This Saturday, 23 March at 8.30pm, Earth Hour is upon us. Hundreds of millions of people will turn off their lights for one hour, on the same night, all across the world. The World Wildlife Foundation’s annual event aims to raise awareness of the huge amounts of energy that we consume each day.
WWF is not the only one with this idea. The European Union too has committed to a 20% reduction in energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions, by 2020, in recognition of the unsustainable energy consumption by society today.
It’s a big and scary thought and more often than not it’s easier to ignore rather than look directly in the eye. Every little bit helps, however, and you can make a difference too! We don’t just mean during Earth Hour this weekend, but starting today within your very own home!
Research from McKinsey & Co indicates that if existing sustainable technologies such as solar panels, triple glazed windows or insulation were deployed to the fullest by 2020, a new home could consume around 90% less energy than it does today! The opportunity to decrease energy use can also be achieved within the existing building stock, as cuts of up to 40% could be achieved if we invest in ”greening” our homes! When looking at the cost of investment, the utilisation of these technologies is really not much to ask given that the cost of investment is almost immediately paid back thanks to the huge savings in return!
But what does it mean to invest in energy saving technologies for your home? One approach taken has been with the Passive House movement which introduced a new era of construction design founded on the idea of low energy buildings and “sustainable development.” The Passive House is defined as a building which in the Central European climate has a negligible heating energy requirement, and therefore needs no active heating. Such houses can be kept warm “passively” using only existing internal heat sources, solar energy admitted through the windows and by heating the fresh air supply (Find out more about the ventilation system of a Passive House in this video here.)
- A Passive House can use up to 85% less energy than a conventional building!
- A Passive House only requires the capacity of an iron to maintain comfortable warmth throughout the winter!
- Simple features including high performance insulation, windows and ventilation make all the difference in a Passive House!
There are already about 12,000 passive houses in Europe, and in fact our very own Polyurethanes Passive House, currently in the process of construction, will add to this growing energy savings trend (You can check out its progress here).
No matter why you’re doing it, whether or not it is incentivised by the urge to be greener, to redesign your home, or to cut down electricity costs, it’s worth it and it all comes down to one thing: energy savings for a happier home, environment and wallet! So what’s stopping you from taking the next step and making your home green?