Smart homes. Green homes.

Month: November 2016

Did you ever forget…

..to turn down the heating before you left home? Or wish you could come home to a nice warm home after a long day at work?

Well, these kinds of problems can be easily solved these days with a smart
thermostat. Avoiding that you are heating an empty house can save you as much as £150 annually in energy bills, meaning that you savings on your energy bill can pay your thermostat within a couple of years.

 Google Nest actually learns your heating habits after a while, and will adjust the google-nesttemperature for you. You can install an app to go with it on your phone, allowing you to turn all heating off after you left the house. Nest currently has a campaign offering £30 off their products until November 28, giving it a total price of £219, installation included.

Cool features include: To help you save energy, Nest automatically turns itself down when nobody’s at home, and you can see a green leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy.

hiveBritish Gas has also developed their own version of the smart thermostat, called the Hive. You can buy it online for £249, and control both your heating and hot water. The thermostat must be installed by a professional, this is included in the price.

Cool features include: Using the location of your phone, your app can remind you to turn off your heating after you left the house if you forgot, and suggest you turn it on when you are approaching home.

For those really chilly places, the termostat can automatically start heating at a minimum temperature to avoid your pipes and water freezing. Common problem in Norway where I am from!

Steve Howard at IKEA – why green living is smart living

In a 2013 TED event,  Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA talks about how IKEA will be 100% renewable by 2020, or to put it in his own words:

‘A 100% target is easier to reach than an 90% target, because with the latter, everyone finds a reason to claim they are in the 10%’.

Watch Steve’s TED talk here.

TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 12-15, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. June 12-15, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Improving your EPC rating increases your property value

what-is-an-epcThe Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating was introduced in 2008, as a way to help people get a better understanding of how much energy they use, also in comparison to others.  It has a scale from A to G, where G is the absolute worst. In fact, from April 2018, it will be illegal to let property that has an EPC rating of F and G, the so-called Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES).

We did a little market research when we launched Polareco, a study of more than 500 homeowners in the UK. We asked how many knew what an EPC was. About three quarters of the British (74%) know what it is. However, what they may not know as well what the the rating of their own home is.

Indeed, we found some interesting results on this topic. When we asked people who were not planning any energy upgrades such as new windows, boiler, insulation and so on, the main reason why they did not plan this was NOT because it was too expensive, but because they were already so energy efficient!

That is quite shocking when we know that only 13% of households in England and Wales have reached the two highest EPC bands of A and B. In fact, almost twice as many British households, 25%, have energy ratings in the 3 lowest bands, E, F and G, according to the latest governmental statistics.

Increasing the energy rating of a home increases it’s value. A study of more than 300,000 British homes found that increasing the EPC rating from D to B will on average increase the value of your property by 5%.

It’ s supposed to be the coldest winter in the UK in 5 years, so better get on with it.

Leonardo DiCaprio and climate change

leonardo-di-caprio-before-the-flood-free-streaming-youtubeLeonardo DiCaprio has released a new movie, or documentary. It’s called ‘Before the flood‘, and it’s quite different other films he has starred in so far. Basically, it is about his engagement in climate change.

The first time I started watching the documentary I turned it off after 30 minutes, as I found it a little depressing that we are destroying our planet so excessively because of our overconsumption. Large rain forests disappearing every year due to pressure from palm tree plantations, enormous amounts of ice disappearing every day as the ice caps in the poles and on Greenland is melting away due to higher temperatures. Depressing statistics about what will happen if we don’t do something soon.palm

But the next day, the 30 minutes I had watched really stuck on my mind. Climate change was really the reason why I decided to start Polareco as a business, I wanted to make it easier for people to take the steps to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint.

But I’ve been worried that people are really tired of hearing about it, and that what they want to read about is new sofas, cool designs and how to create a beautiful home. But I think that is only part of the picture, and that people can have both – a beautiful, nice home while also doing their part for the climate. About 20% of the carbon emissions in the UK comes from homes, and mainly from the energy we use to heat our homes. A lot of the energy in the UK comes from fossil fuel sources such as gas, which has a carbon footprint. Watching Leo’s documentary gave me renewed belief in people’s willingness to understand and engage in climate cange.
leonardo-dicaprio-in-before-the-flood-2016-1So, here’s what I suggest: Watch Leo’s documentary, it’s really good, and you can watch it for free on youtube. Then, take up some of the advice from Leo, such as eating less meat.

Then, send an email to smarthome@polareco.com and book one of our energy expert to come visit you and tell you how you can reduce your energy use and carbon footprint at home.

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