Examples of sustainable housing and renovations

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Four examples of sustainable housing and renovations.

In this article we are going to show several housing examples with a common denominator, sustainability as a way of understanding architecture that is more friendly to the environment and its surroundings, as well as offering beneficial qualities for the users of the houses that inhabit them.

Is a house example built with wood and three buildings that are framed in the Spanish territory.

Wooden house in Tres Hermanas de Bullas (Murcia)

This intervention consisted in the execution of a house designed efficiently to achieve a maximum use of climatic conditions, so that its design optimizes the capture of passive solar radiation and thermal inertia to maintain thermal comfort inside. Its air conditioning occurs naturally and efficiently from the sunlight received, a example of sustainable housing that combines traditional techniques with the most modern aspects of today's home

Has a simple design with materials from the area, the sustainable facades It has been executed with thermo-clay walls and has thermal insulation on the outside and a coating of treated pine wood, which is certified by PEFC (forest certification seal that guarantees that it comes from an ecological exploitation and of sustainable origin).

An adequate distribution of the percentage of holes has been made from the bioclimatic point of view, so that 10% of them are located on the facades facing north, 5% to the west, 10% to the east and the remaining 75 % on the south facade.

The windows incorporate low-emissivity glass and have shutters that prevent heat loss in winter and allow filtering and reducing solar radiation in summer. Its design facilitates passive cooling in summer, allowing adequate cross ventilation.

The incorporation of a biomass boiler also makes it possible to minimize CO2 reductions and reduce consumption. Having solar thermal energy through solar collectors as well as a system for collecting, storing and reusing rainwater for irrigation with the planting of native plant species.

92 VPO solar hemicycle in Móstoles (Madrid)

It is a building of 92 homes, facing south and designed with a curve in its main facade to improve the use of solar radiationAs a solar hemicycle, it has been intended to "follow the solar path" with said curve, generating an optimizing design that avoids shadows thrown by the building itself.

It also has commercial premises and an endowment of parking. The south facade opens in winter to capture the maximum solar radiation while in summer the lattices avoid excess radiation, so they have been designed as solar galleries.

The houses have a linear design or through the main south façade to the north rear façade, which facilitates the natural circulation of air inside it.

The housing design incorporates, on the one hand, a natural or bioclimatic ventilation system that is based on allowing the natural circulation of the air that is heated in winter in the solar gallery, so that said hot air circulates from the gallery to the interior of the house through a network of grids and ducts and then leaves the house through grids incorporated into the exterior carpentry.

Equally has a design of canadian well which has materialized in a network of ducts buried under the foundation of the building that allows the collection and channeling of air into the houses through a centralized system, providing warm air in winter and cold in summer, in this case like the first, the air goes outside through grilles in the carpentry or through the ducts on the false ceiling.

This diagram shows how the air is renewed in summer and winter, so that the upper graphs indicate in winter the entry of hot air from the gallery and in summer the exit of air to it (through grilles and aerators ), the diagram below reflects the entry of hot air in winter and cold in summer from the network of Canadian buried wells and the vertical duct system that distributes it to the houses on the different floors.

In terms of facilities, it presents more than efficient facilities, incorporating renewable energy to cover 78% of energy demandWhile the demand for domestic hot water is covered with a natural gas condensing boiler and heating with a low temperature gas boiler and condensing boiler, with terminal units using water radiators.

What draws the attention of the building is its low consumption of primary energy and emissions, without the thermal transmittance of the envelope elements being "excessively low" (these are values that, by increasing thermal insulation, can be achieved in a normal promotion of homes), due to its optimized design, which shows its energy efficiency bioclimatically speaking.

Building of 95 homes in Roc Boronat street (Barcelona)

Other example of sustainable building of 95 homes, distributed in heights of 6 and 7 floors above ground, located in the 22nd district of Barcelona. It has a design that minimizes energy demand, achieves an A energy rating and generates a low emission value of 3.8 kgCO2 / m2.

Presents a ventilated facade made with fiber cement panels on a wall of cement panels reinforced with cellulose fiber, incorporating a significant thickness of thermal insulation that achieves very low thermal transmittance (U <0.30 W / m2.K). It presents a ventilated inverted roof with an artificial stone finish, which has 10 cm. isolation.

All the carpentry and the existing solar protections are made of certified wood and are very watertight, presenting a class 4 air permeability (<3 m3 / h.m2 according to UNE-EN 12207).

The network of water and sanitation pipes have been made with the use of polypropylene, avoiding the use of PVC. It also has a connection to the district's energy network for the supply of heat for heating and hot water heating, this promotion being the first of homes to be connected.

It also has facilities to connect bithermal equipment (dishwasher and washing machine), and systems have also been installed to reduce water consumption by means of mixer taps with economizing mechanisms, cisterns with double discharge mechanisms and the use of plants with little water requirement for the garden.

Rehabilitation of 28 dwellings in the A. Rojas group (Zaragoza)

This is the example of sustainable rehabilitation perfect, as the main achievement from the efficient point of view, this intervention has managed to reduce the energy demand of the building by 60%, in addition, the recycling of all waste generated in the work as well as the reuse of the tiles that the building initially had.

Other example of a block of flats where respect for the environment is absolute

Improved thermal envelope Through the provision of mineral wool thermal insulation on the outside and the execution of a ceramic ventilated façade, insulation has also been placed on the roof and double windows in the openings.

In the facilities, the installation of DHW and heating has been centralized, by means of a gas condensing boiler. Solar thermal energy has been incorporated, covering 60% of the annual demand.


Interior in facade


Exterior in facade


Ventilated facade (upper floors): EPS (expanded polystyrene)

5 cm

Facade plinth (ground floor): mineral wool

5 cm



Basement insulation


Deck insulation


Solar energy


Wind power




In addition, the project presented was the Endesa Award in 2010.

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