Green-business start-up promotes sustainable living

13 May 2010 is a new start-up that has been set up to help inform people about ways they can live more sustainably.

Dr Padraic Larkin, the former director and deputy director-general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has teamed up with Mayo-based businessmen Tom Canavan and Martin Heneghan to set up, which will strive to become the leading portal for people looking for information on green issues and sustainable living.  

Sponsors of

The company already has some high-profile sponsors on-board, including the EPA, The National Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD), Peugeot Ireland and Greenstar.  

Explains Larkin: “There is a huge opportunity available to us now to build the country along greener lines and develop our green economy. Ireland is in a unique position with many natural advantages over other countries, including our renewable energy potential and our skilled, adaptable workforce.  

“By raising the public’s awareness of green issues with simple and non-scientific communication through, we hope to contribute in a small way towards the sustainable economic growth of the country. There is a lot of information already out there, but no one-stop-shop, and with the support of our sponsors we are aiming to become exactly that.”

As membership grows with each new registration, GreenQuest hopes to provide a forum on ‘green’ issues, where questions can be raised and answered and suggestions and tips exchanged on sustainable living. In time, it aims to become the website of choice for those who wish to learn more about sustainable living.

Research undertaken by GreenQuest suggests that the internet is the No 1 stop for people (92pc of those surveyed) looking for information on green-related issues, but yet the founders say there is a massive information-supply gap, with no single internet site that people can visit to have their questions answered and educate themselves on sustainable living in the home.
GreenQuest’s research also found, for example, that 61.5pc of people still do not know what a Building Energy Rating (BER) is, despite the fact that any house being offered for sale or rent in this country has required one under law since January 2009. research findings 

Of those who answered the survey, found that:

– Some 54.2pc of respondents did not know that normal, incandescent light bulbs have been banned here since January 2009

– Of the people who did know about the ban, 79pc have not switched to using energy-efficient light bulbs, showing that there is still a long way to go before energy-efficient bulbs become part of our everyday use at home

– While 69.5pc of homeowners are aware that grants are available to improve the energy efficiency of their home, just 3.4pc have availed of the grant

– Some 45.7pc of people do not feel that green information is readily available to them, or are unsure

– About 65.4pc of parents encourage their children to recycle

– Some 42.3pc of parents believe their children have a better understanding of green issues than they do.

Research was carried out online and there was a 41pc male : 59pc female ratio.

By Carmel Doyle

Photo: Dr Padriac Larkin and Emily Breslin, at the launch of in the National Botanic Gardens recently

The Green Economy – A Business & Leadership Briefing

Ireland’s business leaders are gathering on 14 May to hear sustainability experts discuss the future of business, finance and investment within this new environmental reality, and we will look at how technology will be a key enabler in a more sustainable, prosperous future for all. Learn more about this event.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic