Article by Darcy Longergan, Dorm Coordinaotor, Union of Students in Ireland
Did you know it only takes 21 days to create a habit? Well USI does, which is why we teamed up with SSE Airtricity, an Irish Energy Company, to bring the ‘21 day energy challenge’ to third level students in November. The 21 Day Challenge was an extension of the work carried out through the SAVES 2 program which encourages students to save energy, tackle climate change and prevent fuel poverty. During the 21 days students were asked to make small changes to daily habits, for example when making tea only boil the amount of water that they need or switching off appliances when they’re not needed, leaving their hair to dry naturally etc.
It was launched by Richard Bruton, T.D., Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and USI President, Lorna Fitzpatrick. As part of the campaign they posted tips via social media and held information stands in various colleges throughout the country. Students also had a chance to win prizes by sending in photos/video of themselves saving energy. They are sharing some of the tips below. For more energy tips & advice on how to have a sustainable Christmas visit the advent calendar on SAVES 2 in Ireland Instagram account: @switchoff.ie
Our top tips for participation in the 21 Day Challenge:
● Brew Smart: The average Irish person consumes 1,460 cups of tea per year- that’s a lot of boiling! Make sure you always boil just the amount of water you need to save energy.
● Adjust your thermostat: Simply reducing your thermostat by one degree can make a difference. Turn the thermostat for your living areas down to 20°C living areas and hallways and bedrooms to 15-18°C to save up to 10% on your energy bills per year.
● Make sure you separate your recyclables: recycling an aluminium container saves 95% of the energy taken to make a new one and 1 tonne of recycled paper saves 17 trees! Get your recycling in order!
● Don’t leave the fridge door open for too long while getting food. For every 10–20 seconds the door is open it takes 45 minutes for the fridge to cool down to its original temperature. Limit Midnight Snacking!