Building a self-sufficient house is possible, although important obstacles such as the price of materials still have to be overcome, although it is also true that there are successful projects that have used recycled materials and resort to ingenious energy production systems more affordable than solar panels or wind turbines, let’s say.
An ecological house has to be built with sustainable materials. If, in addition, we want it to be self-sufficient, that is, to be ecological in a more complete sense, it must generate its own energy, take advantage of rainwater and reuse both this and residues which, of course, must also be minimal .
Thanks to a generation of energy and matter and an intelligent use that includes eco-friendly habits, an attempt is made to minimize the energy and material costs, while at the same time achieving economic. That is, the goal is to gain independence and take care of our pocket and the planet.
Aspects to consider
Since there is no self-sufficient home model, we have to rely on a set of key principles that will help us design our own project to achieve the long-awaited self-sufficiency or independence of energy and even food.
Except for praiseworthy exceptions that are anecdotal nowadays, building a green and self-sufficient housing requires a bigger budget, so costs will skyrocket, but its subsequent amortization will make this first blow smoother.
On the other hand, if we want to reduce energy consumption and also generate it, a common goal, we will have to decide how we are going to do it, using some or other technologies depending on the characteristics of the area, depending on whether it is more or less rainy, windy or sunny.
In turn, the house has to be isolated using sustainable materials, in addition to being able to reinforce this point with the installation of green roofs and vertical gardens on facades and also inside the house. Another aspect of vital importance for the use of natural resources provided by the area, and this requires the investigation of the possibilities of the environment, as there could be natural wells or springs.
In this sense, the orientation of the house and the layout of the rooms will also be decided depending on the weather (more or less wind, rain, temperatures, etc.) and the solar route throughout the year.
In particular, in order to know the angle of the sun, we must obtain the solar chart, an outline of the course of the sun to know which part of the facade will receive more and less sun.
Once the location of the house and its orientation have been decided, it would be interesting to make an intelligent distribution of windows, doors, windows, porches, terraces and other elements and materials as more or less isolation is required in different areas of the house.
If these strategies minimize the use of heating and cooling in the home we will have advanced in the way of self-sufficiency. Improving our goal, getting closer to it a little more will require the use of clean energy to cover those needs for air conditioning in the home.
The options are numerous: solar photovoltaic, geothermal, wind, biomass boilers, biofuel generator, solar thermal … Any of them will have different applications, so we can get hot water and heating at the same time or, for example, a cooling the environment and using that clean energy as a source that provides electricity.
The biogas or solar cooker can also be an excellent solution, because it uses renewable sources that can come from our garden or natural biomass from companies that market it, in which case the alleged self-sufficiency would suffer.
To purify the water, either to make it suitable for human consumption, for irrigation, to recycle it or to reuse it once it has been used it admits different solutions according to its level of pollution and uses.
We will find good allies in the barrels that collect the rainwater or even in big deposits that allow to accumulate large amounts of water, ideal to accumulate it during the rainy seasons.
However, it should be analyzed to ensure its health, and it may still be necessary to give it a purifying treatment. Likewise, wastewater will need biological purifiers that do not require electricity. Ideally, purified water should be used for irrigation, car washing or, for example, pond maintenance.
The Importance of Good Habits
At the time of using it, living in it, logically will have to make a life according to the ecological characteristics of the house, for example following the three errs of sustainability: reduce, recycle and reuse to maximize the efficiency of technology, the usefulness of the waste, for example by transforming it into fertilizer or purifying wastewater.
It will also make a big difference in this regard to reduce consumerism, grow a bio garden or, of course, make the most of renewable energies. And not only by photovoltaic cells or wind turbines, but for example by taking advantage of the hours of light, wind to dry clothes or biomass for cooking or heating.
Therefore, when it comes to building an ecological and self-sufficient house it is essential to take into account our lifestyle, preferences and real possibilities that the house can finally culminate its goal of energy independence and self-sufficiency in the day to day.