In recent years we have been hearing more and more about two terms that often are not distinguished properly: eco friendly and bioclimatic architecture. To clarify these concepts, we will start by saying that both are inextricably linked and have the common goal of reducing environmental impact, increase energy efficiency of buildings and improve the health of people living in them.
Bioclimatic architecture’s main objective is to achieve, through design, thermal comfort, adequate humidity and good indoor air quality, dramatically reducing energy consumption and minimizing environmental impact.
It is based on some relevant ideas:
-Location of the house. It takes into account several factors such as temperatures in the area, rainfall, topography, waterways, radiation and solar tour, prevailing winds, surrounding vegetation, etc..
-House orientation. The south-facing facades have large solar input in summer and moderate in winter. This is because in summer the sun is highest than in winter, making direct sunlight more difficult to enter trough south-facing holes and windows . This effect can be enhanced by installing eaves on the roof that do not impinge too much in the winter sunshine.
-Shape building. The form is crucial for the loss or gain of heat through contact with the outside. Also the interior layout helps to create a proper air circulation, improving ventilation.
The term “Green Building” includes all the above features, including a more holistic approach to respect the environment and health of the inhabitants of the house, chasing the sustainability of long-term construction. It focuses on the characteristics of the bioclimatic architecture already mentioned, the eco materials for the construction, optimization of natural resources, waste recovery and use of alternative energies.
The materials used are diverse, but always have to be healthy, biocompatible, recyclable or reusable and whose production is energy intensive.
Another important feature is the efficient use of water with rainwater and wastewater recovery .The planning of wastewater recovery must include installing a gray water collection for use in tanks and post treatment systems of sewage through appropriate filters and plant systems.
An example of good use of all these green building features is in Lorenea, the new Interpretation Center for eco Gardening and Horticulture of Noáin´s City Council (Elorz Valley).
The building is based on bioclimatic passive construction, getting with very little technical resources, big savings and energy efficiency, through correct orientation, strong isolation and a minimum contribution of external energy for heating, consisting of a wood and pellet mixed stove (zero CO2 emissions from fossil sources).
Three photovoltaic modules and one wind turbine have been installed for electric generation, that is expected to contribute 75% of building energy consumption.
Lorenea organize workshops, courses and meetings on issues of sustainability, as the next Straw Building Workshop in October 7-13. Furthermore, it has set up a small kiosk-shop space of 100% organic products to disclose its benefits among adults and children as a way of promoting consumption. Lorenea more information at: