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How to heat your home without heating the atmosphere

When the days become shorter and the nights become colder, the heating season begins - not just for people’s homes, but also for the planet.

3 min read

Author:

Ksenia Pisera

Journalist, popularizer of knowledge about environmental and climate protection

If you are not planning on making any investments but would still like to heat your home in a more sustainable way, there are several ways to do so!

However, if we are well prepared we can reduce the impact that heating homes and apartments has on the atmosphere. Although the most effective solutions require an upfront investment, there are also many simpler and less costly ways to raise the temperature in your home without raising your budget.  

Warm blankets, thick socks, and a cup of hot tea are all welcome additions when the sun goes down and evenings become chilly. And although this is sometimes enough to keep us nice and cozy, often we need to crank up the radiators to stay fully comfortable, especially in the more northern (or, in the Southern Hemisphere, more southern) locations. So, it is worth knowing where your heat comes from and what impact it has on the environment.  

According to the Central Statistical Office’s latest report on energy consumption, there were 14.4 million households in Poland in 2018. This report also shows that the most common heat sources in Poland are grid heat (40.3%) – which is mainly generated with fossil fuels – hard coal (33%), natural gas (13.1%), firewood (8.7%), and electricity (2.6%). In addition to this, more energy is used in older buildings that struggle with escaping heat due to improper (or lack of) wall insulation. As a result, even more heat is needed to heat the house. 

Overall, buildings are responsible for about 38% of greenhouse gas emissions in Poland – but it does not have to be this way. As WWF points out, thermomodernization of buildings would allow for a reduction in energy consumption of between 35-80%. Representatives of the National Energy Conservation Agency calculate that, in turn, lowering demand for energy within buildings would make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 46 million tons – and to reduce almost 90 thousand tons of dust every year. 

There is a slight catch, however: the best solutions come with a larger financial cost. The good news is that people who plan to make thermal upgrades or change their emission-heavy heat source can take advantage of special grants aimed at assisting in this transition. Details can be found in the environmental departments of respective municipal offices across Poland. 

If you are not planning on making any investments but would still like to heat your home in a more sustainable way, there are several ways to do so: 

  • Check that your radiators are in good working order. If the radiator is making unusual noises or the top of the radiator is cold with a warm bottom, it’s not working properly. You can vent the radiator yourself or with the help of a professional. 
  • Expose radiators. If you cover the radiators with furniture or hang laundry on them, the heat gets trapped. This requires more energy to heat the room. 
  • Keep heat inside. Leaks under doors, gaps in windows, and leaky mounting gaps from ductwork all cause the cold to seep into your home. Proper sealing will reduce cooling. 
  • Take advantage of opportunities! Open your windows when the sun comes out – this will help warm the room with its rays. When you’re done baking or heating food in the oven, leave the door open. This is a good source of reheating! 
  • Ventilate with your head. Ventilating a room is good for your well-being, but it’s better to take a different approach in the winter. Open all the windows at once for a few minutes, remembering to turn off the heat beforehand. This way you can quickly ventilate the apartment and also quickly restore the desired room temperature. 

Heating your home is an important component of your carbon footprint. By implementing these few tips, you can successfully reduce your CO2 emissions in a measurable way! 

If you want to know more practical ways to live green, follow the TerGo blog! Together we can effectively protect the climate.