If you live in a typical energy inefficient home in Spain constructed say 5 years ago to the minimum standards required by the building regulations then it’s possible that 70% or more of your energy consumption is on space heating (and maybe cooling) and another 20% is on hot water. And the rest could go on cooking lighting and appliances.
An energy efficient home might consume 60-70% less by comparison just by improving the efficiency of the space heating and hot water.
So to keep it simple for every 10,000€ you spend on energy you could save 6000€ to 7000€.
The precise answer to the question “how much can I save?” would come out of a comparison of your current situation, power source and home configuration, with your proposed set-up.
Does An Energy Efficient Home Cost More to Build in Spain?
Not much more: it depends. It almost certainly makes financial sense even if it does cost a bit more. The recuperation of any investment can take only a few years.
In terms of costs it certainly requires more care at the design stage and in the choice of materials and in planning them together so they work efficiently. Assuming for a moment your architect has the knowledge to do this they may charge extra for this. Actually at Eco Vida we don’t charge extra for this. Our fees are the standard fees recommended by the Colegio de Arquitectos. The extra care we put into our design is free.
Some materials may cost more but will mean savings elsewhere (eg high spec glazing implies a smaller heating requirement). Others materials may cost less or not be necessary.
Some structural techniques that complement energy efficient design are much faster to put up and significant savings can be made by cutting your project time with consequent savings on labour, insurance, and finance.
Time can also be saved by good project management such as overlapping tasks and using a well integrated, well motivated, team that makes few mistakes. This isn’t energy efficiency it’s just efficiency.
It is true that in Spain that you can throw up a concrete structure for very little but this doesn’t really make any financial sense. You certainly are not protecting the value of your investment as regulation on energy efficiency becomes increasingly tighter and the market expresses a preference for energy efficiency.
So the answer is that it doesn’t cost much more than a standard design and specification built to the same quality and it almost certainly makes financial sense. There are links to more articles on the subject below.
It Makes Financial Sense to build an Energy Efficient Home because they are worth more
Studies show that people will pay up to 20% more for an energy efficient home. It should be an investable proposition.
It Makes Financial Sense to Build and Energy Efficient Home because Fuel Costs are Rising
Fuel prices have risen steadily over the last few decades and dramatically over the last few years. There is general agreement that they will continue to rise. So any financial benefit from the lower running costs of an energy efficient home looks likely to magnify with time.
Energy Efficient Homes are Far More Comfortable
An energy efficient home is more comfortable than one heated by fossil fuels and cooled by conventional electrical air conditioners. It doesn’t matter how much money or fossil fuels you burn you won’t achieve the same levels of comfort. How do you put a price on that? An economist would probably ask you how much he would have to pay you to suffer the discomfort of living in an uncomfortable home.
Try an factor that into your equation (or steer clear of economists!)
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.