TYPES OF ECOLOGICAL HOUSES
Nowadays, it is common to find different definitions of ecological houses, in line with the combination of materials that are being used to build. For this reason, we will clarify and define more specifically what we consider to be an ecological living space and list the different types based on three materials, wood, brick and concrete, whose characteristics ensure respect for the natural environment as well as human well-being.
What Is Understood as an Ecological Home?
An ecological home is a living space that takes advantage of the natural resources such as sunlight and soil, it also respects the environment during construction as well as afterward. In other words, it is a home with a bioclimatic design, which implies taking advantage of the energy that comes from the sun to heat the home or the current generated by the air to cool or ventilate it. In this sense, the bioclimatic design can be defined with the following characteristics:
- It has a thicker insolation than that of conventional homes.
- It optimally captures solar radiation, especially if the construction is oriented toward the south as it stores the heat through materials with thermal inertia. This means that these homes are capable of retaining heat during the day and releasing it at night when the environmental temperatures lower.
- It generates cross ventilation as a method of general home ventilation. This means that by using interior patios, it is possible to air out all of the rooms in the home.
An ecological home refers, in large part, to a house that respects the environment and implies that the construction is based on a series of materials that leave the least possible ecological footprint on the environment. These materials can be, on one hand, natural and recyclable and on the other, they should require very few sources of energy during the process of production and transport.
Likewise, they should be materials that not only respect the environment but also human health. For the living space to reach complete well-being, it is very important that the materials not contain chemical or toxic elements in order to not alter the magnetic fields within the home and achieve an optimal interior environment.
What Are the Different Types of Ecological Homes?
The following is an in-depth list that details the different types of ecological homes, with 3 basic materials: wood, brick and concrete. While it is true that an ecological home can be built with many materials, they do not all comply with the aforementioned requirements.
- Wood Home
Wood is one of the best ecological materials, due to its versatility and to its contribution to the heating of the living space. However, one of the biggest advantages of wood is the fact that it has a high hygroscopic capacity (that is absorbs moisture from the air) and as such, contributes to maintaining and regulating the humidity of the interior by 50% of the total. Wood also has a good capacity for insulation although it is recommended to combine it with another form of thermal insulation to reach total well-being.
Among the possible systems for bioconstruction using wood, it is possible to highlight three options:
1A) Solid Wood
1B) Solid Wood Beams
1C) Light Wood Fencing
- Brick Home
It is important to keep in mind that there are dozens of different types of bricks that at the same time, each one of them has special and different characteristics from the rest. For that reason, taking a look at it from a bioconstruction point of view, it is recommended to use dirt brick without firing, as when it is fired, it requires a large amount of energy, involving a larger impact on the environment.
Construction with bricks, in general, needs a larger thickness in the wall siding and in the interior walls in comparison to the light wood construction systems. As a result, in this case, the useful surface of the future home appears reduced with respect to the same surface made with other materials.
With that in mind, the alternatives to using brick constructive systems for something ecological are:
2A) Limestone Brick Walls
2B) Cellular Concrete Block
2C) Natural Stone Wall
2D) Mud Construction
- Concrete Home
Concrete is an artificial material made from cement, from the aggregates, water and in the majority of cases, from a number of additives to modify some of its added characteristics. It is not a material that complies with all of the requirements of a bioconstruction; however, we should keep it in mind for economic reasons when adjusting the project budget.
When building an ecological home, it is necessary to highlight the use of concrete blocks because, in addition to offering a quicker project installation, they ensure a greater respect for the environment in comparison to the more commonly used reinforced concrete. However, it is also true that the atmosphere generated by a concrete constructed living space in relation to those built with other materials is of a lesser quality regarding humidity, to the surface temperature of the material and lastly, the thermal conductivity.
When building upon blocks of cement, it is necessary to consider the regulations controlling the parameters of the humidity of the construction. In that sense, it is important to place them when they are the driest possible, as it takes an extensive amount of time to evaporate all of the water that is absorbed and this can diminish the interior quality of the future living space.
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