Re: Re: 2006 Highlights

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I think 2006 was a year in which sustainability was really brought to the fore and highlighted as the critical issue that it is in its role in shaping our futures on this island – raised both on this site and gradually creeping into the public consciousness via the media, and for the first time in a non-tokenistic way.

As mentioned numerous times before, one way in which the State could be leading the field in this respect, and permeating through to the crucial up-coming generations in such a direct way, is through the enormous school rebuilding and refurbishment programme currently underway – and yet is failing utterly dismally. These could be amongst the most efficient, sustainable and architecturally innovative buildings in the state, whilst positively fostering younger generations in such environments.
Similarly regarding the conservation of older school buildings, especially 19th century schoolhouses and those built by the OPW in the early 20th century – again we have a shockingly miserable record in this respect, whatever about the monstrous edifices that pass as ‘state of the art’ extensions.

If there is one thing I would like to see in 2007, it is a change in direction on behalf of the Departments of Education and Environment in this respect. It is criminal the state is not availing of this fantastic opportunity to imbue younger generations with a decent design and environmental sense; likewise the appalling example that we are setting in standards of conservation. As the foremost civic building in most towns and villages, these schools could stand as beacons of good design, conservation and sustainability amongst the serried ranks of suburbia – most featuring playing fields ideal for geothermal, and heated and powered in a manner highly suited to the rewards of economies of scale offered by timber combustion and wind power.

All of this simply must change.

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