At an awards ceremony on Tuesday 11th August 2009, several community groups in Roscommon were awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and An Taisce, for their participation in the Green Home programme, and for piloting the first phase of the Green Communities programme. Mr Duncan Stewart of Eco Eye presented the award to each group. The award, in a road sign format, will be displayed at the entrance to the community areas as a symbol of their success.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Officer said: “The vision is to develop the Green Home programme into a network of organisations and individuals working together towards a common goal. When people work together to create a cleaner environment such activities enhance community spirit. We want to mobilise communities in Ireland to live more environmentally sustainable lives.”
Since October, attending Green Home meetings, completing environmental surveys and undertaking activity challenges on the themes of waste, water and energy has been part of the daily routine for these groups.
Each of the community groups also organised a community ‘Action Day’ in their local area. The Action Days included:
- setting up a community composter, hosting an ‘Open Day’ where people learn how to ‘grow your own’; a batteries recycling initiative;
- transforming a formerly wild and overgrown plot of land into a thriving community garden, the setting up of a community rainwater harvester;
- an energy saving light bulb demonstration for community members;
- a waste electronic and electric equipment (WEEE) local collection day that yielded 14 tonnes of waste appliances;
- a blue flag for marinas and boats initiative; and
- a Green Business initiative to encourage businesses to consider a more ‘Green’ approach to business.
Dorothy Stewart, Environmental Education Unit, An Taisce said: “The fundamental aim of the Green Home programme is to advise and support householders as they save money on their bills and reduce their impact on the environment. Results from the ‘before and after’ surveys have proven that the programme has been a success with improvements in behaviour in relation to waste generation, energy use, water consumption and transport choices.”
Interesting results have emerged from the data collected via the Green Home householder survey in Roscommon. Respondents who completed a ‘before and after’ survey showed the following improvements:
- 35 per cent increase in avoiding buying over packaged goods;
- 12 per cent increase in recycling plastic; - 24 per cent increase in people investing in insulation;
- 35 per cent invested in ‘A’ rated energy efficient appliances.; - increase in the number of people who buy energy efficient light bulbs, turn appliances off standby mode and only use dishwashers and tumble dryers on full loads.
Suzanne Dempsey, Environmental Education Officer, Roscommon County Council, said: “Green Home householders are encouraged to consider making small behavioural changes and to become part of the solution. The Green Home programme is entirely dependent upon people working together in partnership and on people’s willingness to give their time and energy to help to make a difference in their community.” Roscommon County Council staff, and in particular Suzanne Dempsey, have dedicated their time, hard work, energy, and most of all ‘local knowledge’, and have been instrumental to the success of the Green Home programme in Roscommon.
The Green Home programme, was developed by the Environmental Education Unit in An Taisce and is funded by the EPA under the National Waste Prevention Programme.