Meet Denis Heffernan, he is from a village in Tipperary called Emly. He is an Electric Ireland customer and together with five other people won a national energy saving competition run by the Tipperary Energy Agency
, for their collective efforts in reducing their energy usage. Along with Vincent Carragher, Energy Manager at Tipperary Energy Agency, they went on to represent Ireland in the European Energy Neighbourhoods’ competition in Brussels (it’s like the Eurovision for energy saving). The group were commended for their energy efficient ways, which resulted in an average savings of €740 per household per year.
We caught up with Denis to ask him to share his advice on how he did and we discovered that it was the simple things, that everyone can do, that made the difference…
Denis said “First of all it was about being more energy conscious; like remembering to turn off the lights when you left the room, or turning down the heating when the room is warm enough”.
Denis changed all the light bulbs in his house to energy efficient light bulbs. He also had sensor lights installed in the yard.
3. Stop standby
Every night Denis and his family unplugged their TV, DVD, stereos etc. (did you know that just by unplugging your TVs, stereo, TV, DVD player, the average house can save over €46.56 per year?)
Only putting on the dishwasher and washing machine when it’s full was another one of Denis’ tips. He found that often they would just put the dishwasher on at the end of the day out of habit, not because it was full. (An average dishwasher costs 10c per load, if you just put the dishwasher on one less time per week, it will save on average €5.20 per year).
5. Showers v baths
Denis and his family chose showers instead of baths and this saved a lot of money in immersion costs. (Immersion is the biggest energy guzzler in most homes).
6. Boil what you need
Denis likes his cup of tea, but he often found that he boiled the kettle for the sake of it, only to boil it again a few minutes later. He also boiled more water than he needed. He became more conscious of it and at on average 3 cents per boil, it all added up.
7. Control the temperature
He bought a remote control heating system, to regulate the temperature, so he only used the heating when he needed it and always reduced the temperature when the room was warm enough.
Denis hates food wastage
We enjoyed speaking with Denis, his passion is infectious and he really made us think. An environmentalist at heart, his pet hate is food wastage. He said that when people buy the special offers on 2 for the price of 1 etc., they need to think do they really need it. He thinks that people should not only think about what a waste of money throwing away food is, he also said that we need to think about the environmental impact of throwing away good food, by considering the amount of energy that has gone into producing the food, transporting it and then disposing of it.
Denis believes that everyone can save energy by being more conscious of how much energy they are using and it’s the little things that all add up. He is also helping other people save energy and has helped the local school gain their green flag.
More about Energy Neighbourhoods
The Energy Neighbourhoods competition was project managed by Vincent Carragher, Energy Manager at Tipperary Energy Agency. Tipperary Energy Agency is a not for profit organisation which works in the fields of energy efficiency, energy management, renewable energy and sustainable transport. For more information please visit www.tea.ie