Andre Walton©2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 All rights reserved. Site created by Creative Paths
A few years after Casa Sol e Lua was built, we installed two 10-panel tracking photovoltaic solar-electric arrays. These provide more electricity than we use, and is fed back into the national grid. This negative carbon footprint gives us a good feeling, and also eases the pressure on the rather poor local electricity infrastructure.
Our exterior garden lights are solar powered or high-efficiency and on timers and motion detectors.
Since Casa Sol e Lua is not on the local water distribution network we needed to find other options for the house and for irrigation. We looked at three options: First, to drill a borehole. This is expensive and consumes considerable energy to pump the water from 200m depth. Second, we could simply have water brought in by tractor and tanker. This is costly, and energy inefficient due to the fuel involved in transporting the water, 5000 litres at a time. The third option was to design the house in such a way as to integrate huge water storage containers that could store water from the rainy season for use right through the summer, which is what we decided to do. The beautiful West-facing patio at Casa Sol e Lua hides two 70,000 litre cisterns that collect water from patios and roofs during the winter for use throughout the year. When there is a short fall we do have water tanked in, but this is a very small proportion of the water we use during the year. Besides which - anyone who has washed in rain water knows that - it just can’t be beat!
Because of the scarcity of water in the Algarve, we do ask our guests to avoid excessive water use. “Use what you need”, we ask, “but please do not waste water”. We all want to take showers on a regular basis, however, so the other way we maximise the use of this valuable resource is by irrigating with grey water. Your shower water will be filtered and used to water much of the beautiful plants that you will enjoy around the house.
Swimming pools can be a massive source of water loss in this beautifully warm climate. Regarding our (salt water) swimming pool, we keep it covered with a solar blanket to keep it warm and to minimise evaporative losses (which would otherwise be hundreds of litres per day in the summer). Guests are at liberty to remove the cover or ask the staff to do so when they want to swim.
We separate all our waste recyclables into Paper, Packaging (cans and plastic products in the Yellow container), and Glass (in the Green container). We have recycling bins behind the house which we transport to local recycling bins. Any recyclables in guests’ garbage are removed for recycling.
Enjoy your stay at Casa Sol e Lua, happy in the knowledge that we are doing all we can to minimise our (and your) carbon footprint and to help conserve our planet for future generations.
We try and be Green!
Casa Sol e Lua was built with many green factors inherent within its design. First, the hot water at Casa Sol e Lua is solar heated. Our two square metres of solar panels provide ample hot water for a full house! On the rare occasions when the sun does not shine for a few days we have an immersion heater backup. Second, the house was built with twice the required thickness of insulation in the walls. This gives us the thick walls associated with an ancient building (rather than the thin, concrete block thickness of walls in many ‘villa’ style houses). Also, we enjoy the comfort and energy conservation associated with lots of insulation which provides comfort in both winter and summer. Finally, our air conditioning and other appliances are all as efficient as we could find, and certified to the highest standards.