Smart school could teach us all a lesson
IN the smartest school in the country, clever begins with east-facing windows to capture the rays of the early morning sun for classrooms and save on fuel bills.
In fact, it starts the evening before when the airtight building refuses to allow that day's heat leak out.
It is all part of a living lesson in energy efficiency that now comes naturally to the 100 pupils and five teachers at Scoil Mhuire, Moynalty, Co Meath.
The new four-classroom school makes use of the most modern green technologies to cut its energy usage.
At €1.8m, the school cost about 40pc more than a similar-sized traditional school -- but it is hoped the that lessons learned on energy efficiencies will benefit all schools over time.
The 2005 plans for the new school allowed for cabling for six computers at the back of each classroom, but by 2012 PCs are already old hat.
So parents and supporters put their hands in their pockets to help equip pupils with iPads, which will make traditional textbooks redundant for history, geography and science lessons from September.
The school shares many of the energy saving features now employed in all new schools, such as rainwater harvesting to reduce reliance on the mains, and solar panels to generate electricity.
But it goes well beyond those standards with a heat recovery system that reduces demand to about a quarter of similar sized school.
Stuffy classrooms are a thing of the past with a ventilation system using classroom sensors that ensure that stale air is expelled -- and the stale air heats cool air travelling in around the ducts through which it is escaping.
Up-to-the-minute information about the rainwater harvesting, energy usage, classroom temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels and outside weather conditions can be read on a touch screen at the school entrance, and also in classrooms.