2020 will be remembered for two challenges: global warming and Coronavirus. Reduction of travel helped reduce air pollution and warming gases. Lock-downs kept people at home. Watching news channels, reading newspapers and trawling the internet have given time to reflect on the planet’s health.
What our impact is on our immediate and local environment is important. More people are recycling, re-using and reducing. Others are investigating eco-friendly ways of construction and renovation. Perhaps working closely with a specialist architect and designing with “green” and “sustainability” at forefront. Going green is a behavioural change.
Eco-Villages, Permaculture & Low Impact Building
There are over a 100 Eco-Villages in 30 countries across Europe. But the network lists nearer 500 self-identified settlements round the world. All strive to produce the least impact on their natural environment. Over 30 years ago a collective of pioneering French ecologists settled to live in accordance with permaculture at Terramada, near the Spanish border in southern Portugal.
Permaculture is a set of principles centered on creating harmonious ways of living. It’s a practical method of developing efficient, productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere. It covers design, ecological engineering, regenerative design, environmental design, and construction.
The renowned Tamera community relocated to Alentejo from Germany in 1995. Their 200 hectare site is an oasis. Lakes, greenery and their eco-system captures rainwater. Tamerians also solved one of Portugal’s major problems: forest fires due to eucalyptus monoculture, which burn very easily during the summer due to increased temperatures and excessive consumption of groundwater. Tamera produces a multitude of vegetables and fresh fruits and is self-sufficient in water.
Eco-villages are also raising awareness. More people want to adopt and increase sustainable measures. And they want to see Governments get further engaged. One aspect very important to the Algarve and Alentejo is water-retention. Desertification is a huge ongoing threat. Over a third of Spain is affected. Rivers are drying up.
Technology has and will continue play a huge part in changing the way everyone lives. Resources are finite. Eco-Villages would not be able to function so well, without any solar power and water purification.
Insofar as building is concerned, keeping in line with the environment has been achieved by using a concept known as “Domespaces” – revolving houses with solar roof panels!
Low-impact construction has started to become popular. Factor making clay bricks, using straw-bales and recycled or harvested timber are all commendable. And they’re kinder on our environment. It’s all about reducing our footprint.
A good architect can really help you make better informed decisions for your new-build or renovation. Perhaps you’ll take a close look at “GREEN CONSTRUCTION”. Low impact building, local design and manufacturing can deliver affordable solutions. And a property full of renewables to be kinder on the planet.