World leaders and experts from over 190 nations are set to attend the UN climate change conference in Paris to discuss and forge new ways to combat climate change in a global and united level this December. While the big guys busy themselves with the wider scale of the climate problem, average citizens can start making their homes friendlier to the environment and their wallets.
Zero Carbon House
Ever heard of a Zero Carbon Cottage made of bamboo? It sits comfortably and guilt-free at the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development – Irawan complex. It is a demo house for the Zero Carbon Resorts project of the European Union’s Switch Asia programme. It aims to teach resort owners the benefits of cutting down carbon emission by presenting alternative sources of electricity, water, and the likes. Locally, the project is handled by the PCSD.
It’s like an evolved form of our traditional elevated bahay-kubo. It’s bigger, sturdier, and fancier, but it only has one bedroom. The building materials like the bamboo, anahaw leaves, clay, and yantok were locally acquired. A pathway littered with stones leads to wooden stairs up to a humble veranda attached to the entrance of the house. The floor is made of treated bamboo shinier than my future. I imagined that it would be difficult to sneak inside the house since every step is a symphony of squeaks. The front door opens to a spacious room for lounging and dining bathe with natural lighting.
The house runs on solar power. It also has its own water filtration unit. An occupant can also grow vegetables and fruits outside. It is a self-sufficient home built for eco-friendly living.
Aside from the ones mentioned, the ZCR project shares more information of appropriate technologies for resort owners like solar water heater, solar panels, green showers, LED lights, and other improvements beneficial to the environment and their finances.
What it stands for
Several local resorts have benefitted from the project. Their costs have gone down and their conscience is greener. While the cottage itself was built for resorts, residents of Palawan can derive inspiration from the house. You can undertake a “Do-It-Yourself” project and apply appropriate technologies and practices to your home. Buy LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs. Make your own solar water heater. Unplug unused appliances. Maintain a garden outside for vegetables and/or fruit-bearing trees. Learn how to segregate garbage and recycle.
Remember, green living is only limited by your desire. We don’t have to wait for our leaders to lay out a plan for us to follow. These meetings have been going on for years yet here we are still in this predicament. Big things happen because tiny steps were made.