Ireland’s Microsoft unit announced Monday, September 28th, that they’re working with a utility firm on a green energy plan. The scheme will involve implementing solar panels that connect to the internet on the school’s rooftops.
SSE Airtricity, Ireland’s leading renewable energy provider, backs the project that involves 27 different schools spread across the provinces of Munster, Leinster, and Connaught. Kinsale Community School is one of the 27 schools benefiting from the project and has already received the installation.
Fergal McCarthy, Kinsale Community School’s principal says,
“Participation in this project is a natural next step for Kinsale Community School and our students. Its sustainable focus is very important to us not only because it will reduce our costs and carbon footprint but also because it will enable us to educate our students about the positive impact that innovative technology is having on our school, as well as the wider Kinsale community. We’re really thrilled to have been selected to participate in this project.”
Internet of things technology, which is the network of physical objects embedded with software, will be utilized to connect the panels to a Microsoft platform that uses the cloud. Digitally connected screens within the school allow students to track the energy usage data in real-time.
If you’re a big Microsoft fan, you’ll appreciate them even more after reading that their investment of nearly 1 million euro, part of the Climate Innovation Fund, will fund the program.
While the solar panels will help schools offset carbon dioxide emissions, there are even larger pros to consider. The way in which the software tools can track the energy generated by the solar panels means that Microsoft, and other corporations, will be able to aggregate and analyze real-time data, reduce the electric power grid’s carbon footprint, and achieve sustainability goals in a way like never before.
Other Countries Doin’ It Right
Harnessing renewable energy on top of schools is not unique to Ireland or SSE Airtricity, and this solar panel school project is not the first of its kind. However, the hope is that by leading by example, many other communities will follow suit.
A Norwegian firm, Veidekke, did a very similar green, solar panel-based project earlier this year for the city of Oslo.
Additionally, the University of Plymouth in the U.K. is one of many institutions to use a managing system that monitors lighting and energy use within the building.
The institution says that the Building Management System, or BMS, “controls 95 percent of the campus buildings, ensuring intelligent control of the building systems to make sure there’s no energy waste.”
Green learning environments have developed over time without solely relying on tech as well. Just last year, a 200-foot long pollution barrier was constructed at a school in northern England. The concept behind this specific development was to act as an air pollution filter from road traffic; it is referred to as “BREATHE.” Fitting name for an incredible step in the right direction.
To Sum It Up
Renewable energy in construction is something that immediately affects every single person around us, so it’s no wonder why I found this topic both extremely relevant and exciting. Like the series Down to Earth, I think looking at other countries, communities, and companies and considering ways to emulate their conservation efforts is wildly important. It allows us to see how something is working for them and consider each moving part involved if we were to adopt the concept in our own environment.
In this case, I think, we’re given the opportunity to consider how utilizing green energy and smart tech to better the environment, keep a more measurable eye on waste, and empower students to be more energy-conscious can impact our world now and for future generations. Bringing youth the education and awareness is one of the first steps we can take to ensure they bring healthy mindsets and actions into the future of protecting the environment.
There are nothing but wins for the community in these examples. Kudos, Ireland, and the many other countries doing their part in using the smart tech construction advancements surrounding us to better our earth.
Drop a comment to discuss ways in which you’re being earth-conscious, what you liked about this piece, what info you felt it was missing, or ways companies near and far can harness technology to better protect the environment! Let’s start building healthy habits and coming up with creative ways to combat waste. Share with a friend who’d appreciate how awesome tech can be.