The first meeting of the Green Flag committee took place on Wednesday 11th December 2013. In attendance was Nial O'Connor from Monaghan County Council environmental section. All classes in the school were represented, as well as parents, school staff, and Scotstown and Ballinode Tidy Towns groups. The new committee includes students Paul, Max, Jamie, Alicia, Matthew, Danielle, Emma and Sorcha; Jimmy Connolly from Scotstown Tidy Towns, Alice Daly and Madge Murphy from Ballinode Tidy Towns, parents Bernie McElwain and Marie McPhillips, Caretakers Freddie and Claire Carbin, and Sandra Meehan and Joanne Deery. It is intended to apply for the review of this Green Flag effort around March 2015. A lot of work has to be completed in the school before the next (spring) meeting, including auditing the equipment, lights and heaters in the school and reviewing the energy bills over the last year. The waste reduction efforts of the first Green Flag will continue, and the school is collecting waste batteries and mobile phones.
The first meeting of the new Green Schools committee in Urbleshanny N.S. will take place on Wednesday 11th December 2013 at 2.15pm in the school.
Step 1: Green School Committee A new green school committee will be set up. All classes will be represented on the committee.
Step 2: Review: Before any action on reducing the amount of energy we use in our school and homes, a checklist will be created of all aspects of the school's impact on the environment, in this case looking at energy. This checklist will lead us into the step 3.
Step 3: Action Plan In completing our review on energy we will be able to see where we are wasting energy in our homes and in our school. We will form our Action Plan based on the results of our energy audit and achieve our aim to stop wasting this energy and reduce overall the amount of energy that we use.
Step 4: Monitoring and Evaluating It will be important to monitor and evaluate the work we are doing to reduce energy so that we can ensure we are achieving our targets as set out in our Action Plan.
Step 5: Curriculum Work All pupils will learn about how we use energy in our lives as well as the importance of reducing the amount of energy we use.
Step 6: Informing and Involving All members of the school community will be kept informed of what is going on and be encouraged to contribute to the process. People will be made aware of our actions in the following ways:
Plans are underway to select a new Green Schools committee in Urbleshanny N.S., Scotstown, to compete for a second Green Flag for the school. The first flag was awarded earlier in 2013, and it was raised in September. A new committee representing all classes and staff is being formed in the school and Ballinode Tidy Towns group will be represented by two of it's members.
The 2nd Green Flag is based on reducing the amount of energy the school uses. It is important to make sure that the doors are closed, the lights and TVs are turned off when they are not needed. We make sure also that the computers are not on stand-by, it is amazing how much energy this will save. The pupils will hopefully do the same at home and save money for the parents. The activities are linked in the classroom to the 2 main types of energy, Renewable and Non Renewable energy. There is also learning about Kinetic, Electric and Chemical Energy. We now know after the terrible Earthquake in Japan, that we
need to switch from Nuclear Energy to Renewable sources like Wind, Solar and Wave Energy. Thanks to all the pupils, parents and teachers for the ongoing work. Going for the 2nd Green Flag doesn't mean we forget about the activiteis of the first green flag - reducing waste - these are continuing and we hope to be able to make very positive changes both environmentally and financially in the school.
Energy is the second theme that schools undertake during the Green-Schools programme. Fossil fuels, the source of much of our energy, are formed under intense pressure and heat over millions of years from the buried remains of plants and animals. By burning these fossil fuels to release heat from the chemical energy they contain, steam can be raised in a power station boiler. The heat and pressure energy in the steam is turned into work in a turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. However, by burning fossil fuels we are releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere faster than plants can absorb it. CO2 is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect; as more fuels are burnt, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 increases, causing the average global temperature to rise. Climate change affects the distribution of climatic regions, sea level changes and ultimately, the planet’s ability to support human communities. Burning fossil fuels also contributes to acid rain, which is implicated in the loss of wildlife in lakes and rivers, the reduction of land fertility and the destruction of trees. However, there are certain steps we can take to start on our way to reducing our energy consumption at home and in school. Energy surveys are a great way to identify the amount of energy used in the school, and can highlight areas where changes and improvements can be made. There are many simple low and no-cost tips that can be carried out to increase efficient use of energy.
