Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Our apartment is eco-friendly as we could get (without completely ruining ourselves to save the planet)

Our initial idea with the apartment was to have everything environmentally-friendly, organic paint, the works. We even went to specialist trade fairs to source manufacturers. But soon we realised that going the whole hog was as impracticable as it was expensive. Inevitably and reluctantly we had to compromise in places, and yet I think - all in all - we made a pretty good effort.

Electricity. Before work even started, we changed energy supplier. This has only been made possible recently, and we opted for Poweo because of their renewable energy offer. In fact they have two. The first is called 'Planète' and is 100% certified green energy from European solar sources and wind farms. We decided to go a step further and subscribe to their 'Avenir' offer - slightly more expensive - which is zero paper (all bills are sent by e-mail), plus they state that if you use less electricity than the amount you subscribed for in a year, Poweo will compensate for 100kg of CO2 in an eco project chosen by Action Carbone. It's not an excuse to turn the heating up full with the windows open, but it helps my conscience to know that we are not contributing to global warming.

Heating. To save space and energy (as well as looking rather smart), we chose a mirror radiator from Verelec. They say it uses 30% less electricity than similar heaters. I'd like to think so. They also say that it's better for those with allergies, as it does not use convection, which tends to blow dust around the room.

Bedding. We chose an organic cotton duvet from Dodo. They have another range that goes by the wonderful name of Uranus that we didn't feel drawn to for some reason (French manufacturers, eh?). Dodo do our pillows too, and all the bedding is animal-free ; the thought of down or feathers in my pillow or duvet brings to mind too many horrible images, and it's better for allergy sufferers too. The sheets, pillow cases and duvet cover are by Jalla and are made from a fabric that they've created called Eternal (they've even registered it as a trademark! Bless 'em). Eternal is 20% cotton and 80% microfibre, giving it a luxurious soft touch and making drying and ironing a breeze. That's the theory. I haven't tried yet.

Towels. These are by Santens, a Belgian firm that started making bamboo cotton items earlier this year. Bamboo is better because it's from a renewable source, is very soft to the touch and absorbs more than ordinary cotton towels. And it can be washed at 60°C so there's extremely hygienic.

Windows. The apartment had crusty old windows from before the war so we replaced them with toasty double glazing.

Cleaning. All the products that we supply to clean the apartment with are eco-friendly (thank you Monoprix).

Paperwork. You have a few things to sign when you arrive. We always print on recycled paper, or paper from managed forests (and print on both sides!)

That's about it I think. Hopefully you can see that eco-responsibility (and a hint of luxury) steered us in our choices. It wasn't always easy, and it certainly wasn't cheap. Hope you appreciate the effort we made!

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