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A Substitution Philosophy

Sustainable Living

My Substitution Energy System

by Aileen Campion


I concur with the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle ethos although I call mine My Substitution philosophy. This is what our little household have put in place since joining the Tipperary Energy Audit last year.

Kitchen:

  • Took on an allotment in Spring 2012 and sowed enough vegetables to allow us to purchase no vegetables from June until November - potatoes, kale, broccoli, turnips/swedes, onions, shallots, kohlrabi, cabbage, red cabbage, celeraic, globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, courgettes, peas, cauliflower, salad leaves, flowers for salads, spinach, carrots, herbs, strawberries, autumn raspberries. So local food & free exercise - saving on food miles. Substitute local for further afield.
  • When we had extra, we bartered for fruit etc we were not producing e.g. chutney & jams made from our excess traded for apples both eaters & cookers.
  • The excess food we had we also converted into jams, chutneys and cordials and used them, all dressed up, for Christmas edible gifts & donated more to charities for sale of works etc. Substitute handmade edible gifts for imported gifts.


Cleaning:
1. Replaced proprietary cleaners as follows:

  • Fridge Cleaner - 1 teaspoon of bread soda to a pint of tepid water. Scrub clean.
  • Window Cleaner - 1 part vinegar to 1 part tepid water. Apply with a soft cloth. Wipe dry with newspaper. Great shine.
  • Oven Cleaner - made up a paste of bread soda and water & spread over the inside, heat up oven for 30 minutes, brush off the dried paste bringing burnt fat with it.
  • Toilet Cleaner - A good sprinkling of bread soda followed by vinegar. It will bubble. Leave overnight and brush the next day.
  • Drain Cleaner - Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Cover & let sit for 5 minutes, then pour boiling water down to unclog.

Substituted safe, environmentally & cupboard basics for imported & expensive chemical cleaners.

Heating:
1. We now use kindling gathered when out exercising the dogs & ourselves to start the stove. Substituted fire lighters for kindlings.
2. Off cuts of timber destined for dumping are now diverted to us by friends & family as a fuel source for our stove. Recycling!!
3. In order to make use of old newspapers, we used a paper briquette maker. A single paper briquette lasts 2 hours in the stove. However I reckon you would need a glasshouse or polytunnel to drive out the briquette fully. Substituted peat briquettes & turf for paper briquettes.
4. We gave our time locally footing & stacking turf and received bags of turf in exchange. Substituted money for time.

Gardening:

  • Save on costly pest & weed control by using baked crushed egg shells, coffee grounds, wet old newspapers, beer traps, rhubarb leaves etc. Substitute waste for recycling.
  • Use wine bottle corks as cane toppers. Substitute waste for recycling.
  • Save on liquid feeds for the plants by making our own from nettle or comfrey leaves. Substitute weeds for feed.
  • Coppice ash, hazel or willow trees to make poles for supporting peas, beans or climbing plants. Substitute imported bamboo for local coppiced wood.


Electricity Consumption:

1. Use a tiered wooden steamer to cook vegetables on top and potatoes, rice or pasta in the saucepan. Substitute three electric rings for one.
2. Allow passive heat from the sun to heat the south facing guest rooms. Substitute oil fired heating for solar space heating.
3. When replacing our electric kettle, we choose one with cup indicators and now only boil what we need. Substitute actual wanted water for wasted boiled water.
4. Place the clothes dryer rack in the room with the stove when going to bed at night. Substitute room heat for tumble dryer.

Domestic Waste:

1. Books & magazines are either offered to friends, family & neighbours or offered for free collection on websites such as www.adverts.ie or www.jumbletown.ie. Substitute waste for sharing.
2. Old newspapers are used for a multitude of purposes - dampened to keep down weeds (weed suppressant mat); rolled up to act as catch for kindling when lighting stove; shredded layer in the composter & top layer in composter in the summer to deter fruit flies; transform into little pots for seedlings. Substitute waste for gardening & heating.
3. One whole chicken comes in and nothing is unused. Cooked skin for additive to dogs food, bones cooked for stock; cooked bones to cats and chicken meat for human consumption.
4. Dry citrus skins in oven after cooking using residue heat. Use dried skins as either pest repellants or kindling for stove. Substitute waste for either gardening or heating

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