We have created a low impact environmentally friendly building using as much of the original material while introducing modern day elements. The stone in the perimeter walls is from the old house as is the sand used to mix the morter; the roof tiles were carefully removed and have been reused to ensure the building blends in with the rest of the village when seen from the Peña. Ángel also managed to save enough to use them as wall light in the public areas of the house. All the old chestnut beams and the original front door were renovated by our local carpenters and Angel has made a small wardrobe in one of the bedrooms using one of the old doors from the original house. The majority of the furniture used is antique and Angel has put in many an hour restoring it – each room is decorated in a different and rather eclectic way! Lots of the old bottles we are using for decoration were found in the house and as time goes by we will be decorating the house with items usually found up in somebody’s attic!
Visit our video on youtube to see the low-impact building:
As for the structure of the building, we are unique in the area. We have designed the building to be classified as energy efficient A using as many natural elements as possible. . We have used natural cork as insulation for the front and roof of the building. Natural cork is fire proof, repels dampness and provides high termal and sound proofing. In the interior seperations (bedrooms, bathrooms, corridors) we have used natural sheeps wool due to its high termal, sound and humidity proofing properties. All the interior doors have been made with FSC wood and the exterior doors and windows are all double glazed to a high standard.
On a trip to America over 15 years ago we spent a couple of nights in an establishment that was heated and cooled by ground source energy. When we embarked on this project Angel decided to investigate this type of energy to see if we could use it at La Posada de San Marcos. It was a difficult task 5 years ago, the concept was still very much in its infancy in Europe. Angel managed to find a company based in Madrid and we went to visit a property where ground source/ heat pump energy had been installed. We were convinced that this approach was beter than any other form of alternative energy: It covers all our heating, cooling and hot water needs through under floor heating/cooling and extra support through a ventilation system of fan coils for the hotter/ colder months. The visual impact is nonexistent and the mid-term savings are considerable. Ground source energy extracts heat from the ground at a constant temperature between 15º to 17º throughout the year irrespective of the weather above, it is then converted to the necessary temperature through a machine the size of a fridge using gases . We are the first company to use ground source energy in the area and one of the very few in the whole of Andalucia. The initial cost was more than our first apartment in Sevilla but the investment should pay for itself in 8 -10 years depending obviously on our occupancy. The fact that we are using a natural and clean form of energy that will reduce our electricity consumption by 75% is very motivating.
Rain water is collected in the existing well from the property and then sent to the tanks to be used for the toilet flushes and the garden irrigation system. The toilet flushes have the double flush sytem and all the taps and showers are water saving efficient.
We have used environmentally friendly paints throughout the building and all the wood was restored using water based varnishes.
We have installed LED lights in the sitting room and dining room the rest of the bulbs are low consumption.
We have planted different fruit trees in the garden and endemic plants from the area. We also intend to grow our own organic vegetables in the near future.