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.



Lowna Mill goes ‘green’ and cuts carbon footprint with a giant water wheel!

Lowna  has been in the same family since as far back as 1790 as a farm, mill and a tannery. During the first World War it stopped being used as a tannery and  it reverted to its previous use as a small mill and hill farm where a large water wheel generated the electricity. In 2006 the owners decided to renovate the farmhouse at Lowna to bring it into the 21st Century!  Work was last carried out on the farmhouse in the early 60’s so as you can imagine it was in desperate need of modernisation as it was a lovely old but very cold house, and took a lot of energy to only partially heat it.

Photo Credit: Track to Lowna

Track to Lowna Mill ~ Photo Credit: Gordon Hatton

The old water wheel was used to grind corn, drive machinery and move hides around – even generate its own electricity before the National Grid arrived in 1952. It had always been an ambition to replace the old water wheel which was in place for two hundred years, using  the old infrastructure already in place.

Site of the original waterwheel

Site of the original waterwheel with old infrastructure in place

With grant aid from the North York Moors National Park Sustainable Development Fund a new water wheel generating all the electricity for the farm, farmhouse and two cottages was installed. With an available head of 2m and a capacity of 305l/s the new water wheel was designed and installed by Mannpower Consulting Ltd specialists in hydropower turbines. With a diameter of 4400mm and a maximum output of 2.6kW the annual output is estimated to be 15,968kWh and an annual CO2 saving of 7 tonnes. Excess electricity is sold to the National grid. The water wheel generates the electricity for the two cottages and the farmhouse with excess being sold to the national grid.

Installing the waterwheel ~ Photo Credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

Installing the water wheel ~ Photo Credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

The  two barn-conversion holiday cottages had been renovated in previous years, with their heat retaining insulation and double glazing, the owners realised that the farm house had to be tackled from the bottom up! Local craftsmen were employed to carry out the work beginning with the demolition of an old extension to the rear of the dwelling. The old stone and a lot of the other existing original materials were reused within the building of the new structure.

New waterwheel installed in the site of the original waterwheel

New water wheel, generator and gearbox installed

Making the building as energy efficient as possible was a priority for the owners. Having spent years in the old structure with soaring energy bills they realised that now was the time to go as ‘green’ as they possibly could. All the new windows were double-glazed and a new plumbing system was installed using an efficient boiler and condensing water cylinder which used much smaller amounts of energy to retain and move hot water around. Dual-flushing toilets that use less water and a new electrical system and low-energy fittings were installed and energy-efficient A-rated electrical appliances were bought.

Both cottages and the farmhouse have had huge investment in energy saving insulation.  At least 60% of the lighting in the farmhouse uses low-energy bulbs and as lamps and fittings are replaced in the cottages they are being converted to low-energy alternatives. All products and services are sourced  locally and there is a policy of encouraging guests to use the local transport or walk and leave their car behind, energy efficiency, recycling and reusing is implemented wherever possible.

Farndale wild Daffodils, Kirkbymoorside ~ Photo Credit:  Rogeruk ©

Farndale wild Daffodils, Kirkbymoorside ~ Photo Credit: Rogeruk ©

Visitors are encouraged to walk and enjoy the fabulous daffodil walk at Farndale. The beautiful valley of Farndale lies at the heart of the North York Moors. Each spring, its glorious daffodils put on one of nature’s most spectacular shows – a dazzling display of colour that carpets the meadows and river banks along a seven-mile stretch of the River Dove.  The petite wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) is one of the native plants and is protected within the Farndale Local Nature Reserve, established in 1955 to safeguard the valley’s famous flowers.

Lowna Mill

Are you the owner of an old mill or mill site that had or still has an existing water wheel? Would you like to generate your own electricity and live a more sustainable lifestyle? Why wait any longer, contact us today and we’ll help you on the road to a ‘green’ future.


Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme – Free Energy Efficiency Improvements For Your Home

In Budget 2012 the Winter Fuel allowance payment period was cut from 32 weeks to 26 weeks. This equates to a cut of €20 a week for 6 weeks – or €120. The fuel allowance is currently paid to people over 66 and on low incomes. With the decrease in fuel allowance and the increase in fuel prices more and more home owners are finding it difficult to afford to heat their homes.

Heat Loss in a typical home

The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme (BEWH), administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), funds energy efficiency improvements in the homes of the elderly and vulnerable, making the homes more comfortable, healthier and more cost effective to run.  The scheme is available to non-Local Authority owner occupied homes constructed before 2002. The owner of the property has also to be in receipt of one of the

  • Fuel Allowance as part of the National Fuel Scheme
  • Job Seekers allowance for over six months and with children under 7 years of age
  • Family income support

Landlords can avail of grants from Better Energy Homes if they have tenants in, or at risk of, energy poverty.

Homes are surveyed to see what energy efficiency measures are needed and then the appropriate steps are taken to make the home more energy efficient. The service is provided at no cost to the household and the measures currently available under the scheme include attic insulation, cavity wall insulation, draught proofing of doors and windows, installation of lagging jackets and low energy light bulbs and also provides energy advice to the householders.

