The purpose of sustainable housing is to save energy and therefore reduce environmental costs. A commitment to sustainable architecture is increasingly more important, given that in addition to energy savings it also improves health. According to several studies, a family can save up to €400 per year living in a sustainable home just by improving insulation on facades, roofs and windows. Apart from optimal insulation, a sustainable house must also meet the following requirements:
1. Natural Lighting
Good natural lighting, from the sun and outdoors, is beneficial for the health because it reduces the risk of illnesses such as depression, insomnia, stress and fatigue. The main reason is that sunlight helps the brain to regulate sleep cycles, energy and mood. Therefore, good natural lighting helps to save money and also improves health.
2. Air quality
Poor air quality inside the home can cause infections in respiratory tracts, eye and throat irritation, dizziness and headaches. Although it seems unbelievable, indoor air pollution is often two to five times greater than outdoor air pollution, according to a report from the World Health Organization. The poor quality of indoor air is due to the polluting substances that many decorative elements contain (lead, volatile compounds, etc.) and poor ventilation in housing is because of inadequate design and construction.
3. Reduce the use of noxious components
The chemical substances used for furniture, decoration and some electrical appliances can cause problems for the health, as explained in the point above. These substances are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). One of them is formaldehyde, a substance with a very strong odor that is used on many wooden and paper-covered products. There are many others and for this reason certificates that guarantee that houses are built using the minimum possible VOCs are very important.
4. Acoustic insulation
One in four people in Spain do not sleep well due to noise. Noise pollution is the second cause of environmental-related illnesses, after atmospheric pollution. The location of the home is influential, but there are also a series of general characteristics that all buildings should comply with in order to achieve better acoustic installation.
5. Ventilated facades
The outside part of the home is a key factor towards achieving sustainability. In this sense, ventilated facades are the perfect solution for helping to save energy and improve health. A ventilated facade has an insulating layer that allows air to freely circulate in its chamber, which means an energy saving of 40% in comparison with traditional facades.