I learned about climate-friendly homes during my gap year, and it’s why I went into climate advocacy because I could do something after feeling helpless for so long.
At first, I thought an eco-conscious home was one with plants around it.
Still, I got to experience how various players, including the heating industry, have come together to make new heating and cooling options that are not carbon-intensive. I got a job working with a building company where they had a heating company subcontract an HVAC professional for each of their homes to ensure they were energy efficient. When I worked with a heating technician in one of the homes, I learned that a heat pump is more climate-friendly because it uses electricity most of the time, reducing each home’s carbon footprint considerably. For the home we were working on, for example, the heat pump installation was going to provide whole home heating and heat their water, which was a major save for the homeowners and the planet. They also installed a smart thermostat to maximize help with indoor comfort. It allowed the owners to regulate the temperatures while saving them the struggle of scheduling heater maintenance because the thermostat app would send alerts. By the end of my term with the building company, my interactions with the heating business experts were enough to teach me more about heating than I would ever have had the chance to learn. It didn’t make me want to be a heating dealer or technician. Still, it taught me enough about technological advancements and their part in solving the climate crisis, so I picked environmental engineering for my undergraduate.