Minister launches schools energy initiative

On 7th September 2009, The Minister for Education & Science, Mr. Batt O’Keeffe T.D. officially launched the Bord Gáis sponsored European Energy Saving Award (EESA) competition 2009/10 for secondary schools in Ireland and the related Intelligent Use of Energy At School initiative (IUSES).

Minister O’Keeffe, John Mullins, Chief Executive of Bord Gáis and Noel Duffy from the Clean Technology Centre at Cork Institute of Technology (who are co-ordinating the initiative in Ireland as part of the EU programme – Intelligent Energy Europe), were joined at the launch in Bord Gáis headquarters, Cork by about 50 invited guests including dignitaries, teachers, educational stakeholders, environmentalists, energy specialists, NGOs as well as transition year students from Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, and Nagle Community College, Mahon Cork (who will be participating in the initiative during this school year).

The IUSES 2009/10 project is an educational programme that aims to show secondary school students the basic principles of energy efficiency and give a comprehensive guide to saving energy in their everyday lives via an interactive educational and experimental programme.  The European Energy Saving Award (EESA), as part of the IUSES project, recognises schools and students that are enthusiastic and active in bringing about reduced energy consumption and who can demonstrate how simple changes can make a difference.

Speaking at the official launch of the EESA competition and IUSES initiative, Minister O’Keeffe said: “Energy consumption is a staple component of all our daily lives.  Preparing breakfast, charging our phones, travelling to school, listening to music, using the internet – these are typical examples of how we use energy.  Intelligent Use Of Energy At School and the European Energy Saving Awards competition will encourage students to reflect on their everyday activities and make small adjustments that, together, will have an impact on our carbon footprint.  The competition will showcase students’ ingenuity, talent and ability as they compete at national and European levels.”

Also speaking at the launch, Bord Gáis Chief Executive, John Mullins said: “Bord Gáis is proud to sponsor the IUSES Educational and Awards Initiative in Ireland through our Alternative Energy Research and Development Fund.  As a leader in promoting and encouraging energy efficiency at all levels, Bord Gáis is delighted to support an initiative which sows the seed of energy awareness in energy consumers and procurers of the future.  This generation will dictate the direction of our energy use and its ultimate impact on our environment.”

Commenting on its role as the Irish Partner for the initiative, Noel Duffy, Clean Technology Centre, CIT said: “Clean Technology Centre is delighted to co-ordinate the IUSES programme and EESA awards on behalf of the Intelligent Energy Europe.  In line with its principles and objectives, Clean Technology Centre views the programme as a perfect opportunity to reach out to secondary schools to promote actions that will contribute to our energy sustainability and reduce our negative impact on the environment.”

The award will comprise three categories: Schools, Individual students & Videos/Media (individual and/or group).  The competition consists of two qualifying rounds: national winners, where for each category, three winners will be selected in every participating country; and European winners, where the winner of each category from all 14 participating countries will compete for the European Award. In Ireland, the IUSES project and EESA competition are coordinated by the Clean Technology Centre at Cork Institute of Technology, in association with the Intelligent Energy Europe programme and Sustainable Energy Europe.

IUSES is currently developing a behaviour-oriented educational kit, supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme and sponsored in Ireland by Bord Gáis, which includes: handbooks, multimedia animations and experiment tool-kit. The educational kit will be available to participating secondary schools and teachers and will engage students in all stages of the project.
Application to participate in the national awards process of the EESA competition should be submitted by 15th December, 2009.  Further details on the competition, application process, prizes and the educational resources are available on or through Clean Technology Centre, CIT at 021 4344864 or email

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