Pat O’Brien and Tina Carolan run the Kylemore Natural Energy centre just outside New Ross, and such is their expertise at self-sufficiency that they have not had electricity supplied to their centre for around 13 years. Instead they rely on alternative energy sources to run their home.
“We thought this would be a great thing to do — especially nowadays when there is so much in the news about obesity levels, people being overweight, and the need to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” said Tina, who is a former fitness instructor.
Pat set to work creating the mechanism to run the washing machine off the bicycle and Tina said she is happy to literally pedal her way through the washing each day.
“I think it’s great because, for me, it’s a means of getting exercise while at the same we’re getting the washing done and it’s all completely without the need for electricity,” she said.
“It’s a different way of thinking — but a lot of thought had to go into it before it came right.”
Pat has carried out extensive research into global warming and climate change for years.
“Scientists the world over are in agreement that global warming is a major problem that all of mankind has to be aware of and I am continuing my research,” he said.
“Many people find cycling boring but do want to get fit, but the benefit of this is that while you’re cycling you’re aware of the direct benefits in terms of the clothes being washed at the same time and the fact it helps with your fitness and health is the added bonus.”
The invention will appeal to people tuned into the benefits of exercise and who want to change their way of life to a healthier lifestyle.
“Here at Kylemore we want to educate people about solar power and Pat gives tours about what it takes for people to run their homes using solar energy,” Tina said.
“We believe in researching a healthier way of life and then we live it.”
Pat also suggested that people need to become more aware of the natural energy around them: “It’s really about tuning into Mother Nature and respecting the earth and the environment around us. People need to be more aware of the different things that can be got from nature while caring for the environment. That’s what we try to do here.”