Eco Entrepreneurs in Spain Show Us How It’s Done

Last week I visited Green Cities, the Energy Efficient Building trade fair, in Malaga. It was so inspiring to see these Eco Entrepreneurs in Spain really having a go despite the economic climate.

John Wolfendale and Eugenijus Sapel at Green Cities
John Wolfendale and Eugenijus Sapel at Green Cities

They are creative people with great ideas, investing their time, emotional energy, and money to bring their product to the market and make life more comfortable for us. They are reducing the consumption of fossil fuels by risking their time and capital.

One such company that caught my eye was Kalhidra. They produce grey water recycling systems, which also recycle heat. So all that energy you spend heating the water for your dishwasher and your washing machine is used to heat the hot water for kitchen and bathroom. It’s very neat. See more on their webpage: Kalhidra

Kalhidra also have an excellent sales team of knowledgeable engaging staff giving slick presentations on their ipads. I was particularly struck by Cristina Gonzalez who was easily the best presenter in the room. I wonder if she’s got an identical twin who’s looking for a job!

Another favorite of mine from Green Cities, it’s not a new idea, but I love it, its solar powered street lamps (no it’s not an Irish joke). These are being installed by the Malaga local authority. It always somehow fills me with dismay to see a city from a distance at night. I can’t help saying to myself “look at all that fossil fuel being burned surely there must be a better way.” So this is a really neat idea. It’s a small integrated system that sits on top of each lamp and which charges up during the daytime and uses the energy at night time.

Solar Powered Street Light
Solar Powered Street Light

Malaga has a lot else going on, see their webpage for more information: http://energia.malaga.eu

There were many great companies exhibiting. Just to mention one last idea that I particularly liked is a system for recycling the power generated by a train when it brakes. This system charges electric cars. The idea is you park your electric car in the station car park and hop on the train and when you come back its been charged up by recycled brake power from the trains as they slow into the station. It’s one for the future perhaps when more of us have electric cars. www.adif.es

We really can take heart from this. There are courageous people out there showing leadership and we should acknowledge them and admire them for what they are doing. It is they, ultimately, not the politicians or the bureaucrats, or the journalists or anyone else, who will get us out of the economic mess we’re in, by creating employment, improving lives and getting the economy going.

These are the unsung heroes of today. We have to applaud them and to shout it from the rooftops (and stick two fingers up at the global financial crisis).

Author:John Wolfendale
Bio: John is a founder of Eco Vida and is passionate about bringing modern design and construction practices to Spain. He believes a home which is warm in winter and cool in summer is largely a matter of design and selective use of materials. He is British and a Chartered Surveyor with 18 years experience living and working in Spain.

John Wolfendale
John Wolfendale