The Swedish government is commited to environmentally-friendly living and supports the technology that helps them achieve this. By 1994 all household garbage had to be separated. 2010 is marked as the final year of nuclear power in the country.
Swedes are driving this movement, by making it known that they want to live in buildings which consume less energy and are less toxic and which make recycling and the sharing of resources easier. When we visited my aunt in Malmo, I was struck by the number of cyclists, both young and old, using the roads and the environmental programs associated with the apartment building my aunt lived in. Here are some of their eco-village criteria:
- every dwelling should have access to arable land;
- cool storage facilities not dependent on outside energy should be provided on site;
- water should be taken from a well on site if it is potable;
- sewage pipes should be separated from pipes carrying wastewater from baths, sinks and washing machines. All wastewater should be treated locally;
- garbage should be sorted at the source, and all compostable wastes from households, gardens, etc. should be composed locally;
- storm, or surface water should be filtered on the property;
- houses may not be built on land that slopes from northwest through north to northeast;
- houses must not be located in such a way that more than 25 percent of total solar radiation is blocked;
- buildings should be protected against the wind;
- heat consumption in residential rooms should not exceed 75 kilowatt hours per square metre per year. Heating ot hot tap water should be done using renewable energy sources to the greates possible extent;
- where conditions allow, electricity should be generated from wind power; and,
- air circulation should be provided using natural drafts or ventilation as required.
Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit www.ninamunteanu.me. Visit www.ninamunteanu.ca for more about her writing.