Climate Change and COP26 - How can we as interior designers and consumers help when it comes to our homes?
The UK has hosted global world leaders for the past two weeks in Glasgow. Many say this is a pivotal moment for the health and survival of our planet and consequently, our species.
It all sounds doom and gloom, doesn't it?
A positive spin on this perhaps is to acknowledge that our world leaders have come together in acknowledgment of this being a real issue, even if they don't all agree on what needs to be done and by when.
I honestly believe it will be pressure from us, the conscious and caring consumers, to vote with our wallets demanding faster and better results, rejecting the products of companies that aren't "doing their bit", and supporting the right groups that lobby our government to legislate is also important.
What is COP26 about?
As a reminder, the world needs to keep global carbon emissions to under 1.5C. Currently, we are on track for 2.4C which has many negative ramifications on us and our planet.
So far there have been serious pledges by 100 countries to reverse deforestation by 2030, to reduce the output of methane levels from their current levels by 2030. Significantly, China, Russia, and India have not joined that particular pledge.
46 countries have committed to phasing out the use of coal, unfortunately, the major polluters, Australia, China, the US, and India have not signed the pledge. The last hurdle is to reduce fossil fuel subsidies.
At the11th hour, Chin and India demanded changes to the language used in phasing out of coal power in the Glasgow Climate Pact, from "phase out" to "phase down" and China was willing to ruin any pledges and positive developments made in the past 2 weeks if the language was not changed!
So, they got their way. What this means for small island countries is a bigger threat of flooding and eventually the loss of their land from Climate Change. Some are saying it is a huge step in the right direction that any reference to coal was even mentioned in this Climate Pact as it has not appeared in one before.
So, how does the interior design industry "do its bit"
to help reduce its carbon footprint?
10 COP26 ECO TIPS FOR YOU AND YOUR HOME.
If at all possible change to a heat pump to heat your home. Heat pumps can help you save over 30% on your energy bill, compared to other conventional heating systems. While the upfront cost may be more than other options, an efficient heat pump paired with proper insulation will save you money in the long run and carbon-producing resources such as gas and oil. *What is a heat pump, see below.
Where possible, insulate your loft and your walls. Make sure your windows are draught-proof.
Use timbers that are FSC certified meaning they come from sustainably managed forests.
If using MDF then ask your builder to buy from a company called MEDITE. There are 10 different MDF types the most sustainable being Medite Clear, perfect for sensitive environments, and with no added formaldehyde.
Use paints with very low VOCs, there are several manufacturers that go that step further to give end-users a healthy breathable environment with little or zero off-gases.
Re-use appliances and furniture where possible, if you can't, donate them, or make sure they are being disposed of responsibly.
Buy vintage or antique, you can find some fabulous pieces that will add character and personality to your home.
Use LED bulbs, if you haven't changed yet, make that a priority, it's simple and cost-effective.
Buy British and locally. Supporting our local designers and manufacturers helps to reduce carbon footprints by cutting down on transportation.
Buy from manufacturers that are making a conscious effort to be ethical and sustainable, they should disclose this on their websites. It's okay to buy from Europe, but steer clear of products from China unless it can be proven they tick that sustainability box. Companies that are BCorp certified are guaranteed to be making a holistic effort as a business. *What is a BCorp, see below.
*What is a heat pump?
Heat pumps can be used for heating or cooling spaces in a building. Heat pumps take their heat energy from the ground, air, or water and consequently can cost less to run than heating systems that use electricity, gas, or oil. The heat pump upgrades heat from lower temperatures to higher temperatures. The higher temperature heat can then be used for either space heating or hot water.
*What is BCorp?
Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.
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I look forward to catching up with you soon 🌿