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Climate Conscious Homes

With the constantly developing situation regarding the world and its ever changing climate it is important to look not only on the scale of countries, governments, and economies but also to look more locally at communities, housing and local areas to see what changes could be made to reduce human impact on the environment. By changing things at the lowest level of organisation some big changes can be made to the way people live and their impact on their environment. A big focus in many countries is in the improvement and creation of housing stock to produce a new generation of efficient and climate resilient homes. Reducing the energy used by residential areas is a great way of reducing overall environmental impact!

Utilising the sustainable technology

An example of this type of programme is the UK’s attempt to integrate efficient heat pumps into homes. These heat pumps heat and cool houses more efficiently than conventional radiators and air conditioning, using less energy to reach the desired temperature. The pumps also have the benefit of reducing cost for homeowners by reducing the cost of their energy bill, a particularly important aspect given current energy market prices. Further to this the heat pumps do not directly combust materials to generate heat, lovering the carbon footprint of houses utilising the technology.

Unfortunately this scheme has seen fairly limited success due to the high price associated with integrating the technology into houses. The systems are significantly more expensive than conventional systems running at about £10,000 GBP per household. Even with the government subsidising the installation of heat pumps in properties the payback time from energy savings is quite long, as well as the upfront cost being excessive to lower income families. This highlights an important problem for sustainability in the future. Sustainability should be affordable for all and certainly should not be a burden for lower income communities.