Reducing Your Environmental Footprint from the Comfort of Home

organic solar cells environmental footprint house
Organic solar cells could transform your windows into a source of renewable energy (Photograph: Richard Lunt, Michigan State University).

By André Fonseca, CEO of Zypho

People are increasing worried about the environment and it is now considered the third most pressing issue facing the UK after Brexit and public health. Young people rate it as the second most pressing issue.

Apart from pushing for greater action at a national level, what can ordinary people do to confront the climate crisis?

Here are some of the most promising solutions to help reduce your home’s impact on the environment:

Energy Use

There has been a big push towards finding renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar, and I encourage everyone to switch to a renewable energy supplier.

More of us are using energy-efficient LED bulbs. Solar panels have grown in popularity as the cost has fallen and efficiency improved.

But what if every window in your home (or office building) generated energy?

Solar Glass

With solar glass, it will be possible to turn windows into solar panels. While still transparent, they trap the sun’s energy, generating free, renewable energy. With billions of square meters of glass windows in the UK alone this has huge potential to generate the energy we need.

Smart Switches

As well as generating more renewable energy, there are also innovative ways to reduce energy consumption.

Smart switches help combat unnecessary energy usage from lighting. They use a combination of automation tools, such as motion sensing and programmable times, to automatically turn lights off when they’re not being used.

Heat Loss

While we tend to think of electricity use when we think of environmentalism, heat loss is another huge contributing factor. Heat is still energy and heat loss both wastes energy and warms the environment.

Of course, insulating your home with modern insulating materials and double glazed windows are essential. However, there are also new ways of recapturing heat energy, reducing your home’s environmental impact.

Shower Heat

If you own a smart meter, you’ll be aware that electric showers take a large amount of energy to quickly heat the water.

Fortunately, Zypho has been working on a clever device that recaptures the heat from your shower water. Zypho devices can be retro-fitted into existing showers both in the home and commercial buildings. They exchange heat between the water disappearing down the drain and the water heating up to the heating unit, reducing energy use by up to 67%. That means for every three showers, two are free!

Water Efficiency

The amount of fresh drinking water available is rapidly declining so water efficiency should be considered as important as energy and heat.

Showers use lots of water, usually much more than a bath! Fortunately, there are several companies developing solutions that reduce water used in showers.

Nebia has a new showerhead using up to 65% less water than a traditional shower. It atomises the water for a more efficient shower without sacrificing the quality of the shower.  It’s estimated that the average household could save up to 12,000 gallons of water every year using this.

Another low-cost option is the Niagara low-flow showerhead.  It reduces the amount of water sprayed out while ensuring a consistent pressure.

Efficient Laundry

Washing machines also uses huge amounts of water. New high-efficiency washers use around 15-30 gallons of water compared to 29-45 gallons used by older washers.

However, for an average house that still equates to hundreds of litres of water used a week.

The Laundry Pod has been developed to drastically cut the energy and water used for laundry. Laundry Pod is a manual washing device that doubles as an exercise machine!

This means it uses zero electricity and only three gallons of water per wash at most.

So, it’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, action is needed at a national level. However, as individuals we can make a huge impact by taking steps to reduce our energy, heat and water usage. By using these types of solutions perhaps your home could run on zero non-renewable energy, use less renewable energy and water and dramatically cut your bills in the process.


About the Author:

André Fonseca is the CEO of Zypho, a company developing internationally-patented shower-drain heat recovery solutions for domestic and commercial showers. André has a long history of success in management and marketing roles, primarily in the retail and construction materials industries. He has spent the past 20 years working in commercial and marketing management roles, most recently for Cifial SA and before that within the leisure and apparel industries. In his spare time, André enjoys outdoor pursuits including travelling, running and cycling.

www.zypho.eu