29 September 2009

R3project round-up 1: General Installations Around the House.

The R3project is almost complete; the renovation of the apartment is finished and we are living in it with our worms on the balcony, recycling and saving on energy and water wherever we can, without loosing comfort or style. In the following months we will finish this blog with a few round-up posts to give a better overview of the sustainable design solutions we applied to our apartment. This article is about the general installations around the house. The next ones will include the kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, office and balcony. We hope you enjoy it.

The general stuff around the house are mostly things you cannot see any more, but that play an important role when it comes to sustainable living. We started the R3project off with an eco-move, where we brought our stuff into the new apartment without emitting CO2. How? With a bicycle and a little help from our friends, watch the video here.

The month before the move, we were shopping for mortgages, and managed to get a loan with the ethical banc Triodos Bank. They guarantee that they only give money to ecological, social or ethical projects. We like that!

Next we had to get rid of a few sacks of debris, and found out that Sacos Marones recycle the debris. It’s a great service widely available in Spain.

In order to avoid PVC in our home, we had to look harder to find recyclable plastic pipes for the grey water installation. In the end we used the tubing system by AquaTherm, which is easy to install with ordinary tools, and, copper pipes for the fresh water and heating installation. The Jaga radiators we chose are ‘low H2O’, which means they also need less energy to run (because there is less water to heat). To heat our water we use a condensation gas boiler. What we really recommend, even without undergoing a full renovation, are low-flow faucet aerator. They cost around 3€ and save you up to 50% water. Depending on what flushing system your toilet has, you can also save a lot of water. We opted for a ‘Stop Flush system’.

Just like for the water pipes, we managed to find PVC-free plastic tubes for the electricity. We used recyclable corrugated polypropylene tubes that are also organochloride and halogen free. Connected to the end of those are of course CLF lightbulbs and A-efficient electric appliances. We even managed to find eco-friendly plugs made form recyclable plastic, and light switches, made in Spain from certified wood.

Our walls are painted with zero-VOC paint, and the wooden beams and balcony doors are treated with ecological and natural oils.

In order to keep heating costs down and keep the apartment cool without installing air conditioning, we made sure the place is completely insulated. Double-glazing was a must, and the cork floor an extra bonus to both thermally and acoustically insulate the apartment.

R3project round-up 1: General Installations at Home
R3project round-up 2: the Kitchen

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