Housing produces a third of the average Finn’s carbon footprint. The most significant effect is how you heat the house and hot water. Even an old house can be lived ecologically without wasting energy.
“Climate change leaves no one and nothing alone. When it comes to housing, the most important thing is how the home heats up. Two-thirds of the energy used for heating still comes from fossil fuels. It’s often unclear to people how their own heat gets into the radiator.” Thus, Minister of Housing and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen considered the changes in housing in the next few years in mid-October. The message was that now is indeed the time to invest in renewable energy in home heating solutions.
Earlier, the same minister has said that the government wants a carbon footprint into building regulations by the mid-2020s. After all, the energy efficiency of houses is already controlled through building regulations, but the carbon footprint is an even broader issue and affects e.g. house materials.
Lots of savings in the old
This year, an estimated 7,500 new detached houses will be built in Finland. Houses that have received a building permit after the beginning of the year must have almost zero energy levels. However, the potential for savings is much greater in 1.1 million old detached houses, more than 80,000 terraced and chain houses, and more than 60,000 apartment buildings.
Even the sealing of doors and windows, the reduction of the indoor temperature to 18-20 degrees and the even sharper reduction of the temperature of unused spaces for the winter season have a clear effect on the energy bill and emissions of the home. Attention should also be paid to wasting hot water.
Even more effectively, the family saves and participates in climate work when modern doors and windows are replaced in the old house, at least the upper floor is further insulated and the old oil or electric heating is replaced by a heat pump using renewable energy. And best of all, these investments that reduce a family’s carbon footprint pay for themselves in the form of significant savings accumulated over the years.
Even in an old house, you can live ecologically, saving energy and the climate. According to a study by the Ministry of the Environment a few years ago, a family of four living in a 90-square-foot house in the 1940s made it into an ecologically loosely populated larger passive house.
Did the family living in the 1940s house work wonders, or did it compromise on the comfort of living so that in the winter you had to walk home on a palttoo site? Not really, but the means were simple. In winter, the temperature in the living quarters was kept at 21.5 degrees. Structurally, the house was still almost in its original form, but a decisive improvement was made with the installation of an air-to-water heat pump for heating and hot water production and a new energy-efficient accumulator.
Sun, wood and more
Utilizing renewable energy is easy, as it is abundant in our immediate environment. For example, the solar energy stored in the soil and air of our backyards can be used all year round in heat pumps – firewood used in a boiler or fireplace can be found in abundance in everyone’s home corner.
Almost every detached house has a fireplace that can produce at least extra heat during the winter season. The importance of wood heating is especially emphasized during the worst frost periods, as fossil fuels still produce a lot of electricity and district heating. It is important for climate talks how the share of green electricity, and especially clean wind power, will increase in the coming decades.
Many are passionate about solar energy, which produces well from early spring well into autumn. Solar collectors that produce heat can easily produce one third of the total energy needed by a house in Finland even in Finland. In recent years, increased the popularity of solar panels can, in turn, produces even though all home use of electricity for about six months. The panels can also be used to charge the charger.
The change has been rapid, and no one sees solar energy, for example, as the stinking of propeller hats. Many quite ordinary families have already voluntarily invested in a sunny future and acquired a roof system that will produce clean energy for decades.
It would not be impossible if the use of solar energy even became mandatory in new houses. A building permit could only be released in the house when a certain amount of solar energy is procured and placed in such a way that the direction and angle of the roof are best suited for the utilization of solar energy.
After all, the key word is hybrid. None of the means to reduce a house’s energy efficiency and carbon footprint alone is the solution, but the sum of all the parts and deeds will ultimately bring the desired result. And no family will solve the climate change that threatens us all on our own, but we will do it together, one small eco-act at a time.