Green building is defined as the use of building techniques and materials that aim to achieve high-performance, environmentally friendly buildings. It is a way of planning and managing building projects based on the reuse of material resources and employing renewable energies to reduce to the utmost the impact the buildings have on their surroundings.
Also known as green construction or sustainable building, it preserves precious natural resources and improves our quality of life. Different countries have a variety of characteristics such as distinctive climatic conditions and diverse environmental priorities, so the approach to green building could not always be the same, but there is a solid base for all this matter.
How do green buildings save energy?
One of the greatest challenges in the field of sustainable development currently facing the different countries in the European Union is the construction of Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEB), which is included in Directive 2010/31/EC on the energy performance of buildings.
European regulations define nearly Zero-Energy Buildings as constructions with a high energy performance, exhibiting a low demand for energy which is covered largely by renewable sources. All the EU member countries are working to meet the standards stipulated in the regulations which, in addition to the environmental benefits, should also entail social and economic advantages.
Architectural designs must allow for the climate conditions and local characteristics, given that the measures to improve buildings’ energy performance imply lowering their impact on the environment. To do so, NZEB capitalise on the positive conditions of their immediate surroundings to harness external energy sources.
Towards a building model with a performance of 100%
Sustainable buildings will only be achieved by taking a comprehensive approach that seeks to create innovative solutions throughout every stage of the project. The final aim is to achieve high-performance buildings, integrated into their environment with good cost efficiency.
1. Construction materials
The choice of which materials to employ in the green construction should consider:
- CO2 Emissions: The aim is to generate as few emissions as possible, both in the manufacturing and in shipment of the construction materials.
- Performance over the service life of the building by using digital technologies to monitor energy performance.
2. Renewable energy sources
The road towards nearly zero-energy performance involves fostering systems whereby the building produces its own energy, i.e., using renewable energies to cover the homes’ energy demands. The benefits of self-production systems include:
- Financial savings by adjusting the design of the energy-production facility to the demand.
- Reduction in CO2 emissions thanks to the use of green energy sources.
- Higher performance because the energy is produced much closer to the points where it is consumed.
What makes a building green and sustainable?
Innovation is a key factor in achieving significant energy savings in new-build constructions, especially with regards to heating/cooling systems.
According to figures from the Ministry of Industry, in Spain, 47% of all residential energy consumption comes from heating/cooling systems, a figure that can be reduced when homes are fitted with high-performance technology. Some examples of these types of technology are:
1. Radiant underfloor heating
Heating comes from pipes fitted some 5 cm under the floor surface which achieves a high level of thermal comfort within the home, employing systems that operate at low temperatures and therefore consume less energy. This is possible thanks to the high thermal inertia this system exhibits, i.e. its capacity to store heat and maintain a constant temperature.
At AEDAS Homes you have several developments available which are fitted with radiant underfloor heating for example, Middel Views, in Fuengirola (Costa del Sol) or Soul Marbella Sunset, in Marbella (Costa del Sol). The floors in the dwelling can also cool as well as heat the home, thus lowering the temperature during the warmer months of the year.
2. Aerothermal systems
This technology employs the energy obtained from the outside air to heat or cool the dwelling and to produce hot water using a heat pump. It is considered a renewable energy source because only 25% of the energy it consumes is electricity, whereas the remaining 75% comes from the aerothermal energy present in the environment, both in winter and summer. At AEDAS Homes you have several developments available which are fitted with these systems, for example, South Bay or Vanian Gardens, in Estepona (Costa del Sol).
3. Dual-flow ventilation
This system manages to heat/cool the different spaces inside the home while at the same time improving air quality. It operates through a ventilation system that extracts stale air from the rooms and injects new air in at the same temperature, whereby recovery of the energy already employed translates into a significant reduction in energy consumption.
At AEDAS Homes we are committed to sustainable building. Our projects, therefore, include technology with the highest performances in order to lower the environmental footprint left by our construction processes.