• Tom Halpin

Once again, we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year where we’re all slowly trying to get back into gear. Tradition dictates that we make at least one lofty New Year resolution. Visit the gym regularly (we checked, signing up doesn’t count as a visit). Stick to a diet, any diet that doesn’t involve Cadbury Roses. Give up the beer. Stop reading e-mails when out of the office. My own personal goal is still to try get my golf handicap down.

But what if I suggested that you make one or more commitments to yourself and your environment for 2018? Better still, what if some of them can actually be accomplished from the comfort of the sofa. 

Here are ten suggestions.They may not all be for you. Nor do you have to do them all immediately. Start with an easy one and go from there. By doing so you can save yourself money, become better informed and help to change Ireland’s energy use for the better. 

  1. Lower your thermostat. Would you notice one degree less heat? Do you know that 20oC is an ideal room temperature for most?  This year promise yourself that you will give it a go. Lowering your thermostat by just 1oC could knock up to 10% off your heating bill, saving around €150 in a typical family home.
  2. Make that call for a boiler service. A safe, reliable and efficient boiler could knock a healthy chunk off your heating bills.
  3. Visit SEAI.ie and see the range of grants available for your home. Insulating your attic and walls will make your home a lot more comfortable and could save you 30-40% on your home heating bill. Grants for insulation, as well as home heating upgrades, are available from SEAI, with quick online approval available.
  4. Look at smart heating controls. There are plenty of smart technologies that allow you to control your home heating remotely or from your phone. This improves your home’s efficiency and gives you more control over costs and more comfort. Look at the range of offers available from energy suppliers this year.
  5. Investigate renewable heating. Renewable energy reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions and is part of our future energy mix.  This year make a commitment that you will check out renewable heating options for your home.  The good news is solar heating already qualifies for a grant, as will heat pumps from April.
  6. Test drive an electric vehicle. Don’t rely on what others tell you. Go see the real thing for yourself, understand the grants available and the huge savings in running costs you could achieve.  
  7. Bring your community on board. If you are part of a community group or residents association, then why not look into how you can become part of the SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Communities network and bring even greater savings for your whole community.
  8. Make your business more energy efficient. If you run a business and find your energy bills excessive then this year make it your business to talk to SEAI about how we can help you identify cost saving solutions and provide support and assistance to take the necessary steps.
  9. Help a relative or neighbour. Do you have a relative or neighbour who may be living in, or at risk of, energy poverty?  Why not help them this year by checking out SEAI’s Warmer Homes Scheme which funds energy efficiency upgrades to improve the health and wellbeing of this vulnerable group.
  10. Get informed. Ireland is changing and the next decade will see a dramatic shift in how we use energy. Make 2018 the year that you take part in this debate by being informed on the choices available. We all have a say in what our energy future will look like - and we have a responsibility to act.

We want every Irish person to take up the challenge.  Ultimately, your energy use matters, so use less and use clean for 2018.

About the author

Tom Halpin is Head of Communications and a member of the senior management team at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, with responsibility for leading strategic communications, corporate positioning and programme marketing. A graduate of UCD with a degree in Electronic Engineering, and a Diploma in Marketing, Tom has over 20 years of experience in the energy sector having joined the then Irish Energy Centre in 1995. Previously Tom worked in engineering and marketing with a number of multinational companies.

Email tom.halpin@seai.ie