aid to carry out energy-efficient works over the quiet summer months.
'The devolved energy efficiency scheme, which is being implemented with the help of Sustainable Energy Ireland, allows schools to apply for funding on a once-off basis to upgrade the fabric insulation in attics and the external cavity walls of their buildings.
'These measures will make buildings more comfortable, cut energy costs and contribute to the Government's national targets of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
'The scheme is significant when you consider that about 73pc of a school's energy consumption is on heating and hot water, with the remainder on lighting and other small-power appliances.
'The work, which won't require a consultant, will be specific and straightforward and should be completed over a few days,' said Minister O'Keeffe.
New schools built in recent times are now over twice as energy efficient than schools built to best international practice.
'The purpose of this scheme is to improve the energy efficiency of our older schools,' said Minister O'Keeffe.
For the past 12 years, the Department's Planning and Building Unit has been using a process called the DART - Design, Awareness, Research and Technology - to develop sustainability and energy efficiency in educational buildings.
To expedite claims and streamline the application process for the scheme, an online application form, frequently asked questions and other documents for schools are on www.energyeducation.ie.