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Experts opinion

Are you a responsible resident?

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Households are encouraged to halve their carbon footprint by 2035. During the 21st century, the consumption carbon footprint of Finns has been 10 carbon tons on average. The emission reduction means are related to the consumption of food, housing, travel, and the consumption of goods and services.

Moderation is the starting point of all consumption. It is every person’s primary means of combating climate change, special researcher Marja Salo from the Finnish Environment Institute emphasizes.

Living ecologically

According to Salo, there are three ways to measure ecological housing: the size of apartments, the energy consumption of the premises and the emission intensity of the energy used. Construction also contributes to emissions and consumes natural resources.

– With the choices we make in living and housing, we affect our environment. Apartments should be adaptable and adjusted to our life situation. A family with children needs more space than a pensioner. Or why not renting your holiday home if it is used only sporadically and the occupancy rate is low? The heating can also be adjusted to a reasonable level through building technology, Salo lists.

Moderation is the starting point of all consumption.

Our holiday homes are often well-equipped these days. Building technology requires keeping the space warm, whether it is in use or not. Will the savings of LED lights mean additional use of lighting, if the need for lighting is extended to the yard area? The load on natural resources can be reduced by moderating the total consumption of housing and the environment, for example through technology: by using air source heat pumps or by reducing heating. Economic thinking brings savings.

Resident’s choices

Every person can make climate actions with his or her own individual choices. With the rising energy costs, we are now faced with the fact that we need to find the money to pay for the energy.

– Domestic water heating makes up 17 percent of household energy use, including home heating and electricity use. The effect of hot domestic water is not necessarily considered, especially when living in a condominium, if there is no separate water meter based on consumption. Consumption-based billing is fairer and encourages to save water, Salo estimates.

Lowering the temperature indoors, sealing windows and adding clothes on indoors are easy ways to save energy. Hourly electricity price information helps to schedule consumption to avoid peak times when doing laundry, heating the hot water heater or charging electric cars. To even out consumption peaks is also useful from a climate perspective. It reduces the need to use more carbon-intensive production facilities.

Taking responsibility for sustainable housing

According to Salo, we are all responsible for a good living environment in the future. Residents by making wise choices in their own homes, housing associations and the society with its legislation and zoning: where to build and how, is the importance of renovation considered, and which parts of the buildings can be reused?

A responsible developer understands the living environment as a healthy whole: the necessity of a green environment, everyday things close to living, such as shops and schools, as well as common spaces for residents to gather in the kitchen or at the gym. You don’t have to own everything yourself. Shared electric cars in the countryside and in urban areas serve the entire community. There are as many ways as there is will.

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