The Green School programme in Kilkenny certainly seems to be working – and proof was provided by An Taisce at a recent information evening hosted by Kilkenny local authorities.
To date, 54 local schools have received the Green Flag award, which has resulted in over 151,840kg of waste being diverted away from the landfill each year.
Some 30 schools have completed their energy flag – the second flag in the programme – and this has resulted in a staggering energy reduction of 826,560 Kw/year, which has a collective cost saving of €104,229. This energy saving has resulted in an annual CO2 reduction of 444,689kg.
Seventeen schools have completed the third flag of the programme, which is based on the theme of water. It has been estimated that schools have achieved a collective reduction in water consumption of 3.8 million litres per year.
The county council supports the Green School programme by contributing financially to An Tasice Green School programme. The council provides local support to schools by means of the Environmental Awareness Officer (EAO) who completes a series of activities throughout the year to assist schools on their Green Schools path.
The EAO organizes an annual information seminar for green school co-ordinators and completes approximately 40 school visits throughout the year. The purpose of the school visits varies greatly as it can be to assist the green school committee, to complete recycling talks or to assess schools for the green flag award.
“The council’s support of the Green School Programme promotes sustainability within the county resulting in children learning important environmental life skills and sows a seed of environmental responsibility at a very early age,” said Environmental Awareness Officer Bernadette Moloney.
The Green School programme has had a tremendous uptake in the primary schools and in recent years more secondary schools are becoming involved. Initially focusing on primary and secondary schools, the programme is now being run in both pre-schools and in third-level institutions with the first green campus flag being awarded to University College Cork in 2010.