Warm project – Courtesy of Wexford Local Development

The services are provided by a panel of SEAI appointed non-profit community based Organisations, Local Development Companies and a panel of SEAI appointed private contractors. The Community Based Organisations or Contractor installers are assigned to a household depending on their geographic location. Energy efficient measures are delivered to the highest quality assurance standards. Inspections are carried out on a sample of homes completed to ensure the standards are maintained.

To apply contact the Better Energy Warmer Homes helpdesk on 1800 250 204 or email

Wexford Local Development

Alternatively if you live in Wexford you can contact Wexford Local Development as they operate this scheme under the banner of the Warm Project. Contact details and application form can be found here. Since the inception of this project they’ve made Winters warmer for well over 2,500 households. A study some years ago found many people, particularly elderly, suffered health problems due to  draughty and damp houses. The Warm Project addresses this issue. If you qualify for the fuel allowance, own your own home and it was built before 2002, you qualify for WLD’s retrofitting scheme.

With the weather turning colder we would urge everyone to keep an eye on their elderly or vulnerable neighbours and if you think they qualify for this scheme why not help them to take the steps necessary to have a warmer home this Winter.

‘Connect with Energy’ initiative – Monday 11th – Friday 15th June 2012

South Dublin County Council are hosting  ‘Connect with Energy’,  an event aimed at providing advice and support to homes and businesses on how to save energy and money as well as create new job opportunities. The event is supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE).

With the purpose of supporting and engaging South Dublin homeowners, businesses, schools and other stakeholders in reducing their energy costs, saving money and creating jobs, SDCC is hosting a ‘Connect with Energy’ initiative from Monday 11th to Friday 15th June 2012 in ‘The Big Picture’ exhibition venue in Tallaght Town Centre, located beside the LUAS red line terminus.

This initiative will comprise an interactive energy centre in the Council’s ‘Big Picture’ multimedia venue; suppliers of energy related goods and services in the County will be available to meet with business people, homeowners, individuals interested in learning more about how they can save money on energy consumption within their businesses, workplaces, homes and other premises.

5kW Windturbine – residential, farm and commercial applications

The ‘Connect with Energy’ initiative will be launched on the morning of Monday 11th June 2012. Minister Pat Rabbitte, Mayor Caitríona Jones and County Manager, Philomena Poole will launch the event.

The event has been organised as part of SDCC’s commitment to acting as a focal point for energy efficiency and is also represented by current involvement in a range of energy projects and initiatives. The two major programmes currently being undertaken by SDCC are the EU Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) funded Leadership for Energy Action and Planning (LEAP) project and the Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) Programme supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The (LEAP) project has a two year timescale and involves SDCC and eight other local authority partners across the EU. LEAP aims to increase the ability of EU local authorities to act as mentors in the promotion of sustainable energy measures in the local economy and so take a leading role in the move towards a low-carbon local economy. The key output of LEAP is the preparation of a countywide, cross sectoral Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), which will include a series of short, medium and long term actions addressing energy in South Dublin County to 2020 and beyond.

Solar Photovoltaic

The ‘Connect with Energy’ event is a key milestone in that process. The event will also showcase SDCC’s own track record in piloting and developing sustainable energy measures.

Following a competitive bid process, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) designated Tallaght as one of three new exemplar Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) in Ireland. This programme, to operate for a five year period from the beginning of 2012, aims to develop a series of Irish communities as ‘living laboratories’ to establish a culture of energy innovation, by carrying out locally focused projects to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Solar Thermal

The week long ‘Connect with Energy’ event will comprise exhibitions and targeted workshops. Energy advisers for homes and businesses will also be available during the event. A full programme of events will be advertised in the SDCC area during the coming weeks. All workshops and consultations will be registered events.

Mayor Caitríona Jones has welcomed the announcement of the event as an opportunity for local businesses and homeowners to become more energy efficient and reduce their energy costs. This will improve business competitiveness and job creation in South Dublin.

Energy Efficiency

Further information is available from the South Dublin Energy Team  or 01 4149000 ext. 2389 or go to website and follow link for Connect with Energy.

Click here to view or download the ‘Connect with Energy’ Brochure

To register for one of the free workshops, click on its title in calendar below: A description of each workshop is contained in each individual registration page.


