Kambones and sustainability
The process of renovation together with research into how the household was run in former times gave us incredible insights into how environmentally friendly a historic building can be. While it is not possible to install either central heating or air conditioning due to the restrictions stated in the permit from the Ministry of Culture, it turns out that neither are necessary for comfortable living simply because the house is so well designed and oriented. The thick stone walls, as wide as one metre in some parts of the structure provide fantastic insulation against heat in the summer and cold in the winter. There are no west facing openings so the house is protected from the fierce afternoon heat. Small windows to the north allow ventilation and cool draughts from the summer cooling winds known as the meltemi, but in winter their small size ensures that heat loss is negligible. Large balcony doors facing east are the only large openings but these were fitted with solid wood shutters, keeping out heat in the summer and cold in the winter.
In restoring the house we also sought to repair all the old furniture, and reuse old wood from any pieces of furniture that were beyond repair. Old fabrics were reused to make cushion covers and upholstery. Water economy was a major feature in the everyday running of the household. We obviously have running water in the house now, but no bottled water is necessary because our tap water comes directly from the Kouros spring and is excellent for drinking. In former times a single clay water pitcher brought from a spring higher up in the valley was the maximum amount of water used in 24 hours for drinking and cooking. Another pitcher, this time filled from the irrigation water which flowed nearby sufficed for all personal hygiene and household cleaning.
Laundry was done once a week. The traditional method of first soaking laundry in water with ash before heating it and adding olive soap, meant that linen came clean using far less water than with any other method. We have sought to economise on water by installing water saving shower heads and toilets. All the household waste water goes into a three chamber septic tank to ensure that no electricity is used for purifying the water, which will be pure enough for irrigation when it eventually reaches the third and final stage. Hot water is provided by a very efficient solar water heater. The outside lights are solar powered, further reducing our energy consumption.
Our ancestors made green olive oil soap for all their household cleaning and personal hygiene. We are committed to using only olive oil soap for cleaning and find it excellent for washing the marble surfaces, kitchen and utility room sinks, bathrooms and stone floors. Wooden shelves and furniture are cleaned either with vinegar or with rubbing alcohol and linseed oil. Reusable cloths, natural sponges and wooden brushes have made unsustainable synthetic sponges completely obsolete. We avoid the use of plastic wherever possible and provide high quality hand soap and bath products produced sustainably. Apivita whose bath products we provide has been awarded numerous sustainability awards for both content and packaging.