Our Sustainability Series: My Planet-Friendly Home
Get to know the planet-first approach to living in our second episode of Our Sustainability series. Jace explains how you can make small changes to your home and make a big difference to the planet.
What better way to experience all the opulent beauty of Mother nature than living in Costa Rica, one of the most-biodiverse countries in the world. The evergreen wonderland of nature and animals are beautiful reminders of the planet we are fortunate to inhabit and the importance of protecting it.
The country is steadfast in sustainability with 99.98% of electric power created from renewable sources; 73.39% of its energy from hydropower, 13.84% from geothermal sources, 12.12% from wind and 0.63% from biomass and solar panels (1). As part of my contribution, I drive electric. Having explored an array of eco-communities across the world, I fell in love with my sustainably palatial residence nestled on the jungle-topped coastline, fringed by azure waters.
So what makes my home so remarkably green? From the outset, Sustainable design was central to the architect's planning. Almost every room has a wall-to-glass ratio of 3:4. Intentionally maximizing the use of glass increases natural light and, in turn, minimizes my energy consumption. Additionally, there are no fluorescent lights, only LEDs and beeswax candles. While fluorescent bulbs are much more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, when they end up in landfills, small amounts of toxic mercury are released which poses a threat to people and wildlife. A significant component of the architecture is natural ventilation. Built with glorious glass sliding doors, nature-enriched outdoor living spaces, and a majestic open-air staircase, it successfully maintains airflow to keep the space ventilated, completely reducing the need for air-conditioning or electric fans.
My partner has a very stern no-plastic policy from hygiene care products to the places we store our food. After educating me on plastic leaching, it was an easy decision for me to stop plastic use, but our alarming plastic statistics globally put an end to it once and for all. In order to keep up with demand, we generate around 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, 60% of which ends up in our natural environment or landfills (2). Ergo, our plastic-free space starts in the kitchen with glass food storage and stacher bags, cast iron and stainless steel cookware, 100% bamboo cooking utensils and mesh and tote bags to take to the farmers market. The most valued item is our biodegradable dish sponge made from the husk of the coconuts that fall in our garden - when we’re done, we simply throw them in our compost pile and make another. The unspoiled bamboo that reaches the window seal only called for a bathroom rich in bamboo items; toothbrushes, toilet brush, sanitary towels and earbuds. As we head into plastic-free July, take a look around and see what swaps you can start making today. This could be swapping your plastic takeaway coffee cups for a reusable cup, or maybe not purchasing another throwaway hair brush in a while.
Among all places, I enjoy the garden the most. This enchanted sanctuary is full of naturally grown herbs, vegetables and fruit that are cared for with love and never chemicals. I achieve this by composting all food waste for mulching and using it for the soil as well as making natural pesticides from foods like banana skin. Leading a mostly vegan, sometimes raw diet means most of my meals come from my garden whilst any grains I purchase come from a local farmer. My diet minimizes my carbon footprint not only through reducing supplier transportation needs but by reducing the Animal agriculture that is contributing significantly to climate change.
Sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyles are a part of our increasingly conscious society as we move back to humans and nature thriving in symbiosis, the way nature intended. Tap into the intimately connected oneness with your body and your planet - the only homes we have. From what you eat to what you wear, every single thing has an impact on our planet and its inhabitants. Start by determining that anything you put in your body is as healthy for the environment as it is for your home and we can be closer to consciously making the planet a better place.
1. Data from National Center for Energy Control (CENCE) https://ticotimes.net/2021/10/28/costa-ricas-electric-grid-powered-by-98-renewable-energy-for-7th-straight-year
2. Marine Plastic Solution. IUCN. 2021.https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/marine-plastic-pollution#:~:text=electronics%20and%20agriculture.-,Over%20300%20million%20tons%20of%20plastic%20are%20produced%20every%20year,in%20the%20ocean%20every%20year.