Monday11th June Tuesday12th June Wednesday13th June Thursday14th June Friday 15th June
Venue A (Big Picture)
09 .00 -10.00 Official Launch Eco Evolution‘Renewable Energy technologies: Wind, Solar, Hydro.. Power Perfector‘After initial staff training & behavioural savings have been achieved how to achieve further energy/ cost savings’.
10.30 – 11.30 Official Launch Power Perfector‘Voltage Power Optimisation: The Opportunities for Businesses’ Carillion Energy Services            ‘The energy efficient home’ Carillion      Energy Services ‘Reduce Your Home Energy Costs’ AVA SafelightSafeLight: Stand Alone Self Sufficient Street Lighting
12.00 – 13.00 Cylon‘Realtime Energy Management: The Benefits for your Business’ Cylon‘Realtime Energy Management: The Benefits for your Business’ Bord Gais ‘Energy at Home – Benefits of Heating Controls’ Integrated Engineering Consultancy Ltd‘How to Reduce Business Cost in Lighting & Heating? Windsor Motors ‘Electric Cars – going much further for far less with the Nissan Leaf’
14.00 – 15.00 Windsor Motors ‘Electric Cars – going much further for far less with the Nissan Leaf’ Save Energy 4 You ‘Light Years Ahead’ Windsor Motors‘Electric Cars – going much further for far less with the Nissan Leaf’ B & Q‘Do it yourself: B&Q’s low cost energy measures at home’
16.00 – 17.00 SDCC‘A Council grapples with energy’ SDCC‘Valhalla Housing – Approaching Passiv’ SDCC‘Building Refurbishment : Achieving Value, Economies and Performance from Energy Retrofit’ SDCC‘Ballyroan Library: A Passiv-standard civic building’
Monday11th June Tuesday12th June Wednesday13th June Thursday14th June Friday 15th June
Venue B (Tallaght Library)
09.30 – 10.30 B & Q‘Do it yourself: B&Q’s low cost energy measures at home’
10.30 – 11.30
10.45 – 11.45 Bord Gais‘Carbon Monoxide Safety at Home’
12.00 – 13.00
12.30 – 13.30 B & Q‘Do it yourself: B&Q’s low cost energy measures at home’
16.15 – 17.15 Power Perfector‘SMEs: De-risking investment in energy conservation measures (ECM)’
16.30 – 17.30 Tallaght IT & CylonThe future of Energy Management Learn to improve building energy efficiency16.30 to 19.00Please note venue: Main Campus, Tallaght IT Save Energy 4 U:Light years ahead
17.30 – 18.30

Looking forward to meeting you at the exhibition and at our workshop.

Local school bottles it!

Over the past few months the children of Scoil Naomh Maodhóg in Ferns, Co. Wexford have been busy collecting two litre plastic bottles to construct their latest eco-friendly project. The bottles have now found a new lease of  life as the school’s eco-friendly greenhouse.

Plastic bottle greenhouse

Preparing greenhouse for vegetable planting

The lids and labels were removed and the bottoms were trimmed to allow them to slot into each other to create a long tube. The tubes were then stacked side by side and secured into the timber  frame with wires spaced at intervals up the frame and roof.  The wires hold the bottle in place and it is the cross tie wire that binds it into a solid wall, closing most of the gaps.

This is the perfect project for schools as it is a great re-use educational structure that really works.

The school has a ‘green’ ethos that is to be admired and is working towards becoming a more environmentally friendly and sustainable school.  School projects to date include the creating of  raised flower and vegetable beds, wildlife garden and pond, a  newly planted woodland area, the erection of bird boxes, butterfly boxes and an insect hotel that are all tended by the children. They make their own compost and water the plants with the rainwater they collect.

Cold frame protecting the young plant

Coldframe made from old windows

The children are introduced to growing their own vegetables. They plant the seeds and wait patiently for them to germinate.  They are then planted out when weather permits and  each class take turns to water and keep them weed free. There is great excitement when its time to harvest the produce as they get to divide it and bring it home.

Last year the potatoes were harvested and the children cut them into chips. They were then brought to the local diner to be cooked. A very tasty meal was had by all!

Planting potatoes in one of the many raised vegetable beds

Pond and wild flower garden

A  long side the pond the children have planted a variety of nectar producing plants and shrubs to encourage butterflies and other nectar loving insects into the garden. Rough grass margins have also been successfully established and this provides an excellent habitat for many insects and is ideal for the newly-emerged frogs that are a great attraction for the children every year.

Native tree nursery

Last year the school  began the task of extending the existing Woodland area. It was decided to plant only native species to the area  so the children brought in tree sapplings from their own gardens and created a nursery. When they were strong  enough they were planted out in the well prepared area. Their aim is to create natural habitats so as to introduce various insects, butterflies and birds into the school grounds. The children have great fun walking through the Woodland, turning up stones and wood to see what insects are lurking beneath.

Newly planted woodland area


Mature woodland area rich in biodiversity


Birdboxes are placed in safe areas to attract birds to the school grounds


Butterfly boxes

Last year a Tidy Towns Junior Committee was formed. They are a great asset to the community as they are involved in keeping the school litter free, promote energy efficiency and recycling and reusing in the school. They were also involved with the development of the Community Park.  They were presented with an Endeavour Award  in recognition of their great work and achievements. They are busy planning some very exciting projects at the moment which are so top secret thet they won’t even divulge the details to the Ferns Tidy Towns Committee. May just watch this space!

Sensory garden and hopscotch area

Picnic Area in the Community park

Members of Junior Tidy Towns enjoying the end of year party organised by Ferns Tidy Towns Committee.

Junior Tidy Towns receiving their well deserved Endeavour Award

It is one of the most energy efficient schools in the area. Over the years the school has taken on projects such as upgrading their insulation, installing new windows and replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs. The children have a great awareness of energy saving. Simple measures like turning off lights and closing doors when leaving a room help to conserve energy.