Does your experience show that the demand for green homes is growing? And by how much approximately?
Our experience in the marketplace here since 2015 would definitely show an acceleration of not just consumer interest (national & international) but also an actual increase in construction activity to increase energy efficiency. Statistics show that the overall proportion of nZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Building) has risen from less than 10% to approximately 20% in the last decade in both Spain and Portugal. The European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will require all new buildings are nZEB from January 1st 2021. So, we are set to see a huge growth in the sector. All across Spain & Portugal, at both municipal and central government levels, we are seeing increased investment and subsidy into green building activity in the public and private residential sector.
What advantage does an energy efficient house offer us?
Obviously operating (electricity) costs are going to be much lower – 60% or more! Energy efficient houses are more comfortable, healthier and will have a higher financial value than traditional, non-efficient properties. In current times when Climate Change is rarely out of the news, energy efficient properties also play their part in a healthier planet.
Where do you mostly receive demand (which areas) and how is the building process structured?
As our commercial brands GoGreenSpain and GoGreenPortugal would suggest we are active all over the Iberian Peninsula, albeit the latter only in recent times. Our logistical headquarters and factory, where we construct via a method of “industrialised modular” building combined with the green components, is in Seville. This central facility allows us to deliver our service easily to all parts of Spain and Portugal.
With regards the building process, our system and construction method provides huge savings. Unlike, traditional build of concrete and bricks which can take up to 14 months for a standard villa project, the fact that we build our state of art modules at the same time as the civil works(excavations and concrete foundations) we can deliver the similar project in 6 to 7 months.
How well do you find that sustainable eco-friendly technology is being accepted in the todays market?
There is no doubt that eco-friendly building and sustainability are not just buzz words but are actually drivers in changing a traditionally slow to evolve industry around the globe. Consumers are demanding a greener building process and environment, which is not only healthier and more comfortable but is a lot easier on the pocket! Rapidly developing technology and construction processes are driving down prices whilst improving sustainability in the building process. The use of industrialised modular construction allows for green technology to be easily incorporated, takes a lot less time, uses less materials with absolute minimum waste in a safer environment. The end product has so much more to offer than traditional construction, yet doesn’t cost more to deliver the same qualities.
How can owners improve their property’s energy efficiency?
Existing properties in coastal areas of the Iberian peninsula are unfortunately poorly built when it comes to energy efficiency. The dream of owning a second residence sometimes supersedes the prerequisite of quality and insulation that would be expected in a primary residence. Similarly, many existing properties in inland and central areas are actually very old and would obviously not have had access to the green technology and know-how that exists today. Fortunately, there are a number of key elements of an existing property that can be upgraded:
1. Windows and Doors – Upgrading to high quality frames and double/triple glass which contains a glazing solution such as Guardian Sun to protect against the heat of the summer or the winter cold without losing the natural light. At all times, materials should avoid thermal breaks that result in loss of energy.
2. Insulate – Floors, Ceilings and Walls can be vastly improved via the use of materials such as wood fibre, drywall, fiber glass etc. Optimising insulation is one of the key ways to make a property more energy efficient.
3. Air Sealing – The sealing of a building to make it airtight is one of the most cost effective ways to improve a properties energy efficiency. Simple things like ensuring there are no gaps under external doors can make a huge difference.
4. Heating & Cooling – Selecting a green technology such as highly efficient and cost effective Aerothermal or Solar Energy will make vast savings on your pocket; these systems can be used for both heating and cooling of the internal living space and water.
5. Fresh Air Supply – Incorporating a continuous source of fresh air via green technology systems that transfer energy from outgoing stale to fresh incoming air will help eradicate moisture as well as provide a much healthier environment
6. Lighting – Energy Efficient lighting such as LED as well as designing the use of natural light in the planning stages are key elements in reducing energy use.