Cuts that Don’t Hurt: How to Save Millions in Our Schools
3 Jun 2014
Dublin Friends of the Earth
For immediate release
3 June 2014
Cuts that Don't Hurt: How to Save Millions in Our Schools
Campaign group presenting to Oireachtas Education Committee on Wednesday 4 June
Millions of euros are being wasted in our schools on the costs of heating, computers and lights, because there's no effective national strategy in place to make energy savings across the board - and free up money that's so desperately needed for teaching resources.
That's the message to be given to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education at a hearing on Wednesday 4 June @ 1pm, when campaign group Dublin Friends of the Earth presents its research on school energy costs to the committee and asks for its support on the issue. Cutting energy waste doesn't hurt services, pay or parents' pockets, but instead benefits everyone.
Energy bills in our 4,000 schools are estimated at up to €80 million a year. The government's policy is to reduce this by 33% in 2020, but progress is slow even on the first 20% that can be achieved by no-cost or low cost means. Individual schools in An Taisce's Green Schools scheme have saved thousands of euros a year through simple, targeted actions. But Green Schools does not have the remit or funding to support all schools to continue with such actions every year. And the Department of Education has not even told most schools about its own Energy in Education programme, run with SEAI, the Sustainable Energy Authority.
We're in the grip of two crises, financial and climate. Reducing energy waste in the public sector helps on both fronts. But the government's approach in schools is to hope for the best and to leave it to a voluntary scheme to do the heavy lifting. Dublin FOE's believes that's not good enough. After all, cuts to vital services such as special needs assistants are not voluntary. So the group is asking the Oireachtas Committee to support a requirement on all school boards to have an energy management plan, with a national strategy and resources to ensure implementation. Cutting energy waste could free up €27m a year for schools' real needs.
For interviews and information please contact Anna Heussaff on 087 204 0743 or Nicola Winters on 087 293 7884.
Notes for the editor
Dublin Friends of the Earth (Dublin FoE) is a local campaign group affiliated to Friends of the Earth Ireland.
Dublin FoE's written submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education (and a 1-page summary) is online here:
For more on Dublin FoE's campaign on public sector energy waste, see our recent opinion piece on the Journal.ie: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/climate-change-carbon-emissions-public-builings-1415887-Apr2014/.