Posts Tagged ‘montezuma’

Tropical Green Building

Tropical green building in Montezuma, Costa Rica

1. Cooling Considerations – power is already very expensive here and is expected to continue to go up. With all the development coming, we should build so that AC isn’t required to keep a house or condo cool. The simplest way to do this is to make sure that air can easily flow through the house, by having sliding doors on both the front and back. Sliding screens can be added to keep out bugs, especially in the rainy season and at night. Screens block at least half of the airflow, but are worth it if your house is in a buggy area. Another good trick is to build a steep roof and orient the house so that the sun never falls on one side of the roof, keeping it forever in shadow and thus much cooler. Or do like Bergit, owner of Hotel Horizontes de Montezuma did – she designed a roof system so the breeze can easily blow underneath it, keeping both the roof and the entire building cooler. Another option is to build the roof an entire story higher, thus creating a huge loft on top of the house, which not only keeps everything cool, but adds more usable space to the house inexpensively. Rather than using a clothes dryer, consider building a sunroom like Jakob Bjerre did in his solar-powered house in Montezuma. Even on cloudy days, this sun-room is hot and dry, and rapidly dries clothes hanging on a line. His brilliant design also located the sun-room next to the solar power equipment and batteries, which used this extra heat generated by the system to heat the drying room.
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Pura Vida Sunsets Eco Villa

Tropical Green Building - Eco House Design

If you look through a list of green building techniques or LEED certification requirements, you’ll see how few of them apply in the beach areas of Costa Rica. There are many reasons for this, but it’s primarily due to the fact that construction techniques are quite different.

Building green doesn’t just mean solar power and windmills on the roof – it also is about low maintenance, and using local know-how for construction and repairs, the idea being to keep your money in your community, rather than hiring outside contractors. Also, the climate here is doubly harsh in that it’s tropical and rainy half the year and desert-dry the other half. Your house has to withstand both seasons.

Looking online, you will find very little information out there about how to “build green” in the “dry tropical forest” of the pacific coast of Costa Rica, where much of the construction is going on now. We are trailblazing the way, helping to provide information for others to follow.

Please enjoy this webpage – we hope it will help you with your house, and we welcome your comments and suggestions, so we can continually update and improve this information.