Travel Greener

Our day-to-day lives inevitably involve transport. With that comes a certain amount of environmental impact. Along with changes in our homes and in our gardens, changes to our travelling habits can be one of the most beneficial ways of striving to live sustainably.

The Car Habit

Breaking the habit of jumping in the car for the smallest of journeys is crucial if you want to pursue a sustainable life. Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector in Ireland increased by 136.8% between 1990 and 2019 due to a significant increase in the amount of people owning a car (EPA, 2020). It is estimated that over 60% of our trips are less than two miles.

Read these tips below and think how you can do without your car:

To reduce your carbon footprint try to walk or cycle to destinations. Buying and using a bike is one of the greenest transport actions you can undertake. It only takes ~30 minutes to cycle 6km, no matter what the traffic is like. For more information on cycling campaigns visit the Dublin Cycling Campaign website.

Make an effort to walk your children to school. Why not set up a school walking group, with parents taking turns taking the group to the school gates? It is good for you as well - a 20 minute walk can burn as much as 125 calories.

Work out if you can take public transport to your venue of choice. If you are dedicated to using public transport you should look at the website for the taxsaver commuter ticket scheme.

Ask your boss if you can work from home. This will save you the commute and help the environment.

Share the journey -  Ireland’s first car-sharing club was started Cork in 2008. It is a pay-as-go service that provides a similar service to car hire. The cars are parked beside your home or workplace, and you can take them for short periods. For information visit the GoCar website.

Details of more environmentally friendly transport options in Ireland can be found here.

Driving better

If driving just can't be helped then consider these ideas to see how you can drive better, to save you money and most importantly help provide a sustainable existence for societ:

  • Plan your journey ahead of time in order to avoid traffic and take the most efficient route.
  • Whilst driving move into a higher gear as soon as possible, this saves money and reduces emissions.
  • Maintain and service your car regularly to increase fuel economy and lower emissions. This includes having your tyres at the correct air pressure.
  • Choose a car with a smaller engine capacity or with the best fuel efficiency. In general, the smaller the car, the lower the CO2 emissions will be.
  • Use the vents inside the car instead of having the windows open. Having your front window half open increases your fuel consumption by 5% at 80km/hr. Using air conditioning is also a significant energy user.
  • Take off your roof rack and don't carry unnecessary weight in the car – it increases your car’s fuel consumption.
  • Drive steadily to save both fuel and wear and tear on brakes and gears.
  • Stuck in traffic? It's probably more fuel efficient to switch your engine off, if you won't be moving for a while.
  • It might seem like common sense but you should tighten the fuel cap so that no fuel can evaporate.

Air Travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) provide a carbon offseting service where individuals or organisations can offset their air travel emissions, effectively making them carbon neutral, by investing in carbon reduction projects. The most effective way to reduce air travel carbon emissions is by reducing the amount of annual plane journeys you take and instead seeking alternative, less carbon intensive ways, of transport, such as travelling by boat or train.

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