Category: Green Real Estate

Tropical Greenbuilding – Secondary Considerations

Tropical greenbuilding guide for Costa Rica green real estate and ecodevelopers

Secondary Considerations

1. Appearance – Use green and brown stuccos for coloring, and natural wood, or metal painted to look like wood, creating an almost invisible set of buildings that blends into the jungle and looks very luxurious and high-end as a result. A good example of this is how the Florsheims did their “Latitude-10” luxury beachfront bungalows in Santa Teresa. Choose building shapes that create natural shadows and aren’t just big rectangles with flat sides.

2. Grey water treatment – You can use a series of rocks, gravel, and sand ponds that can be part of the landscaping to clean the greywater. This water comes from showers, sinks, and kitchen, and the food particles and other organic material in the greywater can be beneficial to the environment if treated properly. Chemical and chlorine-based cleaners shouldn’t be used for cleaning since these chemicals will go straight into the soil.
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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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