Talking about building a house and minimizing the environmental impact is somewhat contradictory, since the mere fact of building on land implies its alteration.
The incorporation of materials, technologies and systems oriented towards sustainability is to advance to alleviate, as far as possible, both the damage caused by the work and that resulting from the daily use of the house. This is the principle of the sustainable dreamhouse.
This concept is also supported by five fundamental pillars that are designed to maximize the comfort and safety of its inhabitants. Impossible? Expensive? Utopian? Let’s see it…
1) The use and care of the environment.
A sustainable home is well oriented towards sunlight, essential to save energy and for the development of its green areas that, apart from the decorative function, will help control the temperature, generate shadows and reduce our carbon footprint.
The control of water use and its reuse for irrigation will also be present, including the collection and management of rain. And, of course, the treatment of waste and waste and its recycling.
2) Insulation and ventilation.
It may seem contradictory to speak of isolating and ventilating at the same time, but the basis of all this is in the idea of generating a space with controlled temperature and air quality, so that air does not enter through a place other than through filters arranged for this purpose.
The quality and perfect installation of the enclosures play a fundamental role in this second point.
At the site level, isolate and avoid interior-exterior thermal bridges. And also in this line are the heat recuperators, which guarantee efficient ventilation of the interior space. They introduce filtered air from the outside into the house, which is crossed (without mixing) with the air that we extract at the same time from the inside, also filtered. Thus we take advantage of the temperature that we already had inside the house to heat / cool the air that we renew. With this process, we obtain and generate cleaner air and consume less energy to reach the thermal and humidity comfort point we are looking for.
3) Self-generation and self-consumption.
It has never been easier to self-generate the energy that a dreamhouse requires. Furthermore, the incorporation of photovoltaic panels is no longer necessarily at odds with the aesthetics of the construction. We find “all black” solutions or even flexible panels adaptable to almost any surface, as my colleagues at ATRAE propose at www.atrae.net
Additionally, in Spain, with the new regulations on self-consumption that is aligned with the rest of Europe, it promotes and facilitates this type of installation, eliminates taxes and even allows the excess energy of almost any installation to be shared with the neighborhood.
4) Monitoring and control
Everything that we have exposed in this post is fine, but if we are not able to control and quantify aspects such as the quality of the air obtained, the energy consumed, the water used, set the temperature, etc., we are missing a very important point throughout this process of housing sustainability.
Also today there are enough elements to control all this. And at a distance. Even autonomously. The dreamhouse is increasingly intelligent and manages its processes in an almost autonomous way, so that we no longer have to be constantly turning on switches, programming clocks or thermostats. All this already works with probes, mini weather stations …, integrated into home automation systems. And with viewing and controlled in real time through any electronic device.
5) The use of sustainable materials.
Last but not least, we must talk about the use of recycled or low-polluting materials in the process of their production and transport. Wood, chemically inert and recyclable thermoplastics, cork, cellulose, baked clay …
For all of them there are companies that offer information on traceability, that is, the possibility of tracking their production process to know how, when and where it was produced, in what way and even by whom.