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Living ecologically with all amenities

You don't have to compromise on comfort even if you are living ecologically. Photo: Getty Images

The rise in energy prices and possible power outages in the winter do not concern Mauno Mäkinen. His detached house in Karjalohja has four kilowatts of energy produced by the sun.

– You don’t have to compromise on comfort even if you are living ecologically. In addition to a solar-powered refrigerator-freezer, we have an organic pantry where the temperature stays above zero even at -25 degrees Celsius. An eleven-kilogram gas bottle lasts about a month: it is used for heating up the washing water and cooking. The fireplace keeps the house warm, even the washroom and its concrete floor. There is no need for underfloor heating.

– The running costs of the house are currently around 45 euros per month with no electricity, transfer, water or district heating charges. Many people don’t understand that despite ecological living we actually have all the amenities we need. We have been relying on solar power for more than two decades now and I have been somewhat surprised that solar panels have not really taken off, because private individuals could very well be part of this energy transition journey. A lot can be achieved with small practical ecological changes, Mäkinen points out.

Raita solutions work without electricity

The Mäkinen family has acquired Raita Environment’s BioBox XL gray water filtration package with post-filtering techniques where the gray water is cleaned before being discharged into the ground. The system is sized for five people and it has proven to work fine even for two people living in the house. The system is insulated with styrox, and after cleaning, the purified water is piped to the stone pit on the property. The waste water pipes are routed through the building’s crawl space where the heat collected by the rock in the summer is enough for keeping the space warm even in severe winter conditions. In addition, the biological activity of the system also generates heat in the form of hot steam which also helps to keep the pipes open and maintain a comfortable temperature that helps prevent freezing.

– Raita system fits in a small space. It works in a very simple manner and is a maintenance-free system. The BioBox is opened once in the summer and the filters are serviced. It takes just 15 minutes to clean the filters with a pressure washer, says Mäkinen.

Raita has also delivered a composting bio-toilet with composting tanks equipped with wheels. When the tank is full, it is easy to pull out and put an empty tank in its place. A full tank can be untouched for a year, after which the end-product can be tipped into the compost.

– Both systems were really simple to build. We have also studied the efficiency of the water treatment plant and the results have been really good. I have been very satisfied with Raita products. The operating costs of the systems are really low, the life span is long, and I am completely self-sufficient regarding these. Just like I am self-sufficient when it comes to the energy and heating solutions for my house.

Solutions for ecological living
and for summer cottage needs!

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