In 2019, the global emissions of carbon dioxide totaled 33,621.5 million metric tons. This gas leads to climate change and increased temperatures. Homes are one of the many contributors to this issue. We use tons of energy to heat our homes and power our devices.
Many homeowners are starting to look at green solutions when making upgrades. Yet, the key may be in the past. Here is how historical home updates can help reach our goal of going net-zero.
Make Use of Curtains
Many sophisticated older homes had large and heavy tapestries. These curtains were more than just decoration. They helped keep sunlight out and prevent drafts in the winter. The materials trapped the heat, so the interior temperature stayed warm. Today we can use curtains to act as a form of insulation.
It’s an affordable upgrade that can make your home more comfortable. At the same time, it prevents you from running your heater constantly in the winter. That way, you reduce carbon emissions and your utility bills.
Gather Around the Fire in the Winter
In the winter, families would gather around the open wood fire to stay warm. They would tell stories and feed the flames until nightfall.
We can adopt a similar strategy today to reduce our reliance on HVAC systems. Also, cozying up to the fire can prevent the need to heat the entire house, wasting less energy.
Plus, it can help you relax and reconnect with your family. Also, try dressing warmly and take advantage of sunlight hours to lower your thermostat.
Consider Alternative Sources of Energy
Some older homes in rural areas have found alternative energy sources. Heat pumps allow the building to breathe while keeping the home at a comfortable temperature. Using these appliances is more energy-efficient and reduces the use of electricity.
However, for historic homes, outdated electrical systems waste more energy. So, these should be professionally updated before adding the pumps.
Biomass boilers are another excellent solution. They are powered by organic matter, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. This is critical since 84.3% of the world’s energy consumption is from fossil fuels.
Historically, residents also had to rely on natural elements to power their homes. We can learn from this by using renewable sources, such as solar, wind, and water. Hydropower mills are one way we can use water to generate power. Hydroelectric can also convert the kinetic energy of falling water to electricity.
Using solar power is another way to reach back into the past. Today, homeowners can install permanent clotheslines in their yards to take advantage of free clothes drying rather than running the machine. Or, place solar panels on the roof to generate electricity independently. It can save you money and reduce carbon emissions.
The other natural component we can use is wind power. It has been used in the past to power mills and ships. Today we can use wind farms to power homes and residential buildings. This helps reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by using sustainable sources. In fact, wind is the second-largest energy source in the United Kingdom.
Provide Proper Insulation
In the past, residents had to seal their homes to protect them from the elements. This is an essential upgrade for modern homes. Plus, people in historic properties can benefit from insulation that reduces drafty areas.
You want to focus on creating an airtight home. This includes using triple-glazed windows and effective insulation and sealing any openings. Use weather-stripping or caulk to cover the holes. Make sure you enclose the gaps in your windows and doors. When using insulation, use blown cellulose. It is eco-friendly because it comes from trees and takes little energy to produce. Then you can go back and add Energy Star-rated appliances and LED light bulbs.
How We Can Learn From the Past
Historical homes didn’t rely on electricity or modern amenities, which substantially limited their potential carbon footprints. In contrast, the modern home uses tons of fossil fuels to cook and heat the house. We can take lessons from the past by using renewable sources and having effective insulation. These changes can help the planet and benefit the next generation.