Sustainable Architecture: The Ecological House Is the Goal
In this book of ideas, we are going to talk about architecture and sustainable design. The trend towards sustainability is a one-way trip because, at the rate at which we are exploiting the planet's natural resources, ecological houses should be the rule rather than the exception. Far from being a fashion, sustainability should transform the way in which homes and their inhabitants relate to the environment.
Come with us to know some technical aspects of sustainable architecture, as impressive as they are hopeful since they set us guidelines that we can follow without difficulty and make us trust that a more rational use of resources will be in the medium term a daily and generalized practice.
Sustainable homes integrate a series of techniques, systems, technologies, and practices that make them real examples of how we can live minimizing our carbon footprint and in harmony with the environment.
Bioclimatic design, thermal insulation, green roofs, use of clean and renewable energy, use of recyclable materials, air conditioning system, organic gardens, solar thermal and photovoltaic energy, LED lighting, home automation system and intelligent use of energy, filtering and reuse of water and rainwater collection, are some of them.
The ecological house must comply with specific parameters: it must be self-sustainable, that is, its energy consumption must be generated by natural sources. Its carbon footprint must be reduced to a minimum, and its construction process must produce the least amount of waste and pollution possible.
The location on the ground, the cardinal orientation and the use of the natural advantages of the site, such as sunlight and winds, determine the design of the house. This optimizes the use of the sun to illuminate and heat the interior spaces and the pool while generating cross ventilation and strategic shadows to keep the house cool.
An example of bioclimatic design is to orient large windows to the north, whose warm winds are kinder, and small windows to the south, to protect the interior from the cold fronts that come from the southernmost regions. An efficient bioclimatic design will result in significant energy savings.
The height of sustainability is a house that can generate its own food. For this, an organic garden can be the solution that allows us to enjoy fruits, vegetables and seasonal vegetables grown in our backyard.
Green roofs are those that are entirely covered by vegetation. These roofs have extraordinary benefits both for the building they protect and for the environment in general. They are a lung for the entire surrounding area, producing oxygen and absorbing CO2, keeping outdoor temperatures warm and functioning as a filter for harmful particles, among other benefits.
Recyclable and Organic Materials
Nowadays, it is essential to use wood from cultivated forests, as in this way we ensure that we are not contributing to the deforestation of habitats that will never be the same again.
Many of the ingredients used in manufacturing bricks, porcelain, and concrete are recycled, and their use is highly recommended. There are lots of products made from natural fibers, especially textiles, that are available in the market.
Pools with Minimal Use of Chlorine
Pools with minimal use of chlorine often use Finnish overflow, intelligent filtration and ionization or can be filled with salt water, generating their own chlorine from the salt.
A house cannot be called ecological unless it uses clean energy. This house includes a garage with electric recharge for the car.
The lighting of our spaces is key, and the best option is to use LED lights. These lights have a long life and low energy consumption.
Energy Saving Systems
Solar collectors, filtering systems, water reuse and collection, photovoltaic panels and high-efficiency pumps are some of the systems that can bring us closer to the goal of having a perfectly self-sustainable house.
Thermal insulation will save up to 80% of the energy we spend on keeping our indoor environments warm. The walls made of materials with good insulating capacities, the windows with DVH (double hermetic glass) and roofs that do not allow the entrance of cold or heat, will make it easier for us to keep our house warm in winter and cool in summer.