As with litter and waste, there are four stages to tackling energy:
1. Analyse the problem: Before you even start to think about the solution you need to find out more about the problem. Carry out an energy audit by looking at past bills (i.e. electricity, gas, oil). Can you estimate the energy consumption of the school? (N.B. this will need to be measured in such a way that you can compare with the results of future monitoring). Are
there any areas around the school where energy is being lost unnecessarily? Surveys could be carried out to assess draughts and ventilation, windows and doors (are they being left open and releasing heat?), lighting and appliances (are they left on when they can be switched off?), radiators and thermostats (could room temperatures be lower?). What/where are the biggest sources of energy waste?
2. Devise an action plan: Once you understand the problem you have to think of ways to solve it. Try to involve as many people as possible. From that brainstorming list work out the sensible ideas. You should start with "no-cost" (i.e. "switch it off" campaign, adjusting
thermostats and heaters) and "low-cost" (replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs) solutions. If it can be shown that these actions have helped reduce energy consumption and costs, perhaps some of these savings can be reinvested in to some of more expensive solutions for energy reduction.
3. Measuring success: You must plan from the beginning how you will measure the success of your energy management. This should include some form of regular monitoring, which will be detailed in your action plan (i.e. how/when/who will carry it out). Remember also to compare like with like – energy consumption for February will probably be higher than the previous September, no matter what improvements and changes in awareness have been made during that time! When looking at electricity / oil consumption, try to measure your consumption per m2 of the school, or per student. Also, make sure to display the details and results of your monitoring– graphs and charts are excellent for visualising changes over time. You cannot manage what you do not measure.
4. Maintenance: The most difficult thing is maintaining the reduced energy consumption levels, in particular as it is not as visible an issue as litter and waste. You will know from your regular monitoring if and when changes in energy consumption (up or down) occur. As time goes on you may need to adjust your action plan to help maintain the success of your energy management, and to continually promote awareness.
Action plans decided by Green Schools committee - Reduce the amount of waste going to landfill
Contact Monaghan County Council about getting compost bin for school
School community are encouraged to bring lunch boxes instead of wrapped lunches
Non-compostable waste to be brought home
Bin Sheriff to monitor bins
Actions for parents - Collect used batteries for recycling
Collect old mobile phones (To be given to local Faith and Light community)
Improve quality of recycled materials in school bins -
Double sided photocopying, where possible.
Reduce photocopying by using visualiser or interactive whiteboard and the pupils copy
information, where possible.
Plastic bottles are reused
Bin sheriff checks that the recycling bin is being used appropriately (cartons and yoghurt pots are being washed and only recyclable items are put in, eg: no tissue) during weekly
The committee will investigate ways that the recycled paper is shredded and reused in some way (eg: as bedding for animals).
Action Plan-Reduction of litter in school
Weekly playground clean-up
Spring Clean (Twice a year) – The first Spring Clean will be carried out by Rang V on Friday 20th April 2012.
Poster competition – To be carried out in conjunction with Scotstown Tidy Towns Committee in May 2012
On 20th April 2012, 5th Class in Urbleshanny N.S. took part in the National Spring Clean as part of the Green Schools Project, which is ongoing within the school. The students were helped by parents and representatives from the Scotstown Tidy Towns Committee. The participants were provided with high visibility vests, litter pickers, gloves and bin bags before setting off to clean up the school grounds and the area surrounding the school. Well done to
Urbleshanny N.S registered for and started working on the Green Schools Project in November 2011. So far we have a set up our committee, carried out our environmental review, formed our action plan, and classes are completing curriculum work on an on-going basis. We will be starting the main aspects of the action plan immediately after the Easter holidays. The Green Schools Committee would like to find a way to re-use the paper that is usually recycled in the school (e.g.as bedding for animals, poultry etc.). If you are able to
help us with this matter, please contact the school on 047 89594.
Green-Schools is an international environmental education programme, environmental management system and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole school action for the environment. Unlike a once-off project, it is a long-term programme that introduces participants (students, teachers, parents and the wider community) to the concept of an environmental management system. However, Green-Schools is far more than just an environmental management system. 2 members of Ballinode Tidy Towns committee are involved with the Green Flag effort of Urbleshanny N.S. in Scotstown village. There are 7 steps involved in earning a Green Flag for the school. http://www.greenschoolsireland.org/seven-steps.90.html.
Currently, no school in the locality has a Green Flag. A committee was set up in November 2011, comprising of representatives of all classes in the school, teachers, parents, school caretakers, tidy town committee representatives from Scotstown and Ballinode villages, and Niall O'Connor from Monaghan County Council environmental section in an advisory capacity.