Blog Awards Ireland 2014 ~ we’ve been nominated!

Wow, what a wonderful way to start the weekend. I’ve just discovered that my blog has been nominated in Blog Awards Ireland 2014, not just in one but in four categories. I’m gobsmacked to say the least :) Last year I was a  finalist in the Eco/Green category and this year my blog has been nominated in the following categories.

Best Eco/Green Blog sponsored by ESB Ecars

Best Blog of an SME  sponsored by Mediabox

Best Technology/Science Blog ,

Best Mobile Compatible Blog sponsored by GSM Solutions

It is an honour to be listed in the company of  bloggers that I admire and whose blogs I read regularly.  This year sees a huge increase in blog nominations right across all categories and I’m delighted to see an increase especially in the Eco/Green category.  The awards are a great way to discover other bloggers from around Ireland that you might not otherwise have heard of and make connections with those that share similar interests.

Blog Awards Ireland 2014 ~ we've been nominated

Blog Awards Ireland 2014

For now we are in the Long List of nominations which we are delighted with. We will wait with baited breath to find out on the 22nd August  if we managed to get into the Short List.  The finalist judging will then take place and the winners of the coveted Blog Awards Ireland 2014 will be announced and presented with their well deserved awards in the Westgrove Hotel in Clane on 4th October.

Best of luck everyone and a very big thank you to our blog readers who felt that our blog deserved to be nominated.

Blog Awards Ireland ~ we've been nominated

Blog Awards Ireland 2014 ~ Credit: Earth First



Wordless Wednesday ~ Slaney view!

Wordless Wednesday ~

Wordless Wednesday ~ Slaney view!

Chooseday’s Choice ~ energy efficient or incandescent bulbs

By switching to more energy efficient light bulbs households can save energy, help the environment and reduce their energy bills. The EU phase-out of incandescent light bulbs began in 2009 when 100W  bulbs stopped being sold, it was then the turn of the 75W light bulb and finally all remaining clear incandescent bulbs on the market, including 40W and 25W varieties were phased out in September 2012.

Incandescent light bulbs are incredibly wasteful as 90% of the electricity they use produces heat rather than light. The use of traditional light bulbs can account for as much as one-fifth of household electricity consumption. The electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb costs 5 to 10 times the original purchase price of the bulb itself. The average home using all incandescent light bulbs spends up to €292 per year on light bulbs.

The average home with all incandescent light bulbs spends up to €292 per year on light bulbs. – See more at:
The average home with all incandescent light bulbs spends up to €292 per year on light bulbs. – See more at:
The average home with all incandescent light bulbs spends up to €292 per year on light bulbs. – See more at:
The average home with all incandescent light bulbs spends up to €292 per year on light bulbs. – See more at:

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) use 80% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs. The average home changing to all ‘A’ rated CFL’s could save up to €143.88 per year.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs)  use up to 85% less electricity than the standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 12 times as long as the traditional incandescent light bulbs.  They offer the advantages of CFLs — lower power consumption and longer lifetimes but without the downside of toxic mercury.

Although a little more costly than CFL’s you would make your money back in one year through energy savings.  A standard 50W Halogen spot light would cost about € 10.57 per year in electricity charges. If replaced with a 7W LED spotlight it would have a comparable running cost of just € 1.37 per year. *This represents a saving of €9.20 in electricity costs alone per bulb in just 1 year. 

This adds up to a substantial savings when you take into account the number of Halogen GU10 spot lights that are installed in kitchens, hallways and bathrooms of most homes today.

You Choose!

Energy efficient or incandescent bulbs

Energy efficient or incandescent bulbs

How many Halogen down lighters have you in installed in your home?

* based on an electricity cost of 19.31 cent per unit (kWh) and the light bulb switched on for 3 hours per day for 1 year.



Wordless Wednesday ~ The Old Mill Wheel!

Wordless Wednesday ~ The Old Mill Wheel!

Wordless Wednesday ~ The Old Mill Wheel!

Osbaston Hydropower Turbine and fish pass ~ Revisited!

On one of our recent visits to Wales we visited the Osbaston hydropower project on the river Monnow. The project consists of two 3.6m diameter Archimedes Screw hydropower  turbines. The turbines were designed to rotate at a speed of 28rpm, which produce a maximum power output of 150kW.  The estimated annual power output is 670,000kWh enough electricity to power over 150 homes and gives an estimated annual CO2 saving of 288 tonnes.

A small percentage of the power generated is used to power the owners home and the remainder is sold to the National Grid. The fish pass and hydropower scheme was offically opened in 2009.

Osbaston Hydropower and fish pass ~ Revisited!

Osbaston hydropower and fishpass opened in 2009

An earlier hydroelectric power station had been on the site from 1896 and provided Monmouth with electricity, using the weir and water channels of the forge, until 1953, shortly after the nationalisation of the power grid in 1947. Landowner Ronald Kear unearthed the foundations of a 110 year old hydropower station whilst working on his property and this prompted him to consider the prospect of building a new power station as a source of renewable energy.

IMG_4887 (1024x768)

The two 75kW Archimedean Screw hydropower turbines

Alongside the hydropower scheme is the Osbaston fish pass, built in 2008 by the Environment Agency Wales so that salmon could avoid the weir and spawn upstream. The following year migratory salmon were found 20 miles (32 km) above the fish pass. The fish pass allows river-spawning fish, such as salmon, to access an extra 125 miles of river – something which they had not been able to do since Osbaston Weir was put in place in the 18th century.


The Larinier style fishpass

The new fish pass also provided an opportunity to significantly improve the ecological quality of the water. Additional work completed by the Agency helped reduce the build up of sediment and provide freedom of movement for other species of fish, upstream and downstream. Environment Agency Wales is working to bring all rivers in Wales up to a ‘good’ standard by 2027 as required by the Water Framework Directive, a major environmental initiative to make Wales’ natural waters even better.


Looking up the fish pass

The fish counter has recorded several species of fish using the pass, including salmon which have not been observed in the Monnow upstream of Osbaston Weir in living memory. Not only is this positive in terms of biodiversity, but the establishment of a river as a salmon fishery can also bring major benefits to local communities through a growth in the leisure industry supported by angling.

Leat supplying the hydropower turbines with public footpath alongside

Leat supplying the hydropower turbines with public footpath alongside

Once again we see the Ancient power of Archimedes being used for hydropower generation because if it’s fish-friendly credentials. The Archimedean Screw turbine provides a fish-friendly alternative to conventional turbines, ideally suited to low-head (1m-10m) sites, and sites with fish protection issues. Extensive fish passage tests have conclusively demonstrated that the large water chambers and slow rotation of the Archimedean Screw allow fish of all sizes, and debris, safe passage through the turbine. As a result, the Environment Agency has agreed that no screening is required.

Sluice gate at Osbaston hydropower scheme

Sluice gate at Osbaston hydropower scheme

 If you are the owner of an old mill site or a potential hydro site or are a community group interested in developing a hydro project for community use please contact us.