Last weekend some of us EVS Volunteers participated at the Green Door Festival 2017, choosing some of the several activities proposed by the organisers.
On the 30th September we attended an enlightening crash course in Eco-Building Design conducted by Peter Cowman, Director of the Living Architecture Centre, held in Leitrim Village. The workshop was centred around the sheltermaking concept, aimed at meeting both physical and psychological needs of the human being. In the afternoon we were present at The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon where Kevin Callaghan gave a presentation about Sustainable Development and what it means at local, national and European level while on Sunday 1st October The Organic Centre in Rossinver hosted an interesting lunchtime talk on Green Design Principles for Sustainable Building with architect Mary Byrne.
During the two-day festival we could also admire a few private properties which were open to the public for this occasion. These houses have uniquely sustainable features ranging from the use of renewable energies such as solar PV and thermal, micro hydro, wind energy, geothermal heating and the use of local materials for the building construction (timber, stone etc.) to their own vegetable production and sustainable gardens.
This gave us the opportunity to visit few places and have a chat with the owners and designers. We met very interesting people, highly motivated to live in a more sustainable way and committed to show that an alternative path is possible. Furthermore, we were able to observe in practice the functionality of these houses and their owners’ aspirations, matching what Cowman explained during the workshop: “ imagine the house as web that captures your inner world, the essence of who you are, your values, beliefs our dreams, aspirations and what you really want”.
We also had the chance to volunteer for a couple of hours by helping out in the kitchen of one these houses, resulting in great experience for us to interact with and be welcomed by the warmth of local Irish people!