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Efficient, ecological or passive houses: the homes of the future

It is perfectly possible to build with minimal emissions and with efficient models that save energy while providing us with quality of life.

Climate change and the incipient and parallel awareness of the population about this problem is in fashion. But it is not just another fashion: it has come to stay, because if not, many species, including ours, will be the ones that have no place on this planet in the future, a future that - it seems that we have realized it - will it seems very close.

Within environmentalism and sustainable development they have proliferated for a few years, and thanks to people who are especially committed both to their profession (architecture) and to their passion and values (respect for the planet), ecological buildings and homes . So much so, that many architects, designers and construction professionals have changed their traditional capitalist vision for a more just, respectful and environmentally friendly one. Reflecting on what is really necessary to live, and the impact on nature that our decisions and our actions have.

This shift in consciousness, away from utopias and conservative voices shielded by the current capitalist economic model, is viable, possible, realistic and necessary. Many examples proliferate exponentially, such as the one we saw in the documentary last Thursday, February 6 on TVE 2 "Ecological constructions: the west lighthouse" or many others that broadcast weekly on this channel during dinner time . In addition to justifying this type of ecological and sustainable model, they remind us that it is perfectly possible to build with the minimum emissions and pollutants for the planet, with local products and materials, and with efficient models that save energy while giving us warmth and quality of life.

Types of houses

At this point, it is worth remembering some conceptual nuances, since sometimes terms such as efficient houses, ecological or passive buildings ('Passive House') are confused.

An efficient or passive house is understood to be one that reduces the demand for external energy as much as possible, taking advantage of architecture and design, almost always facing south to heat it in winter, and that by means of a passive architecture, as the Arabs did with the narrow streets of To guarantee shade in the scorching desert summer, cities take advantage of drafts and shadows to refresh and provide comfort to buildings, without the need to turn on the air conditioning. These constructions have also been called 'bioclimatic', since they take advantage of the characteristics of the climate and the terrain to save energy, and therefore not pollute.

If, in addition to an efficient or passive house, we are able to build it with recycled, local, low-polluting materials (that do not come from the oil industry mainly), thinking about its useful life, and recycling or subsequent treatment, and that it does not contaminate during its construction or during its maintenance, we can speak of ecological houses.

And closely linked to this concept of ecological house, of which there are countless designs, mainly characterized by being simple and traditional constructions (stone, wood, straw, mud and clay ...), houses with zero waste also stand out, that is, those houses in which no waste products or pollutants such as garbage or solid urban waste are generated.

The European Union recently approved circular economy regulations that have managed to lay the foundations to promote the large-scale reuse of resources. This law avoids generating unnecessary waste and penalizes for it. We'll see if it works. In houses with zero waste, this law is an ethical and citizens' principle of conduct, which guarantees the fulfillment of this objective much better than any government law.

We are even seeing examples of housing blocks that are built today, following these ecological principles and that mainly bring together people committed to the environment and nature.

Let us hope that the example of these modern pioneers will be the norm in the near future and we will reverse the enormous damage that we have consciously and unconsciously caused to the natural environment.

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Shekari Editorial

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