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Greener thinking at home, work and play

Imagine a house that could not only save energy but even produce enough to power your car - all year round.

 
New homes with the latest eco-innovations can save owners substantial sums on their energy bill. (c) European Commission

New homes with the latest eco-innovations can save owners substantial sums on their energy bill.

Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action
Shaping a clean, climate-friendly society is not a farewell to modern commodities and home comforts.
Commissioner Connie Hedegaard

This is already a reality. Today’s state-of-the-art homes, packed with a range of eco-innovations like ecological insulation and photovoltaic lighting, are often no more expensive than more traditional designs, and can lead to massive savings.

Gearing our individual habits towards more sustainable choices can extend beyond the home: we can even take them with us on holiday! Across Europe, you can find environmentally friendly hotels making strategic use of low-carbon technologies, like LED lighting, geothermal energy and heat transfer devices. Thanks to these and other measures, guests in eco-hotels leave a carbon footprint 90% smaller than people staying at a traditional hotel.

A few enterprising ideas

The fact that our buildings account for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions means that the potential for energy savings is huge. But even apparently insignificant changes can have extraordinary results:

  • Turning down the heating by just 1°C can cut as much as 10% off a household energy bill and avoid up to 300kg of CO2 emissions – or the equivalent of going on a 1600km road trip – each year.
  • Turning off the office computer when leaving for a meeting or lunch break can save up to 20% of daily energy consumption,
  • Using a multi-socket board and switching it off when the TV and other items are not in use, instead of leaving them on stand-by, can save as much as 10% of annual energy costs.
The control panel helps owners keep a careful eye on energy consumption. (c) European Commission

The control panel in an eco-friendly house helps owners keep a careful eye on energy consumption.

Petra Oberle, Owner of an energy-neutral home
Sustainable solutions at home can reduce energy consumption and save money.
Petra Oberle, Owner of an energy-neutral home

If we all took these steps, emissions from homes and office buildings could be drastically reduced. The EU is already phasing out traditional light bulbs in favour of much more energy-efficient lighting that reduces annual emissions of CO2 by 15 million tonnes. What’s more, the average household could save as much as €1000 on its annual energy bill by following these and other low-carbon solutions, so we’d be foolish not to! Entire communities are mobilising to lower their carbon footprint and establish new means of revenue for local areas.

How you can help

These large-scale initiatives, coupled with personal contributions that we can all make, will result in better living conditions, financial benefits and more jobs. Small contributions can lead to big changes!
 

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