As an environmentally conscious person, have you tried to estimate your personal carbon footprint? There is a link below which will allow you to input your energy use, in an easy way. I was impressed by how much of my lifestyle it assessed and appalled by how much secondary carbon I was using. The annual footprint for my family of four came to 6 tonnes, about half the national average but still more than twice the global target!
Most families have, by now, replaced their old light bulbs with energy savers and nurture a general eco conscientiouness about their thermostats and energy use. Children are fantastic at recycling and turning off taps and power switches. So what is the next step? It simply does not appeal to everyone to grow their own food and shop only in Oxfam. Certain status symbols of a successful life survive the green revolution; I meet more 4x4s on my journey to school now than I ever have. Some of these trucks cost more than the average UK house price to buy and something phenomenal to run on diesel, tax and insurance. Although I might allow myself one, if I was in that wage bracket – no judgement here! Long distance holidays requiring flights are another stalwart of our western materialism which we use to reward ourselves for hard work and jobs well done, regardless of their contribution to global warming. The truth is that these are symbols of our present reality and indicates our collective global care. So I begin a hunt for a choice which reduces our carbon emissions and is also kindly to our self-esteem.
The Kyoto Protocol states that over 40% of all toxic emissions are produced to heat our buildings in winter, cool them in summer, light them and run our high-energy-use appliances in them. There is something here we can do, something which will benefit our quality of life, propel our lifestyle and reduce our carbon footprint in one simple purchase.
My suggestion is this: Invest in a sustainable garden office – a detached room to work from, in your garden. This home-working concept can benefit every business, from the single self-employed woman who struggles to work from her dining room table amidst the after school disturbance, to the graphic design partnership which rents the space above the travel agents unit. Moving into a garden room gains her a professional working environment, free from home life and provides them with a rent-free tax-allowable business asset.
This formula extends to CEOs, Directors and Senior Management throughout all industries in Ireland and the UK. Having a sustainable, dedicated work area at home means the work journey is surpassed. Even if the garden room is only used on 3 days a week, there is enough valuable saving in that change to constitute a positive investment in the future. There are garden building companies out there who have fully considered every eco-aspect of their business and their products and created inspiring ranges of clean, eco garden rooms.
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