On Wednesday 12th February, two of our transition year classes travelled to the Susliving Demonstration Centre in Kingsriver in Kilkenny to take part in three sustainable living workshops.
In our first workshop our eyes were opened to the various ways of conserving energy in our homes. We learned about the types of sustainable fuel sources available and about how we use renewable resources to heat our homes. Methods such as solar panels, windmills and geothermal heating were all viable options to heat our homes. Tech Mentors Gary and Kevin demonstrated how heat can be kept in our homes by using more environmentally sound options such as cellulose insulation and triple glazed windows. An interesting point we learned was that sheep wool is sometimes thrown away by farmers but in fact it is very useful for insulation.
One of our favourite parts of the day was taking a visit to the boiler house which stored the wood pellet burner which was a cosy break to the cold, blustery day outside. The design was impressive and the amount of heat generated felt like we were in a sauna!
Tech Mentor Elmer got our hands dirty as we learned more about biodiversity, food production and waste. He demonstrated how to compost correctly using fruit, vegetable peelings, leaves, soil and grass. Most people don’t know how to arrange the compost properly and so they end up with a sloppy mixture. Elmer gave us examples of how to mix our compost to ensure plants grow properly. We also planted mint plants in the soil and learned that some of us must learn the basics of planting, like that we must take the plant out of the pot before replating! Meanwhile a hen and a goose looked on as we made out rookie errors.
Our most hands on task came near the end when Tech Mentors Gary and Zaki demonstrated how we can construct more environmentally friendly homes. Mud and straw were combined to make a type of brick to use in the building of walls. Some of use made wattle and daub type walls similar to what is used in Africa. The red clay like exterior and woven willow branches were fun to make.
Overall it was an engaging experience which broadened our knowledge of the practical steps we can make in our school and homes to live more sustainable lives.
– Mohammed Taz & Luke McHugh