The eco-discourse has become fashionable. What does being eco-friendly actually mean? Is it about buying eco-friendly products or maybe more about changing habits and mentality? Isn’t it just a temporary eco-fashion that will disappear in the glimpse of an eye…?
No doubt, the word eco has recently become extremely popular. Eco food, eco furniture, eco clothes, eco cars, eco houses, eco everything… No wonder, that some people takes it as short-lived. However, issues like: global climate change, smog, excessive pollution and rising sea level are not here today and gone tomorrow. The media make us hear a lot about those issues, but do we really care about them? Do we really consciously analyse our personal contributions?
By buying eco-friendly products we think that we somehow influence a positive change, however usually the real change comes from each one’s mind-set. Therefore, it’s important to create space and time to build a community, within which people inspire each other by their thoughts and actions. That is in short what The Conscious Club came up with.
The Conscious Club is a place designed with the environment at heart. This implies not just spreading eco-friendly ideas, but also the place itself is built from sustainable materials.
The Conscious Club is a showcase of a new, sustainable future. We’re the first public climate-neutral canal house in Amsterdam. We’ve rebuilt this former chocolate factory with a super high tech sustainable climate system and only used natural products to build this “sacred” space. Not only a conscious design, but also one with a “soul” through the amount of antique details and items with a story.
The energy produced to heat the building and deliver electricity is provided by solar panels.
Although the production of solar panels does require some inputs of raw materials and energy, solar power’s environmental impact is minimal. The technology produces none of the carbon, methane or particulate greenhouse emissions that fossil fuels emit, and it doesn’t demand large-scale mining or drilling operations.
Traditional heating at the Amsterdam canals is being done with a gas boiler, but even the very economical ones still emit CO2. To make sure we don’t leave a carbon footprint we have a high tech climate installation by our friends from BLR-Bimon.
We use a hybrid climate system that automatically adjusts to the outside temperatures. Only on the coldest days we make use of the newest and most economical boiler from Remeha to get some extra heat in the building.
Additionally, the interior of the building is planned to the smallest detail, to be as eco-friendly as possible. This means using: clay plasters, organic paint and natural floor wax.
Organic building materials can breathe, absorb and give off moisture for a healthy indoor environment.
Another idea of making the place harmless for the environment is to use upcycled furniture. This simply means refurbishing old furniture and making them look like new. That includes antique tables, doors and tiles.
Upcycling is beneficial towards the environment because it saves or removes materials from the waste system. It also requires less energy than recycling and encourages an innovative thought process.
To make the air cleaner within the building, there is The Green Temple, which is basically an 18 m2 wall covered with plants.
It has an automatic irrigation system, so the plants always have the ideal amount of water and nutrients. The wall is additionally gets natural daylights, so all plants grow well, even in the darker places.
Is there a better way of eliminating the amount of products by simply reusing them? That is why The Conscious Club follows the circular economy idea.
We embrace the circular economy model, that’s why we only use sustainable products and only work with sustainable suppliers and business partners.
Although the main focus of the place is not the food itself, good meals always bring people together and create a domestic atmosphere. Furthermore, following the rules and core values of the place:
The food at the Club is completely vegetarian, which means that it excludes all meat and fish products. All the ingredients are organic for health and environmental reasons. Besides vegetarian food, we strive to be as vegan as possible.
Against this background, the question that follows concerns the functions and purpose of such an eco-friendly space:
The main focus of the place is to discover a real connection between body and mind, which is also related to getting closer to nature and gaining deeper understanding of its influence on us. This means that in The Conscious Club you will find a wide range of yoga, meditation, martial arts classes and workshops.
To sum up, nowadays being eco-friendly does not only mean buying eco products, recycling and using a bike instead of a car, but it also means actually being part of the sustainable/eco-friendly culture. The latter is indeed gaining more and more interest. By talking about this topic and creating places that represent a sustainable lifestyle, we are actually generating more traffic around that issue. The change of mind-set is also visible in the business world, which consequently follows the discourse we created. So, what is the next eco product on your shopping list? Or would you rather prefer to have a meditation session in The Conscious Club before taking any action?
Read further: Reviews, sustainability
Junior Regional Manager for CEE region at Icecat.
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