Tipperary School Boy Wins IAF Inaugural Award

Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) was delighted to announce the winner of their Special Award for the 2017 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which was at the RDS, Dublin.

Joseph O’Donoghue from St. Joseph’s College, Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary was the winner of the inaugural 2017 Special Award for his project “Solar Sleeve”. His teacher is Mary Gorey (Chemistry & Physics).

Tipperary School Boy Wins IAF Inaugural Award Joseph’s project sought to double the functionality of existing wind turbines and grid connections using photovoltaic cells. The inspiration for his project, came from his dad!

The idea for my project came about when I heard my dad complain that the turbines on his land were not producing electricity because there was no wind. I brainstormed for a while and came up with the idea of doubling the functionality of the turbines by installing photo-voltaic cells to the tower. This would mean that even if there was no wind during the day, the photo-voltaic cells could harvest the light and therefore make electricity. I told my dad about the idea and he said it was great, not just because it would utilise space on the turbine, but it would save a lot of money because of the already in place grid connection.”


The Award was for projects based around the theme of “Sustainable Design and Innovation in the Built Environment”, it was presented by the IAF and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and funded under the Government Policy on Architecture 2009-2015 implementation programme.

Joseph said “The main purpose of the ‘Solar Sleeve’ is to make the energy production from Wind Turbines and the existing grids on site more productive. The reason why it would be doubling the functionality, is because not only would the wind turbine be harvesting wind energy but it would be harvesting solar energy too”.

Nathalie Weadick, Director of the IAF said “Joseph was a truly deserving winner for our inaugural Special Award at BTYSTE 2017. By creating this award, the IAF wanted to carve out a place for architecture amongst the STEM disciplines at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, showing that scientific, engineering and technological applications go hand in hand with architectural practice in sustainably shaping the future of our built environment. Joseph’s project exemplifies the type of research that will contribute to an increased awareness of sustainable design and practice-based learning about architecture at second level.”

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