Protecting the environment has to become a priority in our lives

The environment that surrounds us took billions of years to form and manages to keep us alive. For many years man thought it as irrelevant and insignificant and exploited it as much as he pleased until he started to realise that he is destroying what he relies upon. In recent years man started to learn how to appreciate and value the environment.

When man does something, he should not only consider what will be achieved immediately but also needs to contemplate on the effects that his actions will have on the world in the long term. In order to leave the least negative impact on the environment it is enough to use common sense and be responsible. For example, one can easily reuse, separate waste or recycle the items he disposes of. In other cases, one is required to make sacrifices and in fact sometimes he may end up spending more money to buy things that are environmentally friendly or energy efficient.

In recent years, ZAK undertook a restructuring project of its ZAK House, a property which will be used for youth work. Since the beginning, plans for this house included many energy efficient and low-consumption measures. Since funding for this project was limited, through a great sense of commitment to educate young people to become aware and understand the effects of their actions on the environment, ZAK applied for funds that could help towards this aim.

Therefore, what measures were desired during the planning stages could be implemented on site due to funds provided by the European Regional and Development Funds (ERDF) Cohesion Policy 2007-2013. This project, titled Reducing ZAK House’s Carbon Footprint helped to purchase and install: a photovoltaic system, energy efficient light fittings, a system of sensors and switches to reduce the time lights are left on and shower and water fittings that consume less water. These measures, of which 50% of the costs will be paid through the ERDF project, generate more than 13,500kWh per year and save more than 5,000kWh. Due to such initiative, ZAK will save 150 cubic meters of water per year. This means that the entire project will reduce the carbon footprint by approximately 15,000 kilograms per year.

It is planned that by the measures taken through the ERDF project, together with other measures including the drilling of a reservoir to capture and use rainwater, building insulated walls, the use of thermal insulation in ceilings and glass windows with double glazing and use of equipment that uses less energy, the impact of the use of this building on the environment will be minimal.