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// Green home improvements hailed by EPA and An Taisce
An Taisce, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently launched the Green Home programme. At the launch. Environment Minister John Gormley awarded participating communities with the Green Home flag, in acknowledgement of their efforts to improve environmental actions within the home.
The aim of the Green Home programme is to raise environmental awareness and support positive and sustainable environmental actions amongst householders and community groups.
"The EPA is delighted to assist An Taisce in the development of the Green Home programme, through funding under the National Waste Prevention Programme," said EPA Director General Doctor Mary Kelly.
"Through participation in this programme communities are being strengthened as they work together to protect their environment."
The Green Home programme, which builds on the very successful Green Schools programme, has been run on a pilot basis since November 2006. To date, almost 2.500 families in seventeen different communities throughout Ireland have been given the opportunity to participate.
"The Green Home programme aims to support and advise householders on ways to reduce their impact on the environment, while saving money on household bills," said An Taisce's Pat Oliver.
"Continuous monitoring of the programme through the use of surveys has shown a positive shift in environmental behaviour amongst participating householders."
Participants were surveyed in 2006. at the beginning of the programme, and again in 2008.
The purpose of the survey was to analyse any change in their environmental behaviour and attitudes on completion of the programme.
Some results from the surveys, which show an overall improvement, were as follows.
Energy use: Only 10 per cent of respondents in 2006 stated that they "always" turn off electrical equipment fully without leaving them on standby. In 2008, this had increased to 59 per cent. The number of respondents to 'always' use energy-saving bulbs jumped from 37 per cent in 2006 to 55 per cent in 2008.
Waste reduction: The number of participants who "always" deal with biodegradable waste by composting or running a wormery, has risen from 30 per cent in 2006 to 35 per cent in 2008. In 2008, seven per cent more respondents were recycling paper, plastic, and cardboard than in 2006.
Water conservation: In 2006, 78 per cent of respondents stated that they 'always' fix leaking taps quickly. Having completed the Green Home programme, 88 per cent of respondents stated that they "always" take this action.
Sustainable transport: In 2006, 29 per cent of respondents stated that they 'always' buy cars that are more fuel efficient. This rose to 47 per cent in 2008.
According to the 2008 survey, 59 per cent of respondents felt that participating in the Green Home programme raised their awareness on environmental topics either "quite a lot" or "greatly".
The next phase of the Green Home Programme, which begins in September, will involve working with 40 new school areas. Challenges will be set for participating householders over a two-year period, with 10 community areas being targeted.
For further information or to join the Green Home programme visit www.greenhome.ie or contact the Green Home Team on teachgreen2 @ antaisce.org or by calling 01 4002205.
Munster Express 13.06.08