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  • Deconstructing 15 – Our Sustainable Future
  • August 29, 2021
  • Monica Duggan

There are so many things to think about when it comes to building your own home…as my number of blogs can attest to! But it’s growing more and more obvious that the most important one is sustainability, and there really are a lot of areas to consider under this heading.

In order to get a grasp on such a wide subject, Donal and I broke it down. The things we could afford now and the things we would future-proofed for. It’s not right to use cost as an excuse but it was our reality.

Our biggest aim was to eventually have solar panels and run as much of the house as possible using the energy they help generate. So because we couldn’t stretch to actually buying the panels here we future-proofed. We put everything in place so that when our finances build up again, it’s the first thing we’ll do.

We focussed a lot of our energy on…well energy and how to save it. We figured the less energy we used the better. So we insulated like crazy, if you remember back to that newsletter my family actually nicknamed Donal ‘Insulation Man’. We pushed the budget out for high spec windows too from Eco Window Concepts as we knew this would be another huge energy saving in the long run. We got rid of the open fire and put in a wood-burning stove from Clearview as they were and still are rated as one of the greenest stove manufacturers in the world (though we did toy with the idea, we couldn’t get rid of fire altogether!)

We salvaged our kitchen floor in the original house from Architectural Salvage in Kilkenny and used oak from Inch sawmills, a sustainable mill powered solely by the river, for the extension. We also used only environmentally safe varnish to finish. We choose paints that were environmentally friendly too, all of this had the added benefit of not irritating my skin as I’m quite allergic and suffer from eczema (I’d learned my lesson when we first did up the original cottage)

When it came to furnishings, outside of the kitchen, our philosophy was what we couldn’t salvage we built (well Donal built from reclaimed wooded crates) such as our headboard, coat, shoe rack, and most of our shelving or we sourced from local craftspeople, such as Finline furniture and Eric Phillips.

In the garden, we harvest the rainwater for both the plants and animals.

When it’s all listed here it looks like a lot, which to be honest makes me feel great, because I don’t think we’re doing enough. But I take heart in the fact that we’re learning. It’ll be a forever process but it’s a process that makes me smile and hopefully helps save Bills future.

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About Monica Duggan

Monica grew up with a screwdriver & bulb in her hands before she started to 'hassle' the boss! After gallivanting around the world & getting an education she worked in all areas of the business, and was a natural fit for developing Willie Duggan further. She does her best thinking struggling up a mountain, hiking a trail or beating herself up in the gym!

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