The bioclimatic architecture and sustainable architecture, although now they seem fashionable terms, take us to the most ancestral principles of construction, closely linked with the vernacular architecture of the place.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE OR BIOCLIMATIC ARCHITECTURE?
Bioclimatic, as the word says, refers to providing the necessary conditions for life to proliferate in the climate where the dwelling is located.
In the past there were no heating systems, no fans, no air conditioners, so they had to figure out how to design a home that would work self-sufficient. This learning was used generation after generation to refine the constructive technique that would eventually translate into the vernacular architecture of the place, adopting good measures and discarding those that did not work.
In short, it is one that is designed taking advantage of the natural resources of the environment so that, during its execution, use and demolition, it has the minimum energy consumption, thus reducing the environmental impact.
Design intelligently so that the sun, the winds, the vegetation or even the rain are in favor of the interior comfort of the home.
SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE FOR YOUR HOME
The bioclimatic is understood as the relationship between the home and its environment, and for this relationship to be favorable, we must take into account some aspects to achieve the optimal design.
Location is the first thing we have to take into account: the resources of the area or the weather conditions: the wind speed, relative humidity or rainfall … give us valuable information on how we have to raise our home, drawing conclusions about factors that will directly condition the interior comfort of the home as described below:
• Geography: the study of orography or relief will reveal important hygrothermal conditions for the design of our house. Some of the parameters that define it are: continentality (height at sea level), if we are leeward / windward of a mountain and even geobiology, science that studies the relationship of living beings with the earth.
• The shape and design of the house: the general morphology of the home, whether with more rounded shapes, square or rectangular, has to be completely adapted to the environment, also playing with the orientation for the maximum use of the sun for solar or wind energy for a good crossed ventilation.
• Vegetation: They are enveloping elements that can be advantageously used to shield or promote certain energy flows. Deciduous vegetation, for example, in a south orientation, serves to let in the sun’s rays in winter and maintain shade in summer. They also serve us, depending on the predominant wind gusts of the area, trees located at key points slowing down the wind speed or to isolate sources of noise pollution.
• Energy efficiency: our house must have a positive balance between energy use and demand. This is achieved by reducing or eliminating losses and producing the necessary in a renewable way. Whenever possible, we will make use of renewable energies, paying special attention to the fact that the necessary appliances are energy efficient.
For good compliance with the basic principles of sustainable architecture, the materials must meet certain characteristics according to the use for which they are intended, such as breathability, thermal inertia, thermal insulation, sealing … for example, enclosures that not only meet the envelope mission of the building but the thermal and acoustic one, so that the energy saving and the quality of the interior comfort are optimal.
Examples of sustainable materials:
- CEB BRICK: it is a brick made with compacted earth and lime. It is not cooked, so its energy consumption in the manufacturing process is almost zero. Its advantage is that it provides a regulation of indoor air humidity. Adsorbs when it is excessive and returns to air when dry.
It also produces a “botijo” effect and its perspiration in summer reduces the interior temperature.
- STRAW BALES: It is a material widely used in bioconstruction. They are used as a natural insulator; it has a great capacity for breathability. It is also used cone structural wall reinforced with wood. They are covered with mortar of clays or lime so that their characteristics remain unchanged over time.
WHAT BENEFITS DOES IT CONTRIBUTE TO OUR HOUSE?
It is always better to go for the environment that surrounds us than against it. Adaptation and the use of environmental conditions should be an advantage, not something to be faced.
We should be able to take advantage of the ancestral knowledge that gives us years of empirical experiences.
Among the most outstanding benefits of bioclimatic housing are:
Energy saving and economic savings
The design and construction of housing with bioclimatic criteria achieves a large reduction in the energy needed to achieve comfort in the home, which translates into lower environmental impact and great economic savings.
Ideal interior comfort
What we first feel in a house is its interior comfort, architecture bioclimatic achieves a very high degree of comfort in homes by:
- The use of breathable materials, such as straw, clays, CEB bricks, mud walls…
- Materials, such as clay mortars, that regulates indoor humidity.
- Obtaining adequate ventilation and adapting it for winter and summer.
- Natural lighting.
- Using the sun as a source of heat.
This post is also available in: Spanish