Ardnashee is a 34 acre smallholding outside Bantry where I, Quentin Gargan, live and work. I moved here with my partner Clare Watson from Dublin in 1999 with a vision of downshifting, with plans to build a life of “comfortable sustainability”.

We have since separated, but already those plans had changed form over the years as our views on different issues changed. While we always maintained some degree of self-sufficiency, it became less hardcore as time passed.

The grass-roofed strawbale house here is powered by two 2.5kw wind turbines, 1.9kw of photovoltaic panels and sometimes a micro-hydro. Vacuum tube panels provide hot water while a log burning stove heats the home in winter.

There is a small workshop where my business, Voltsys, builds and sells controllers for renewable energy equipment. The farm has some Jacob sheep and a few ducks for meat and eggs.

Clare is doing research work on human psychology in relation to climate change, and a series of her articles can be found by clicking HERE.

Our initial move was driven by a desire to wean ourselves off fossil fuels because of their effect on global warming and the environment. Increasingly though, as technology becomes more competitive, other factors are making the evolution of renewable energy and solutions an attractive alternative for financial reasons as well.