Green Homes

In your home, there are many small changes that you can make, to make a difference. It's the ideal place to put greener theories into practise. A green home minimises health risks and conserves energy. While bringing the concept of sustainable living into your home, you are educating your children, neighbours and friends. Irish householders are responsible for a quarter of Ireland ’s CO2 emissions.

Here are a few tips and hints to start you off:

Keep a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the tap each time you need a drink. It saves water and saves energy, as well as benefiting your health!

Replace regular light bulbs with compact flourescent light bulbs. CFL's use 60% less energy than a regular bulb.

Ditch the cordless phone - they use between two and three watts in both active and standby modes. Conventional phones use only a trickle of electricity, and that comes through the phone line.

Clean green - try using homemade cleaners rather than chemical cleaners. Adding hot water to vinegar produces a liquid that can be used as an effective cleaning agent. Avoid air fresheners as they release chemicals that can aggravate asthma. Instead boil your favourite herbs to create a natural scent in your home. 

Seal the windows and doors - nearly 50% of the average home's energy consumption goes on heating and much of the building′s heat loss is through its windows. Sealing windows is the preferred option but just hanging curtains (the heavier the better) helps. 

Insulate your attic and hot water tank (with a lagging jacket for €10-€15).

Three easy steps to composting - 1. Find a container. 2. Pick a patch of earth - as effective composting requires regular movement of materials to help them decompose evenly. 3. Fill your compost container - your compost pile should contain organic plant material such as vegetable scraps and eggshells.

A good next step is the website for the green homes environmental programme, which is developed by An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under their National Waste Prevention programme. There, you can fill out surveys to see how green your home is and monitor your progress over time, get helpful hints and devise action plans.

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