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Derek (at EirGrid's National Control Centre) wants YOU to switch off all non-essential electrical items this Friday, between 3pm & 5pm! On Friday, January 19th 2007, between 15:00 and 17:00, the Mooney programme will examine what energy savings our listeners can make and what effect this will have on the Irish power grid.


Radio listeners all over Ireland will be urged later this week by presenter Derek Mooney to help make a difference to Ireland's energy demand, the environment and their wallets.

RTÉ Radio 1's magazine programme MOONEY will encourage listeners this Friday to work together to reduce their demand for power during the afternoon in a "switch-athon". The programme will give its listeners concrete hints on how to help protect the environment and to save money on their electricity bills.

The MOONEY programme will be able to report from EirGrid's National Control Centre as demand changes minute by minute on the power grid. Programme reporter Terry Flanagan will report to Derek on the demand for power during the hours of 3-5pm to see just what impact the Mooney listeners are having on the national grid.

This Friday's Mooney programme will be broadcast from Ireland's only certified passive house, Out Of The Blue, in Wicklow. Designed by its owner, architect Tomás O' Leary, Out Of The Blue is a family home located in the rural setting of the garden of Ireland. It's around 4,000 sq. feet, but because it's a passive house, the heating bills are less than €20 a month! It's a two-storey split level design, constructed in such a manner as to eliminate the need for a conventional heating system. The house maintains a high level of comfort throughout the year using just 10% of the energy of a conventional house, achieved through high levels of insulation, southern orientation, air-tight construction and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. The latter refreshes the air in the house 12-times daily, so the house is also very healthy. For more on Out Of The Blue, click here.

"The Mooney programme already gives extensive coverage to environmental and wildlife issues in our Friday edition (Mooney Goes Wild) so this is a perfect opportunity for us to join forces with the national energy efficiency campaign, the Power of One, and the electricity system operator EirGrid" says Derek Mooney. "I really hope that we can convince the listeners that as individuals we can make a difference, all we have to do is switch off any unnecessary electrical appliances when they are not in use. It's not rocket science!"

Derek Mooney's five tips for reducing electricity demand:

  1. Switch off lights or appliances in unoccupied rooms.
  2. Switch off the light or TV or computer which has been left on in the back bedroom while everyone is downstairs.
  3. Avoid the electricity rush hour. Delay switching on dishwashers, tumble driers and washing machines 'til after 7 o'clock.
  4. Replace an existing light bulb with a CFL light bulb that only uses 20 per cent of the energy.
  5. Switch off the standby light on your TV or DVD-player and unplug your phone charger when not in use.
Demand for electricity traditionally rises sharply in the afternoons in Ireland, as the "electricity rush hour" kicks in, but a significant amount of that demand could be avoided in simple ways without any inconvenience for consumers, reducing the use of expensive fossil fuel generators and therefore emissions. And listeners to the MOONEY show will be able to help have an effect on demand by avoiding that "rush hour".

How important is it to use power efficiently?

Every time I waste power, I am contributing to emissions of CO2 (causing climate-change), and often to emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxides etc. In addition, if I do not use power efficiently then I cause fossil fuels to be imported (gas, oil or coal). As the last power stations which are used in the evening are more expensive, that adds to the cost for us all. So if I cut my demand, then I save on my electricity bill.

Could consumers actually reduce demand?

Yes, without any inconvenience or pain, they could reduce demand in the very simple ways above. And it would have an effect. For instance, there are 2 million electricity customers in Ireland, and the vast majority of them domestic customers. If in every house in Ireland, an average 100 watt bulb was switched off in an unoccupied room, then that would mean that demand would fall by 200 megawatts (half a major power station). That would mean that new power stations would not need to be built so often or that existing power stations would not be needed as much. Or if everyone replaced a 100 watt bulb with a CFL efficient bulb then demand would fall by another 160 megawatts. And if they simply delayed switching on dishwashers, washing machines etc (till after Coronation Street or Fair City for instance) then there would be huge savings for us all and for the environment.

What effects will energy efficiency have?

Help reduce the cost of generating electricity. When peak demand puts pressure on the grid, more expensive power stations are brought into operation. (Because power stations are used according to the cost of their output - cheapest first and dearest last.) Protect the environment by avoiding unnecessary CO2 emissions that are caused by these generators which are entirely reliant on fossil fuels. Cutting back on your energy usage during peak times will make very little difference to your daily life, but will have a major affect to the whole environment. Save on all of our bills the importing of large quantities of fossil fuels needed to meet unnecessary demand is very expensive and adds considerably to the overall cost of your energy bills.

For more information on the Power Of One campaign, click here.
Or for Sustainable Energy Ireland's energy saving tips, click here.

Passive Houses

A passive house is one that is extremely energy efficient - good insulation, a southern orientation, energy-efficient window glazing and frames, and water heated using solar panels are just some of its features.

It's a great concept, especially if you're just planning the building of a new house, but what if you're already settled into a house that's a few decades old? In this programme we'll be looking at insulation, heating, glazing, and generally making your home as energy neutral as it can be. We have items on the development of passive houses, both here and throughout Europe, as well as solar panels, glass fibre insulation, the ESB night saver rate, wood pellet stoves, ECO hotels ... and much more!

But what we want to know is ... what do you do to save energy in your home? Whether it's just turning off lights, not leaving the TV on standby or making sure the seals on the fridge are tight-fitting, we want your tips! E-mail mooney@rte.ie, write in to Mooney, RTÉ Radio Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 or call 1850 715-900 between 3pm & 5pm each day.

For more information about grants for solar panels, click here

More information on passive houses:

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