Households in Europe are responsible for 27% of final energy consumption, 23% of waste generated (representing the 2nd largest source of waste generation), 12% of overall drinking water consumption and contribute to 13% of total GHG emissions (only accounting for direct emissions, the figure would jump to 25% if indirect emissions were also included).
Meanwhile, 43% of European citizens’ expenditures are directly related to housing costs (including food, bills, maintenance). Moreover, this study from the European Environmental Agency shows that house-related expenses have the 2nd highest cost to GHG emission ratio, after transportation.
To embrace a more sustainable lifestyle, we need to start at home.
Luckily, technological developments and R&D on innovative materials have provided us with many alternatives that offer interesting benefits both from an environmental and financial perspective.
The use of sustainable materials, for both construction and furniture, reduces the indirect carbon footprint of our houses. In addition, innovative design methods that increase daylight diffusion, minimize heat dispersion and maximize natural ventilation allow for a reduction of direct emissions from energy usage (see definition of passive house).
On the other hand, if you are not planning to build a new house or renovate one, technology can still help reduce waste of all sorts. From smart and energy-efficient appliances to IoT, we can have more control over our home energy usage. The market already provides a handful of affordable and effective ways to become more sustainable.
For those with space on the roof, there is the further possibility of generating electricity through a PV system that can help to save a fair amount of money on your electricity bill and prevent the release of several tonnes of CO2 annually. Energy storage has also reached technological maturity and affordability, to further boost your energy independence.
As mentioned though, energy-related emissions are not the only problem to tackle. Water usage and domestic waste generation also play an important role. In this capacity too, technology can give us more control over what is happening around us. Smart fridges tell you how full they are, let you check what’s inside with cameras and tell you how long a specific food has been in there and that you should eat it before it goes bad. Washing machines now use as little as 3-4 litres of water for a full load and have drastically reduced electricity consumption. Modern smart showers now track your water usage and even regulate the flow according to your movements.
However, being sustainable at home does not always require you to make a financial investment. The most important step is a change in behaviour. Significant savings can be achieved by simply paying a little bit more attention to those daily routine actions that generate useless and unjustified waste. Ultimately, it is a matter of education and learning to embrace change.
We’ve created “The Sustainable Home Guide" to show you the first steps you can take towards a more sustainable lifestyle at home. It’s a practical guide that gives you tips on basic products and habits that can help you reduce your impact on the environment, save money, and ultimately create a healthier, happier home.