Having secured our first Green Flag in relation to Litter and Waste management in May 2010, Coláiste Éanna has been actively working towards securing its second Green Flag in relation to Energy and Energy Awareness since September 2010. In the intervening period between then and now, and despite one of the coldest winters on record, significant savings have been made in relation to our heating bills. By following a simple common sense approach to preventing needless heat loss through open windows and doors, coupled with a general energy awareness campaign, savings of over €1700 have been made on our annual heating bill. Further reductions in our heating bill should be brought about following completion of an extensive roof insulation programme that is taking place at present in the oldest of the three school buildings.
Our next endeavour is to try and reduce our light and power bills which have increased dramatically over the past few years. In one way this is to be expected in this technological age with the ever-increasing use of computers, data projectors and other high energy consumers being an integral part of day-to-day teaching. No one is suggesting that the legitimate use of such electrical appliances should be curtailed, but what is necessary is that each of us should be aware of the amount of energy consumed by such appliances left in standby mode when not in active use. Remember – anything left plugged in which has a LED/light showing is using energy, and energy costs! A simple act of switching off electrical appliances when not in active use can have a profound effect on reducing energy bills – something we all hope to achieve!
With the imminent arrival of winter, and memories of last winter and all that it entailed – including those elevated energy bills – perhaps it is timely to have a look at ways each of us can save energy and in doing so reduce costs!
Top Ten Tips for Saving Energy and Reducing Costs
1. Save energy – Use rechargeable batteries.
Did you know? ………… Normal batteries contain toxic metals and take 50 times more energy to make than you get out of them!
2. Save energy – Turn off the TV when not in use.
Did you know? ……….. Your TV still uses a lot of power if you leave it in standby. An average TV left in standby mode consumes 20%, or even more in older models, of their full power. Remember, make sure all of the things that you use at home or in school, such as computers, stereos and play stations are properly turned off, and not just left on standby.
3. Save energy – Use bottles, jars and cans again.
Did you know? ……….. Recycling used food containers such as cans saves 96% of the energy it takes to make a new one from raw materials. By recycling you are saving energy and helping the environment.
4. Save energy – Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
Did you know …………… Each minute a tap is running up to 5 litres of water is wasted. With water charges on the way, there’s no better time to conserve water!
5. Save energy – Change your light bulbs.
Did you know? ………… CFL light bulbs last up to ten times longer and use only 20% of the energy that normal bulbs use.
6. Save energy – Only use the washing machine and dishwasher when they are full.
Did you know? ………… A washing machine cycle can use up to 100 litres of water. Save energy and water by only using these appliances when full. Further savings can be made by using a wash cycle at a lower temperature.
7. Save energy – Don’t fill the kettle for just one mug of tea or coffee.
Did you know? ……… If only a small volume of boiling water is required it is only necessary to fill the kettle to the minimum level recommended by the manufacturer. As a result, energy is saved and savings made by eliminating the constant reheating of the same kettle of water!
8. Save energy – Take a shower instead of a bath.
Did you know? ……… Typically, a shower uses 70% less water than a bath. Having to heat far less water saves a large amount of energy and reduces bills!
9. Save energy – Cycle or walk when you are going on a short journey.
Did you know? ………….. It takes up to 250 trees to absorb the carbon dioxide produced by a single family car each year. If you cut down on a car’s journey it means less fuel consumed, less carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and so reduces climate change.
10. Save energy – Use recycled paper and recycle used paper, books and magazines.
Did you know? ……………. Each tonne of recycled paper saves 15 average-sized trees. Wherever possible, recycle paper, photocopy on both sides and only print off what you really need from your computer.