20 April, 2012 - Department of Education and Skills wins top prize at 2012 Green Awards

The Department of Education and Skills has won the Green Award 2012 for its innovative work on a post primary school, Coláiste Choilm in Tullamore.

The prestigious prize was announced last night (Thursday 19th April) at a ceremony in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin.

As well as the top award, the Department also received the Green Building of the Year award for the same project and its continued work in developing low energy sustainable schools.

Now entering its fourth year, the Green Awards aim to celebrate excellence in sustainability and to encourage green best practice amongst Ireland's organisations and individuals.

Coláiste Choilm CBS is a new three-storey low energy sustainable 550-student post-primary school in the centre of Tullamore. The school, which was completed last September, was chosen by the Dept of Education & Skills as a sustainable research project for post primary schools.  Over 21 different sustainable design aspects were reviewed and incorporated into the project.

These include a rainwater recovery system which means that 65% of water is recycled, some waterless urinals, 120m of solar panels, intelligent lighting systems and bio-mass boilers.  This project is testing all new sustainable design approaches and technologies and the successful elements will be incorporated into the specifications for all future post primary schools by the Department.

Coláiste Choilm is also involved in the Green Schools Programme and has just won its third Green Flag under the leadership of Principal Colin Roddy.

Congratulating the Department’s Building Unit, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., said he was delighted with the news.

"I want to warmly congratulate the Department staff involved in this project on what is a very proud day for them, their families and the Department.

“The project was developed by the Department's Technical Team comprising John Dolan, Senior Engineer and Energy Programme Co-coordinator, Frank Lewis, Senior Architect, and Shay O'Malley, Quantity Surveyor in conjunction with Coady Partnership Architects and the project design team.

“I welcome the Judges’ comments on our entry where they stated that our approach offers leadership, excellence and an embedded commitment to the sustainable design, build and operation of all new Irish schools. This is an endorsement of my Department’s policy on low energy school design.

“The Department is at the forefront of design with respect to sustainable energy efficiency in school buildings and this performance has been recognised at both National and International level with sustainable energy awards for excellence in Design and Specification,” concluded the Minister.

Further details on the Department’s work in low energy sustainable design and awareness is available at www.energyineducation.ie

Notes for Editors:

The brief for this project was part of the ongoing Research and Demonstration Programme developed and managed by the Planning and Building Unit in the Department of Education and Skills since 1997. There are currently 39 different research strands in this programme. The intent with this project is that all new sustainable design approaches and technologies will be tested on this site and all positive outcomes incorporated into the Department’s Technical Guidance Documents (TGD) for all future Post Primary Schools.

The Department has a strong track record in this area, and all Primary Schools built in accordance with our TGD are capable of achieving an A3 Building Energy Rating (BER) and all Post Primary Schools are capable of achieving a B1 BER.

This project involves extensive automated monitoring systems and post occupancy evaluation /assessment. This will provide significant information on sustainable use and establish profiles of energy consumption and user patterns along with the potential to minimise the environmental impact while improving student and staff comfort.

The design team for the project comprised Coady Partnership Architects, Building Design Partnership, Building Services Engineers, Nicholas O Dwyer, Civil/ Structural Engineers, MJ Turley, Quantity Surveyors and OLM Consultancy: PSDP Consultant. The building contractor was John Sisk & Son.

The attached photographs of Coláiste Choilm are free to use for editorial purposes once they are credited to the photographer, Donal Murphy, www.donalmurphyphoto.com.

Photo 1
Photo 2

You can find further details on the project at Coláiste Choilm on the Department’s website at link.