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Publicado el 10-06-2009

Bioclimatic houses save energy and money

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Washington, D.C.- For Juan Jose Sanchez Sosa, a psychology professor from Mexico City, paying for electricity at home is not a problem. Since 1984, when he bought his house built based on bioclimatic architectural parameters, he saves 30% of his household expenses without depriving himself of any services.

"The difference is obvious. Electricity and gas costs are notably lower. The house was designed to exploit every nook through which light enters in the different seasons of the year," he says.

Bioclimatic architecture strives to the design buildings so that they cause the least environmental impact, while at the same time making better use of natural environmental conditions for heating and lighting. "The savings are big because the amounts of energy are high and prices in Latin America have increased rapidly," he adds.

According to Ruth Lacomba, a Mexican engineer, this term was coined approximately 30 years ago, but ancient civilizations already practiced it. In Mexico, the indigenous peoples used palm trees and bamboo in tropical regions, and even the Eskimos took some of the design ideas into account for their igloos. "All this is bioclimatic architecture, since it exploits natural conditions," she explains.

Going beyond its definition, this style may be a tool for fighting the so-called energy crisis of the 21st century. Lacombe, who works on solar, bioclimatic, green and sustainable projects for housing and other buildings, feels that despite the natural qualities that Latin America has, we need greater investment in professional training in order for production to grow in this area.

"People who are involved in it must be trained (...) It is an issue that requires expertise, a greater understanding of technology and physics in order to interpret how heat, wind and other energy sources move. It is ...
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