Architect angle: Valuable tips for a greener home (Part 1).

Architect angle: Valuable tips for a  greener home (Part 1). featured Image

Yesterday, the electricity was cut off by the electrical company about five times at our offices. It was around 5.00pm temperature outside was approximately 40ºC-104º Fahrenheit.

Yes, everyone was having the air con at full blast; it was that or having drops of sweat pouring over the paperwork. After restarting the pc’s five times we all thought of switching off any irrelevant machinery (except the air con) and we switched off two printers, the plotter and shut off the air vent of two rooms where there were no one at the time.

We made some rough calculations and we were saving about 1 kw. of energy, that made us aware of how much energy we can save or waste foolishly. So I thought of different actions that citizens could put into practices in their homes to become more sustainable and save money and share it with you. I am sure we can do much more than what we believe to combat climate change, pollution and overexploitation of natural resources and to pay less in our fuel bill. Various ecological measures could be applied that will help improve the environment and, in turn, save money.

This article outlines a number of tips for a greener home.

Replace incandescent light bulbs with led lighting. Incandescent bulbs waste energy and last less than led lighting: it is estimated that only 5% of the energy consumed by a typical model of 100 watts (W) results in light (95% in waste heat) and the useful a life is 1,000 hours. The European Union (EU) has approved a policy for gradual withdrawal of incandescent lighting that will end in September 2016.

Consumers can do more than they think about the environment from home. Led light bulbs are good for the environment and for your pockets, because they are more efficient (in producing light) and last longer than incandescent. In the market you can find various models and types such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), halogen or even better still, LED. In any case, whether they are efficient or not, you should turn them off when not required: the cleanest energy is that which is not used.

Use reusable products and packages.

Against the throwaway policies and its negative consequences, the reuse of packaging and other products extends its life and provides a reduction in waste and a good savings for the domestic economy.
The ways that you can reuse product at home are very diverse: using textile bags against plastic specially of a single use, aluminium or steel containers to store food, glass bottles for storing and serving water instead of plastic bottled, linen cloths instead of paper towels, rechargeable batteries, etc. etc

Install water-saving and energy systems.
The water waste and energy resources may harm the environment, while adding a considerable economic cost. Therefore, we should consume only when absolutely necessary and take various actions to achieve a sustainable use of them.
In the case of water you can take five-minute showers instead of baths, washing clothes with cold water programs, using high-efficiency dishwasher to reduce water and energy consumption, avoid wasting water taps, installing water savers systems, etc.
As for energy, the potential for savings are also diverse: appliances which use high energy efficiency lamps; install renewable systems for electricity or hot water, such as  photovoltaic panels or solar thermal systems (it is a crime not to install solar thermal panels in Spain); switch off appliances that are in “standby” mode; instead of using an oven use microwave; improve the thermal insulation at home so that heat will not escape in winter or rise in in summer; clothesline outdoors rather than tumble dry, etc.
Recycling and composting waste.
Recycling avoid filling landfills and extraction of new raw materials, in addition to reducing energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Also, existing materials can be recycled to make new products. Therefore, inhabitants of an eco- house, friendly to the environment should have an area for storing and separate waste so that can then be taken to the appropriate waste container.
Composting is a system that transforms organic waste into a material capable of enriching plants and crops. A simple container, a few tips and a little patience are enough for anyone to compost at home.
Next week we will continue with further tips on how to save energy and be friendlier….with the environment and your fellow homo sapiens.

Article by Pacheco and asociados architects