Quick Environmental Tips
As the old Irish saying goes ‘Níl neart gan cur le chéile’ – there’s no real strength without co-operation. If each of us makes some small changes, together we can play our part in helping Ireland to fulfil its international commitments in the fight against global climate change. Here is a list of some very simple changes you can make to help tackle the biggest environmental challenge we have ever faced.
Here is a list of some very simple changes you can make to help tackle the biggest environmental challenge we have ever faced.
- Turn your thermostat down by 1ºC. You won’t feel any difference, but you’ll notice a very welcome difference when the fuel bill arrives! If you do feel a slight coolness, wear another layer. It doesn’t have to be big woolly jumper, just another top perhaps.
- Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases. Electrical appliances, such as washing machines, tumble dryers and fridges carry clear energy efficiency-labels so choose the most efficient if you are buying a new one.
- Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. You are simply wasting money if you don’t insulate the tank in your hot press.
- Use less hot water. It takes a lot of energy to heat water. You can use less hot water by taking a shower instead of a bath and by installing a low flow showerhead to minimise water use.
- Use a clothesline instead of a tumble dryer whenever possible. Even when the sun isn’t shining you can dry clothes on the clothesline outdoors or on a clotheshorse indoors with no extra energy usage.
Turn off electronic devices you are not using: simply turning off your television, DVD player, radio, and computer completely at the on/off switch when you’re not using them will save energy.
- Unplug electronic devices from the wall when you are not using them: even when turned off, things like hairdryers, mobile phone chargers and televisions use energy.
- Only run your dishwasher when there is a full load: washing the dishes in a fully loaded dishwasher uses less energy than washing them in the sink on a piecemeal basis.
- Insulate your home: properly insulating your walls and ceilings can save up to 25% of your home heating bill.
- Make sure to recycle at home: you can save on greenhouse gas emissions by recycling some the waste your household creates.
- Buy recycled paper products: it takes 80% less energy to make recycled paper and it prevents the loss of forests worldwide.
- Get a home energy audit: The EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) was adopted into Irish law as Regulation in 2006. It contains provisions that are aimed at improving the energy performance of all buildings, both new and old.
- Plant a tree: over its lifetime, a single tree will absorb one tonne of carbon dioxide.
- Switch to green power: you can switch your energy supplies to energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind.
- Install solar panels on your roof or a heat pump in your garden: solar thermal panels can give you lots of hot water for free even in winter while a heat pump acts like a fridge in reverse and draws and concentrates heat from under your garden into your home.
- Buy locally grown and produced foods: the distance that food is transported between farm and plate is a cause of growing concern. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community.
- Buy fresh food instead of frozen: frozen foods take ten times more energy to produce.
- Support local farmers’ markets: local farmers’ markets reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you.
- Avoid heavily packaged products: you reduce your energy footprint by minimising waste packaging.
- Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, cycling, carpooling or using public transport: on average, a car emits about three tonnes of carbon dioxide in a year. Many of our journeys are short, so why not walk or cycle instead.
- Start a carpool with your co-workers: single occupancy cars are the least efficient way to travel. It might be slightly inconvenient at times but, with a little effort, carpooling can significantly reduce your energy usage and at the same time save everyone money.
- Keep your car fully serviced: regular maintenance helps improve fuel efficiency and reduces emissions.
- Check your tyres weekly to make sure they’re properly inflated: proper inflation can improve fuel consumption by more than 3%.
- When changing your car, choose a fuel efficient one: fuel efficient and hybrid cars cost less to run and generate less greenhouse gas emissions.
- Try working from home: teleworking can help you drastically reduce the number of kilometres you drive every week.
Fly less: huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions are produced from air travel. So, by flying less often, you can significantly reduce your emissions. You can also offset your air travel by investing in renewable energy projects