Fact check how much does housing affect the climate?

Many of us know that diet and consumption patterns have an impact on climate. That's why some are now giving up meat and no longer chasing every fashion trend. But what about home? Does the way you live have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions and therefore the environment??

Claim: Housing influences the ecological footprint.

The bitter truth right at the beginning: Yes, those who have a roof over their heads automatically harm the climate. After consumption, mobility and food, housing is fourth on the list of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Our homes are responsible for about a quarter of the environmental footprint in Switzerland. Above all, heating and general energy consumption are among the biggest damaging factors in the context of housing. Annually, the Swiss population produces about 1.63 tons of CO2 and consumes 5000 watts of energy just from living, according to the Federal Office for the Environment. However, the extent to which one's own four walls impact the environment depends on various factors. Starting with the construction method, to the inhabited area, to the type of heating system that is installed – all these factors influence the ecological standard of living. As a tenant, it is often difficult to influence these aspects. For home owners, however, there are more ways to reduce their ecological footprint.

The sustainable foundation is already laid during construction

The eco-balance is already influenced when building your own home. The CO2 emissions and the energy that are produced or consumed in this process influence how sustainable the way of living will be in the end. A wide range of resources are consumed in the construction of a house or apartment. Whether the materials used are renewable or artificial also influences the footprint. Wood, for example, is much more sustainable than concrete. The sustainability of a property can also be improved retrospectively – even in the case of older buildings: for example, through targeted renovation or refurbishment. In Switzerland, about one million houses are so badly insulated that an energetic renovation would be necessary. Often, for example, houses built before 2000 do not meet today's standards in terms of insulation (source: energie-experten.org). Such an investment can massively reduce the energy consumption and thus the CO2 emissions caused by living in the building.

Does your property have a sustainability certificate??

Then contact us and we will check whether a Green Mortgage at favorable interest conditions is an option for you.

Every square meter affects emissions

Most people in Switzerland want more space to live in – and not just since the corona pandemic. But as the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) points out, greenhouse gas emissions increase with every additional square meter of floor space. How many people occupy an area together is particularly crucial. So if you want to conserve the earth's resources, it's a good idea to think about reducing the amount of living space you have or sharing it with others. The recommendation of the FOEN is approx. 35m2 per person.

A home that is too warm has a negative impact on the carbon footprint

The influence of heating on the climate balance is often underestimated. Heating emits an average of 1.6 tons of CO2 per person per year. Particularly important are petroleum heating systems, which emit 4.7 tons of CO2 per year, and natural gas heating systems, which produce about 3.6 tons of CO2 per year. As WWF explains, it is more environmentally friendly to heat directly with solar energy, a heat pump, pellets or wood. As a condominium owner, you can only have a limited influence on the choice of heating. The situation is different if you are a homeowner. If you are considering changing your heating system, it is advisable to find out about the subsidies available in your canton of residence. Some cantons support these projects with subsidies. If you want to make a contribution in a simpler way, you can already achieve a lot if you don't turn the heating up all the way, even in winter, but only heat as much as is really necessary. As the WWF describes, a reduction of two to three degrees is usually enough to have a positive impact. As a rule of thumb, you can remember that the temperature indoors should never rise above 21 degrees. Do you also want to know what your personal footprint is?? Then simply do the test here.

Is green electricity the solution to our climate problem??

For the laptop at work, charging the smartphone or even the TV evening: energy is needed constantly and in large quantities nowadays. By purchasing green electricity, CO2 consumption can already be positively influenced. However, anyone who now purchases green electricity for sustainable living should be aware that the more sustainable alternative does not necessarily flow from the power socket. This is because it is always a mix of the total electricity supply. Coal, nuclear, wind, solar and water energy – everything is included when electricity is purchased. Indirectly, a person who buys ecological electricity, but still makes an important contribution. Indeed, this will increase demand for more sustainable alternatives, and providers will promote them accordingly. The bottom line is that this will generally make the electricity mix in Switzerland greener.

The purchase of new household appliances is worthwhile

More sustainable living means taking a closer look at the energy consumption of household appliances as well. Older and inefficient appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and tumble dryers can be real power guzzlers. If you want to upgrade your home ecologically, you should also take a closer look at these appliances. Since 2021 there are new energy efficiency classes in Switzerland and the EU. Each household appliance has a sticker with a scale that indicates how efficient the energy consumption of that appliance is. G stands for the worst category and A+++ for the best.

Conclusion: Correct, living has an influence on the own ecological footprint.

In addition to consumption and diet, the way you live is actually a significant factor that can have a big impact on the environment. On the bright side, homeowners, or those who want to be homeowners, have many options to minimize their negative impact on the environment.

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