EDITION: October - December '06


---------------------------1º Part -------------------------
Construction in harmony
with the environment

Nowadays, with all the modern technological and scientific knowledge that we have, combined with the best practices from the past, we have all the tools at our fingertips to build homes that are not polluting while still working optimally. Bio-construction home-building is a realistic alternative that will save you money on energetic costs and help the planet in the long-run. It can provide you the home of your dreams while making it more efficient, cleaner, cheaper to run, independent of increasing power cuts or energy price raises, and of course very comfortable and beautiful. There really is no excuse to build the old “all-consuming” way!

Let us first analyse the meaning of this word, “bio-construction”. The term “Bio” has become one of the most fashionable words of present times: some use it in false advertising, others as an attractive label, while many do not even know its true meaning, which is, according to the dictionary: Bio (from the Greek Bios = life) – prefix that serves for the formation of words with the meaning of LIFE.

Bio-constructors are prepared to plant seeds to help life on this world, to recover popular and ancient customs which we so need, to combine them with the latest technological advances, and to return to the true wisdom of our mother, the Earth.

Mother Earth, is so far ahead of human capacities: she has been around for much longer than ourselves, and is a perfect bio-catalyst of the chemical reactions in living beings, which is why everything is already written. Man, throughout his existence, has only been able to imitate her and read between the lines of her processes through the different areas of investigation and development.

We know that all matter contains an energy that nowadays can be measured. If we build with materials extracted from the earth, from the very place where the construction will be set, the energetic impact on the environment will be reduced to minimum levels, becoming in fact totally contrary to the socio-economic consumer trends of our times. It is enough to observe an abandoned car, in the middle of the countryside, to see a total bio-catalytic “indigestion” for its surroundings, and quite an attack on the harmony of the landscape. If we compare this, however, with an old abandoned rural house, absorbed by the surrounding vegetation, we will get a different sensation, more harmonic to our eyes and to the very surroundings it is placed in. And if our short lives were much longer, we would see the perfect fusion and natural elimination of the ruin.

This is the purist view of Bio-construction, the one carried out by our ancestors, not because of better knowledge but through necessity. That is to say that Man did not act in the past with a deeper knowledge of the environment, but because his means were much lesser, while his ignorance was similar: if he had had access to the necessary means he would have damaged the environment in the same way that we do now.

The tremendous technological development that we are going through since the industrial revolution, at vertiginous speed, is something Man is not really capable of managing, and not even Mother Nature can process correctly. This is a reason why we can give new meaning to the typical phrase “things used to be done better”, because we inadvertently lived in harmony with Nature.

Recovering this harmony is one of the aims of modern Bio-construction.

There are many aspects designers and bio-constructors consider when carrying out a project, all of which will add to the final result of optimal comfort and energy use: from positioning the house, to collecting rainwater and recycling used water naturally, to maximising natural energies and local climate, renewable energy production, insulation for efficient heating and cooling, low-maintenance gardens and even your own food production.
We look forward to exploring these main aspects further in depth in the following editions of IbiCasa.