“Go Green” – “ECO friendly” – “save the planet” – “Global Warming”. All words we are very familiar with unless you have lived on the moon for the past 5 years or so. Now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and offering green products and services. But how green are they and is it just a token gesture to be popular? We have been researching the possibilities of building eco friendly and economical green villas in Spain after I inadvertently made the mistake of asking my wife how she would like her new house built. “Eco friendly” she replied.
Those two words began a journey of thousands of miles across Europe and countless hours researching the web to find out how “eco friendly” I could build her dream home. Initially I found that an eco friendly home was just a cave house…I didn’t fancy living in or building a cave house, or they had thicker lagging on pipes or they offered solar water heaters…BIG DEAL, I expected that as standard, in fact it is law in Spain now to have alternative water heating supply, one company even classed a home as eco friendly because the heating had a thermostat.
Two years later and after securing the sole rights to build with a German quality ICF system we are beginning our first two new eco friendly villas in Spain for clients and have several scheduled to begin next year. The interest has been amazing; unfortunately this means my wife’s dream home has been put on hold for a while but our business and our attitude to all things green is being transformed. We are offering geothermal heating systems, solar power, grey water systems, water saving systems inside and outside the home, wind turbines, appliance advice, lighting systems I never knew existed and even waterless toilets (the jury is still out on that one with me) all this to make our eco friendly villas in Spain as economically friendly as we can. The fantastic thing about the Eco friendly build systems is the speed and insulating values they offer. A traditional styled villa of a 100m2 villa can be erected within 10 days! Saving weeks of labour charges thus bringing the cost of these new eco friendly properties on par or even cheaper than traditional block and beam villas. The insulation values are amazing and they even have fantastic sound insulation (great if you have noisy teenagers like us).
When we first introduced this system to an architect he looked blankly at the proposal and smiled that smile you see in Spain when you know they think you are mad and after experiencing this manic suppressed grin over a lengthy period of time with a lot of old – maybe not old but my age – OK old Architects! We finally came across a young enthusiastic architect who believed and embraced the system as we did. We drew up a set of plans and submitted them to the local town hall and put the project forward to the bank for a valuation. The town hall was thrilled with the idea and the bank valued the project over 40% higher than we charged the client! Now this could have a lot to do with the fact that we are inexpensive builders but the manager did tell us they are valuing homes with eco friendly factors higher than traditional homes.