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Sustainability in Our Schools – Major Upgrade “Pathfinder Project” completed in St Anne’s Community College, Killaloe, transforming energy consumption

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD today 6 October welcomed the completion of an energy retrofit project for St Anne’s Community College, Clarisford, Killaloe, Co Clare.


The school, under the auspices of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB), provides post-primary education to over 500 students.


Under the Department of Education’s and SEAI Pathfinder 2020 project, the school building has undergone substantial upgrading works including improvements to the school building envelope and fabric including wall insulation, attic insulation, new roofs, windows and doors, air tightness and thermal bridging works, upgrading of the heating system and controls, new LED lighting and controls and the installation of photovoltaic panels for renewable energy generation on site.


The Building energy rating was improved from a D to a B band rating, which will have positive impacts on the school’s energy consumption and power bills.


Minister Foley said: “The pathfinder project is an important aspect of delivering the Department’s commitments under the Climate Action plan. This major investment in retrofitting existing schools to enhance their accommodation and energy efficiency ensures a modern, fit for purpose environment for our students, in which they can learn comfortably, in a building with a focus on a sustainable future.


“These major upgrades enhance our existing school stock, and the findings from this pilot continue to inform our practices and work across the Department’s building projects. “


Minister Ryan said: “The Pathfinder programme is a partnership between Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the Department of Education. We’re investing over €60m in our schools over the next three years to make them schools more energy efficient.


“The upgrades to these older buildings is reducing their energy use, saving money and helping cut our emissions. Young people have been pathfinders in their calls for climate action and I’m delighted that we are showing what can be done in a practical way in our schools.”


Chief Executive of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board George O’Callaghan said:

“The deep energy retrofit of St. Anne’s Community College, undertaken as part of the Pathfinder Programme has transformed the 1980s school building and will ensure a significant reduction in energy consumption. 


“The project has served as a practical demonstration to students and staff of the importance and benefits of targeted investment in energy reduction measures. In addition, the support to the school provided by the Pathfinder Programme ensured the efficient delivery of the project with minimal impact on the day-to-day operation of the school.”


As part of the 2020 Pathfinder programme, six schools were chosen in rural and urban areas to undergo extensive fabric upgrades to improve the energy performance of the building.


Each school was assessed comprehensively to ensure that the measures were suitable for that school and would deliver value to both the school and the pilot. Design teams were appointed to each project, with medium to deep energy efficiency works delivered over the summer. The upgrades at a value of €10m targeted energy efficiency improvements and included upgrades to doors and windows, insulation, lighting and heating upgrades as well as renewable technologies.


This Pathfinder programme is paving the way for, and informing, a much larger national schools’ programme for the energy retrofit of schools built prior to 2008 as included in the National Development Plan. It is facilitating research on a range of typical retrofit options, which will have been tried and tested. It is providing valuable development information for a solution driven delivery strategy which will be founded on a solid evidence base that has proven the robustness and scalability of renewable solutions within the schools’ sector.


Now in its fifth year, the pilot programme has retrofitted 39 schools across Ireland to date. This year sees six schools undergoing deep retrofit to a Building Energy Rating (BER) of B with renewable heating systems. Each school underwent a comprehensive assessment to ensure that the measures were suitable for that school and would deliver value to both the school and learnings for the national retrofit programme.


Notes to Editors


The Schools Energy Retrofit Pathfinder programme is funded by the Department of Education and Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. The programme is administered by the Planning and Building Unit in the Department of Education and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland with delivery partner Limerick Clare ETB.


Details of the Works in St Anne’s:


Fabric Works


  • Included installation of pumped insulation to external cavity walls
  • Replacement of external windows and doors: Removal and replacement of 16 existing windows with new aluminium windows and replacing 24 external doors.
  • Upgrade pitched roof/flat ceiling insulation:
  • High level concrete ring beam insulating
  • Air tightness improvement works


Mechanical Services Installations

  • Decommission existing boilers and plant:
  • Strip out all existing mechanical plant and safely dispose off site.
  • Boiler/mechanical plant upgrade works:
  • Install new cascading gas fired boilers and associated plant to serve main building.
  • Install insulation to exposed external walls
  • Pipework insulation and boxing in to prevent damage by rodents and birds.
  • New Building management system (BMS)


Electrical Services Installations

  • Photovoltaic panels.
  • Install localised time clocks on electric water heaters.
  • Upgrade lighting to LED: replace existing lighting with LED lights.
  • Upgrade external lighting to LED:
  • Replace existing lighting heads with LED heads.
  • Install associated controls with upgraded light fittings
  • Emergency lighting and rewiring:
  • Install LED non maintained emergency lighting