Excellence in Sustainability – Green Growth in Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence
The full-pitch air dome that is at the heart of Connacht GAA’s Centre of Excellence in Bekan, Co. Mayo was completed in September 2020, the culmination of a project many years in the development. Even before the first sod was turned on site, sustainability and respect for local and community heritage were at the heart of the Centre of Excellence planning. In 2008 four acres of the Bekan site were planted with ash trees and the fairy fort area on the site was secured. And it seems that a_n lucht sí _ have indeed given their blessing to the development, as the Centre of Excellence project has gone from strength to strength, in doing so setting the example for the sustainable development and operation of regional sport facilities.
The Centre of Excellence collects rainwater from its main roof area, which is then stored in an underground 72,000 litre tank, the toilets are now fed from this rainwater system, reducing water bills and the pressures on water supply. Movement detectors and low flow valves further enhance the water efficiency across the Centre.
Energy efficiency measures throughout the site include a recent LED upgrade, a full building management system to manage energy usage and lighting sensors throughout the facility, while there are plans in place for a new solar installation and a number of e-car charge points.
The Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence isn’t only a sports centre, it is also a community facility and the Centre’s team are looking forward to welcoming school and community groups to explore the facility and to help the team in its future sustainability and community projects. The most recent biodiversity project on the Bekan site is being undertaken in partnership with a number of local schools while the Centre’s management are collaborating with the local bee club in plans for the installation of hives onsite.
Bekan Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence is one of two regional grounds, along with O’Moore Park in Laois, participating in Phase 1 of the GAA’s new Green Club Project. The Green Club project is working with the two regional grounds, 45 clubs for the island of Ireland, the local authorities, through the Climate Action Regional Offices, and a number of expert partners to develop a Green Club Toolkit to support clubs and grounds in implementing green and sustainable actions. For more information, please visit www.gaa.ie/greenclub