Unfortunately, the balance of the summer has not been very positive in Spain. Fires have ravaged the country, experiencing the worst year in the last decade with more than 100,000 hectares burnt. Rising temperatures and a persistent drought, with 26% less rainfall, have led to 35% less water in reservoirs, with critical situations in basins such as the Guadalquivir, where water levels have plummeted to 60%.
As things stand, and with the price of energy skyrocketing, the trend of adapting the construction sector towards housing that is not only more sustainable, but also as self-sufficient as possible, is taking precedence over other models in which other considerations prevailed. It is not something of the future; there is already technology and experience that shows that a qualitative leap can be made in sustainable architecture, both in new construction and in the refurbishment of dwellings.
Self-sufficiency from less to more
The best example of a self-sufficient house is the passive house, which we have already discussed in some of our articles, highlighting how they are capable of reducing energy consumption by up to 90% for both heating and cooling. However, aware that not everyone has the means to reach this point, it is possible to adopt measures that help mitigate the effects of global warming and contribute to improving the environment.
At a time like the present, with energy prices spiraling out of control, it is essential to enjoy a home with a low energy demand. This takes into consideration factors that were not so important decades ago: if the orientation of the house was taken into account, now the climatic conditions and other alternative resources are also taken into account. This is what is known as bioclimatic housing architecture.
The installation of photovoltaic panels has become a maxim to achieve the goal of self-sufficiency. When drawing up the plans for what will be our future home, it is not enough to anticipate that these panels will be installed on the roof, but it is also necessary to consider the best orientation in order to maximize the collection of energy.
In Spain, if we want to take advantage of the fact that we are one of the European countries with the most hours of sunshine, the south orientation is the most appropriate to get the most out of it. However, it should not be overlooked that, if we want to take advantage of other natural resources such as wind energy, we may have to find the balance between the best orientation for each source of energy.
On the other hand, water is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity and maximizing its use is very important. In this sense, the recycling of rainwater can become a great ally, and can be used for irrigation, cleaning, etc. In any case, whether the energy/supply is contracted or self-generated, the maxim is always to try to reduce consumption.
Wide range of recipes
The number of actions that we can take to make our home self-sufficient or to design it in this way is very wide-ranging. Another crucial point is the hot/cold air conditioning and the ventilation of the home itself, where we must try to avoid so-called accidental ventilation, i.e. uncontrolled air that enters the interior of the home and which, when mixed with the conditioned interior air, can increase energy demand by up to 15%.
The outside of the home also plays a key role, and it is advisable to opt for green areas, especially with native vegetation that provides shade and helps to combat the impact of greenhouse gases. In essence, it is a question of all of us, little by little and each in our own area, doing our bit to save the planet, starting with our own homes.