Volcano Eco Lab

A great sustainable site

A great sustainable site

Why choosing a good site is crucial to sustainability and why this is a great sustainable site.

So, why did I choose this particular piece of land? 

Someone said it’s because Lajares is the “surf city” of the island, because it’s nice, coloured, creative, full of nice, relaxed and smiling people. To be honest it’s ways simpler, it all began just going with the gut. I know it might seem a joke but it has always worked till now. I got an amazing sensation and I seriously started to think about moving here.

Then I had a look at the map…

A wide-zoom map of natural beauties and useful stuff around the site

A fast (and coloured) look at the map itself that tells you many reasons why I chose this village. We could sum them up by saying it’s simply in the middle of paradise.

Let’s now narrow the zoom a bit because the location of a house is crucial for achieving true sustainability.

How does a site affect sustainability

The main principles of LEED approach the subject of the perfect Sustainable Site with four main points:

1) Transportation
2) Site selection
3) Site design and management
4) Site stormwater management

In this post we’ll talk about the first two only, leaving points 3 and 4 for a much deep analysis in the near future with, respectively, Garden Design and Water Design and Management dedicated sections. Let’s have a look at the first two.

1) Transportation

There is no doubt transportation has a huge impact on sustainability. If we focus again on the Triple bottom Line concept we talked about in one of our second posts this means a huge impact on environment, community and wallet.

Transportation causes about one third of the total emission we produce in the planet, polluting heavily the air we breathe and causing acid rain and many many many other problems. But there is more, roads and parking slots irreverersibly change the landscape, destroying forever all the natural resources they cover and requiring a massive amount of energy for their construction.

So, how to avoid that?

A narrow-zoom view of the main services around the piece of land

A great sustainable site is locateded in a strategic position that minimize the use of the car for reaching pretty much all the best beaches, surf spots, natural beauties and the main services of the northen part of the island. But there is more, if we narrow the zoom again studying what’s around, we can see that the site is near all the main services in town. Great.

2) Site Selection

For choosing a great sustainable site the fisrt thing you have to ask yourself is what’s around?

One, The piece of land I chose is located in an area classified as rural, low-settlement area; this means that land owners are oblidged, by law, to preserve at least the 75% of the land, being allowed to build a maximum of 25% of the total area, thus preserving the landscape. I know to many people this may sound a bad investment but I’m not here for making an investment so I believe it’s great.

Number two, due to the appropriate lack of a public drainage system, there might be one problem only: floods. I know, there is almost no rain in Fuerteventura and sun shines almost everyday but I have seen with my eyes that there are 2 or 3 weeks every year where heavy floods come and water can become a big problem. So, how to avoid problems?

The topographic map of the VESH neibourghood enlighten the high position of the chosen land. [source: Visor Grafcan]

From the topographic map above we can see that another big pro of the site I chose is that it is located in one of the highest point of the area, with no slopes around. This means pretty much no risk of having whater at knee level during floods.

This, together with the smart foundation system I chose will guarantee me the most important thing: no risk of having whater in the house during floods. No humidity problem and a thus a house that will last very long with very low maintenance.

Let me end by saying that a well-located site is not enough. Today’s building techniques, and especially traditional unconscious building, irreverisibly affects ecosystems. Site design and management together with the intelligent use of the natural resources that the site provides are mandatory for talking about real sustainability. 

But we’ll talk about that more in depth soon, approaching the phases so Garden Design and Water Design and Management sections.

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