FIREMEN at a Dublin station have been collecting rainwater to fill their fire engine -- 14,000 litres every week so far -- and cut electricity consumption by 80pc.
It may appear like a return to the dark ages, driven by financial cutbacks.
Not so -- the firefighters at the Kilbarrack station are innovators in "sustainable work practices".
They have embraced a green lifestyle to become the flagship project for Dublin City Council's Sustainability Plan.
The aim is to replicate their experience throughout the organisation over the next seven years.
Staff at the fire station, on Tonlegee Road, have cut their carbon footprint by buying station food locally and have also reduced packaging on Emergency Ambulance equipment.
The building has been refitted with sustainably sourced, certified wooden doors, doorframes, windows, window frames and panels and this has reduced carbon emissions by 10 tonnes a year,
Also, they now recycle 40pc of all station waste.
Land around the station that was not being used has been transformed into four dedicated gardens which support the eco systems introduced in the building.
The station is also piloting a project to recycle cooking oil blended into biodiesel for its frontline emergency tender.
As part of their transport initiative, three in 10 of the staff now cycle to work.
Kilbarrack station used to consume 5,000 litres of water a day. A rainwater harvesting system has been installed that collects 14,000 litres of water a week, providing enough water for the fire engine.
Retired staff members have also been helping with the initiative.
This week Dublin's Lord Mayor Gerry Breen and City Manager John Tierney congratulated the firefighters on their Green Action Plan when they used the station for the official launch of a new city council Sustainability Plan.
The report is the first of its kind and focuses on energy, water, waste, biodiversity and transport conservation practices.