Travel Greener

Our day-to-day lives inevitably involve transport. With that comes a certain amount of environmental impact. Along with changes in our homes and in our gardens, changes to our travelling habits can be one of the most beneficial ways of striving to live sustainably.

The Car Habit

Breaking the habit of jumping in the car for the smallest of journeys is crucial if you want to pursue a sustainable life. Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector in Ireland have increased by 156% since 1990 due to a big rise in the amount of people having a car. It is estimated that over 60% of our trips are less than two miles.

Read these tips below and think how you can do without your car:

To reduce your carbon footprint try to walk or cycle to destinations. Buying and using a bike is one of the most green transport things you can do. It only takes 30 minutes to cycle 6km, no matter the traffic. For more information on cycling campaigns visit the Dublin Cycling Campaign website.

Make an effort to walk your children to school. Why not set up a school walking group, with parents taking turns taking the group to the school gates? It is good for you as well - a 20 minute walk can burn as much as 125 calories.

Work out if you can take public transport to your venue of choice. If you are dedicated to using public transport you should look at the website for the taxsaver commuter ticket scheme.

Ask your boss if you can work from home. This will save you the commute and help the environment we are trying to sustain.

Share the journey -  Ireland’s first car-sharing club was started Cork in 2008. It is a pay-as-go service that provides a similar service to car hire. The cars are parked beside your home or workplace, and you can take them for short periods. For information visit the gocar website.

Driving better

If driving just can't be helped then take in these ideas to see how you can drive better, to save you money and most importantly help provide a sustainable existence for society.

  • Plan your journey ahead of time in order to avoid traffic and take the most efficient route. AA routefinder website should help you.

  • Whilst driving move into a higher gear as soon as possible, this saves money and reduces emissions.

  • Maintain and service your car regularly to increase fuel economy and lower emissions. This includes having your tyres at the correct air pressure.

  • Choose a car with a smaller engine capacity or with the best fuel efficiency. In general, the smaller the car, the lower the CO2 emissions will be.

  • Use the vents inside the car instead of having the windows open. Having your front window half open increases your fuel consumption by 5% at 80km/hr. Using air conditioning is also notorious for using up energy.

  • Take off your roof rack and don't carry unnecessary weight in the car – it increases your car’s fuel consumption.

  • Drive steadily to save fuel and wear and tear on brakes and gears.

  • Stuck in traffic? It's probably more fuel efficient to switch your engine off, if you won't be moving for a while.
  • It might seem like common sense but you should tighten the fuel cap as much as you can so that no fuel can evaporate.

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