The development of green homes simply reflects a concern that is becoming increasingly prevalent. The architecture, construction, and design sectors are becoming increasingly sensitive to the impact their work has on the environment. Sustainable architecture or eco-architecture aims to reduce the ecological impact of its output. How does it do this? We’ve got the answers.
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What are sustainable green homes?
An eco-friendly home is one that makes the most of the natural resources available and respects the environment both in its construction and throughout its useful life.
Eco-architecture only uses sustainable materials in construction processes. Waste management or energy efficiency are regulated by the building itself.
There are different types of sustainable homes:
- Bioclimatic: they make use of the environment’s natural resources. They make intelligent use of the house’s location and orientation to take advantage of the sun and the shade of the trees.
- Passive: they have a very low energy consumption. Heating comes almost entirely from solar heat and this is complemented by internal appliances. They have high-performance insulation and half of the windows are south-facing.
- Wooden: using a natural, renewable, and sustainable material such as wood for the frame of the house. It’s also an excellent insulator.
- Tiny house: as its name suggests, it’s a small wooden house built on a trailer. It’s very affordable both in terms of its construction (around 20,000 euros) and its maintenance, as it measures just 15 square metres.
What are the elements of an eco-friendly home?
A sustainable home is easily identifiable by its structural and design elements. In addition to respecting the environment, the materials used in its construction are non-toxic. And, as already mentioned, it’s energy efficient from start to finish. Thanks to new technologies, it’s becoming increasingly possible to improve these types of buildings.
These are the basic features that all green homes share:
- A design that is harmonious with the environment in which it is located.
- Natural, non-polluting, and 100% recyclable building materials.
- An energy-efficient interior. Household appliances and domestic equipment facilitate a reduction in the house’s energy consumption. They’re environmentally friendly. This is why technologies such as geothermal or photovoltaic solar energy are often used. This reduces consumption, but also the electricity bill.
- The aim is to generate as few pollutants as possible and to reduce energy loss.
How can you turn your home into a sustainable home?
If you want to move towards having a more sustainable home, there are small steps you can take before making big changes. For example:
- Install hedges or leafy trees in front of south-facing windows so that the house isn’t too hot in the summer.
- Replace the concrete floor on your terrace with wood. It absorbs less heat in the summer. You can also install a pergola to make the space cooler.
- Improve your thermal insulation. Windows, doors, and the roof should be well insulated. This will make sure that energy isn’t lost and you’ll be able to save on energy consumption. You’ll conserve more heat or cold depending on the time of year.
- Greater energy efficiency. Enjoy improved energy consumption by making small changes. For example, install energy-saving LED light bulbs, buy A+ class appliances, or install regulating nozzles on shower heads and taps. There are also dual flush toilets for better control of water consumption. You can also install an energy-efficient boiler as a last resort.
Examples of sustainable housing
One of the best examples of a sustainable home is the so-called Wikkelhouse. It is made with a 100% eco-friendly modular design. It uses large sheets of corrugated cardboard that are glued together with an environmentally friendly glue in layers. It can be wrapped up to 24 times depending on the shape of the house in question. This makes it up to three times more environmentally friendly than traditional construction methods.
Once the cardboard has been wrapped, it’s covered with a protective waterproof film and 14-centimetre-thick Chilean wood panels. This protects the internal structure and keeps the inhabitants safe from the elements.
Wikkelhouses have a wide range of uses and designs, making them highly versatile. They’re suitable for both urban and rural environments and can be used as holiday homes or permanent residences. Another feature that makes them so appealing is that they can be installed in a single day. Moreover, once they’re built, they’re very easy to move to their final location.
Bear in mind that these houses have no foundations, so they’re fully flexible. Also, as they’re made of cardboard, they’re fully recyclable. They’re estimated to have a life cycle of around 100 years.
Unfortunately, this sustainable house model is only available in a few very specific countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. This is because the type of cardboard used is only made in Amsterdam. The company responsible for making the houses takes on average about eight months to build them. This ensures that the expected quality standards are reached.
What about in Spain?
There are also prime examples of sustainable housing in Spain. Here are some highlights:
- Villa Ana (Santiago de Compostela): built by Iglesias Veiga Arquitectos, it consumes almost no energy. This eco-friendly, passive house has solar thermal panels, thermal façades, and a concrete structure.
- Vivienda Geodesica (Murcia): this passive house by Ecoproyecta stands out for its two domes. Made from sustainable and renewable materials such as cellulose and wood, it’s fully self-sufficient.
- Casa GG (Barcelona): designed by Alventosa Morell Arquitectos, it uses bioclimatic solutions such as autonomous boilers, natural ventilation systems, and photovoltaic solar panels. Its energy consumption is practically zero. In contrast, it can generate up to 88% of renewable energy.
- Casa Bunyesc (Lleida): Josep Bunyesc built the house with prefabricated wood, with sheep’s wool, and wood fibre as insulation.
Grants for home improvements in 2022
Did you know that there are grants and subsidies for all those works or home improvements that improve energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of real estate? The Economic Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan includes an allocation of more than six million euros for urban regeneration between 2021 and 2023. Here you can find all the necessary information, or you can ask your property administrators Mediterráneo
Green homes are the future unfolding in the present. Environmental concern and greater energy savings are two of its best qualities, but, as you’ve seen, they’re not the only ones. If you’re interested in applying for the home improvement grants for a greener and more efficient community of owners, contact your property administrators Mediterráneo.