JOE GILL: How to deal with climate change at a micro level

Is it such a stretch to envisage all our houses having mini solar, wind, and rainfall units that complement bigger changes undertaken by companies like the ESB, asks Joe Gill

I invested in a water butt last week. That’s a grandiose description of exchanging €30 for a container with a capacity for 70 litres. It’s also an anecdote about climate change, politics, and individual responsibility.

I connected the container to a drain pipe, at the back of the house, which captures water off two eaves in the roof. After a week, I had 70 litres of fresh rain water that was applied, for free, to the garden. Amid water hosepipe bans and alarmist headlines about the country facing a crisis, here I was, at a micro level, dealing with climate change.

The lessons are fairly clear; no rocket science is needed for average citizens to manage the challenge posed by nature; for €30, I have solved a supply for fresh water for the garden. Assuming the butt lasts at least 10 years, that water is costing me less than 6c per week.

Imagine if every house in the country bought a water butt. How much of the mains water supply would be saved? An acquaintance of mine is involved in the production of vessels that contain liquid. He argues a much bigger opportunity exists to tap natural rainfall to supply households.

Water tanks with far greater capacity can take rainfall off roofs and store it for usage in lavatories and gardens. That would take a large percentage of water demand away from the current systems. Bring my simple, one-house solution to water shortage up to a national level and what could we achieve?

As technology and scale production drive down the price of equipment needed to generate solar and wind energy, it will not be long before households can play a much bigger part in delivering solutions to energy hurdles.

Taxpayers, energy companies, and the Government have to work together to devise and provide solutions. Is it such a stretch to envisage all our houses having mini solar, wind, and rainfall units that complement bigger changes undertaken by companies like the ESB?

The demand for such solutions will emanate from the ground up, as individuals recognise their ability to contribute, while growing pressure and financial fines from the European Commission encourage government to flex the exchequer in support of novel, but powerful, ways of managing the new realities of nature.

Joe Gill is director of corporate broking with Goodbody Stockbrokers. His views are personal.


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