Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence
In January 2020, the County & City Management Association (CCMA), on behalf of local authorities, and the GAA have pledged to work together to lead their communities in promoting sustainability and climate action.
The partnership capitalises on the leadership roles both organisations have within their communities, and the potential they have to engage with citizens of all ages to promote sustainable local development, environmental awareness and climate action.
The collaboration builds on the GAA’s status as a Sustainable Development Goal Champion and aligns with local government commitments under the National Climate Action Plan and Local Authorities’ Climate Action Charters.
A steering group, composed of representatives from the local authority sector, the GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association are developing various initiatives, such as a Green Club toolkit that will be focused on the key action areas of Energy & Water Efficiency, Biodiversity, Waste Management & Plastic Use and Transport.
The Green Clubs Programme demonstrates that at its core, the GAA is a community-based organisation grounded in place. The project supports hard-working volunteers in future-proofing their club facilities while contributing to the sustainability of their community from an environmental and cultural perspective. It also demonstrates the GAA’s commitment as an official SDG Champion of the Irish government.
Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence
Connacht GAA have worked to make their Centre of Excellence also live up to its name as far as sustainability and being kind to their local environment is concerned.
This is why they’re one of two regional grounds participating in Phase 1 of the GAA’s Green Club Project.
Connacht GAA’s commitment to this ethos was apparent even before the Centre was officially opened back in 2012, as four acres of the site were planted with ash trees in 2008.
And when the Centre of Excellence was then built it was designed to collect rainwater from its main roof area which could then be stored underground in a 72,000 litre tank.
Making best use of that natural water-supply was a key component of the most recent upgrade of the facilities when Connacht GAA embarked on a project to improve the energy efficiency of their Centre of Excellence. They implemented a water meter processing program and used rainwater harvesting to feed into all the toilets. They also put in additional sensors to manage the water.
They also upgraded the lighting so now all the lighting on site is LED lighting, bar the pitches. They put sensors on all of the public lighting and have a platform that will take in all their electrical, water, and gas and diesel usage into one platform so we can begin to educate their staff to hopefully bring in some behaviour change in the long-term which will have a further impact.
They are also planting native trees and bushes, building bug hotels, and putting up some educational signage and literature about what they're doing. The grounds are also home to bee-hives as part of that programme.
Their hope is to build a solar farm on site that would generate all of their day-time usage of electricity and probably 90 to 100 per cent of the total daily usage in the summer months.
The Centre strives to become a technology centre for all the clubs that take part in the Green Club Programme, so as the clubs look to make improvements in the area of sustainability they can visit the Centre to see how they have done things and learn from them.