Focus Corner

Duncan StewartDuncan Stewart,

Environmentalist, broadcaster and GreenMe director

What’s your background?

I’m an architect and environmentalist, and I specialise in ecological design and energy. I worked extensively in Europe and the USA before establishing my architectural practice in Dublin, though I’m probably best known for my work on TV.

What kind of shows have you been involved in?

Mostly environmental series for RTÉ, including “Eco Eye”, “The State We’re In”, “Wood From the Trees”, “Engine Earth” and “The Changing Face of Dublin”.

“Eco Eye” was the first series of its kind, because we took an all-island look at how state bodies like the EPA are working to protect the land, air and water around us.  We hope to inspire changes to lifestyle that minimise our impact on the environment.

The programme covers a wide range of important issues, including climate change, trans-boundary waste crime, eco-tourism, biodiversity, farming, sustainable transport, energy, water quality and conservation.

You also present RTÉ’s long-running “About the House” series

Yes, it’s a top-rating show, so it has brought eco-friendly design building techniques and products to a much wider audience.

The topics are very wide ranging, from home improvements and extensions to how to install a renewable energy system and how to conduct an energy audit – and the benefits you get from one.

The overall aim is to give people an insight into a more sustainable way of life, and practical ways you can achieve that.

Our lifestyles, our personal transport and our homes play a very important role in this. Over 25% of all Ireland’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions come from our homes, and the use of our private cars also contributes hugely to Ireland’s emissions.

Why did you get involved in GreenMe?

Basically because it’s a great information resource. I think it will make life easier for people to go green, and the important thing is that it’s a website you can trust.

Gina and Jo [the GreenMe founders] share my values and are committed about leading a greener lifestyle.

A lot of businesses are jumping on the green bandwagon. In many cases they are misleading consumers about their products and services – it’s called “greenwashing”.

We want to make it easier for people to source genuine green products and make a distinction between suppliers that have genuine good green practices and minimise their environmental impact and those product suppliers and services that don’t.

The GreenMe website focuses on businesses that clearly show their integrity, credibility and transparency in their practices and take a holistic approach to improving their ecological footprint, rather than companies who often cherry-pick their eco-friendly parts (often small) and yet ignore their larger environmental impacts.

With the directory, the GreenMe blog and the tips and other advice you’ll get on the site, there’s a wealth of information and advice at your fingertips. And in addition when you sign up as a member you get lots of extra benefits, special offers and incentives.

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