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Feb 1 2007 / Aaron

Reduced Footprintness

So a little under two weeks ago we moved into a small, but modern townhouse in the Dublin town of Stillorgan. Our ecological footprint is so much smaller here than it ever was in Canada. Part of that is the climate — you just don’t need to burn so much fossil fuels here with the milder winters. But that aside, many other factors contribute to a massive reduction in our footprint. Here we don’t own a car — it’s self-propulsion and efficient public transport. Our place is small, but designed to use the limited space effectively. The water heater is tankless — it heats water on demand with natural gas. To compare, our Edmonton home keeps a full tank of water boiling hot, 24/7. You know, in case I want to have a shower at 4am. Here, we only heat the water as needed. The shower is an electric unit that heats the water right in the shower unit. The appliances are all energy efficient and small in size. Everything’s smaller here. It seems the Irish public is more concerned with being efficient and ecological. Part of that, I think, is due to the necessity. Being a tiny, formerly impoverished island nation, everything is much more expensive. It makes sound financial sense to be efficient. Secondly, the country is small, and there’s a clear need to not squander the limited environment. In Canada we are spoiled by our riches of land and nature. We can do a lot of destruction without feeling any true loss or pressure to our lifestyles. In many ways, our abuses are hidden by the vastness of the land.

Ahh, sorry, I got away on a little bit of a tree-hugger rant there. As you were.


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  1. Al / Feb 1 2007

    Same-same throughout the UK. Talk about the cost of housing! 🙂

  2. bill / Feb 2 2007

    keep ranting

  3. Sam / Feb 3 2007

    yeah, just keep.

  4. Mother of MR / Feb 5 2007

    Hello, Aaron! Am enjoying your blog, even more now that you’re in Ireland. I expect there are some very nice restaurants but is it like England, where it seems the average person eats nothing but gak and virtually no vegetables? On another matter, does that type of water heater provide adequate hot water for, say, a 10 minute shower? (I know, I know — that’s excessive and MR will rant….) We have seen them advertised here but don’t actually know anyone who lives with one. JD 🙂

  5. Aaron / Feb 7 2007

    MotherOfMR, I’m not sure what the average person eats, but Dublin is an excellent city for dining (if you can get over the ridiculous cost!). The groceries are full of good produce and healthy choices, so I don’t see any indication that it’s *worse*.

    The water heater is tankless, so it heats water as it’s drawn. This means you never run out of hot water. I could shower for 2 hours and never run out of hot water.

  6. Christine Davidson / Feb 7 2007

    I have to mention this sweetie, forgive me. The other night I went to touch the heat for an hour button. Instead of burning fuel constantly to keep the house at a nice temperature we hit the heat for an hour button when we feel it is necessary which isn’t very often. Aaron must have been grumpy or something but he said, “JUST PUT ON SOME SOCKS, DON”T HIT THE HEAT! WE DON’T NEED IT!” I disagreed because I was absolutely chilled to the bone. As I was reaching for the button Aaron said “Fine, just remember you are contributing to the drowning of that Indonesian man 10 years from now.” Sweet Jesus rip my heart out and stomp all over it. I had been in training for the Rape Crisis Line all day and was already feeling very emotionally raw. So this last tug at my heart strings instantly reduced me to a blubbering mess. I was heaving “OK, I wiill puuut onnn some sooooocks, (sniffle, heave) I doon’t waant tooo drooown (shaky breath) thaaat maaan. I look back on this and realize how ridiculous it was. In the end I put on some socks, Fuzzy PJ’s, and a house coat and was still cold not to mention mad. The moral of the story is that sometimes you need to temper your environmentalism with a little bit of sensitivity to your partner.

  7. Aaron / Feb 7 2007

    Ahh, I hope you feel better now.

  8. Deborah / Feb 7 2007

    Oh! It is so nice to read abut someone who is really able to make a difference with their lifestyle choices. Not to mention the fact that the country helps you do this. I’m impressed


  9. Deborah / Feb 7 2007

    Oh! It is so nice to read about someone who is really able to make a difference with their lifestyle choices. Not to mention the fact that the country helps you do this. I’m impressed


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