LIFE Project Cover Photo

14 sustainable dwellings using local resources as Posidonia plants, at the Social Housing Development in Formentera

Reference: LIFE12 ENV/ES/000079 | Acronym: LIFE REUSING POSIDONIA

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

There is a general consensus on the need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. A key means of reducing equivalent CO2 emissions is by reducing energy consumption. Strategies including the implementation of energy performance certificates (Directive 2002/91/EC) can help work towards this objective. For the building sector reducing energy consumption means taking a lifecycle approach and addressing consumption at each stage, including the sourcing of materials, construction, use and end-of-life. There has been much awareness developed in recent years on the importance of energy-efficient buildings, including the use of insulation, solar panels and efficient lighting systems. However, more attention is needed to address emissions generated during the construction phase. The manufacture of concrete is currently responsible for 75% of the emissions from the construction sector. There is a need to consider alternative building systems that can reduce CO2 equivalent emissions. An interesting option is using local resources with low embodied energy, and a return to traditional methods of architecture. Posidonia oceanica (Neptune grass) is a seagrass species endemic to the Mediterranean. On the Balearic island of Formentera, it has been traditionally used in multiple applications, including the thermal insulation of buildings.


OBJECTIVES

The objective of LIFE REUSING POSIDONIA was to demonstrate the feasibility of developing a multi-family residential building with a significantly reduced ecological footprint. The project aimed to reduce energy and water consumption and the production of waste during the construction phase and service life of the buildings. It aimed to implement and evaluate alternative construction techniques for a building complex with a total floor area of 1.083 m2. Specifically, Neptune grass packed in re-used pallets as insulation material, and non-reinforced lime concrete in the foundations.


RESULTS

LIFE REUSING POSIDONIA developed an innovative multi-family residential building model with a significantly reduced ecological footprint on the Balearic island of Formentera (Spain). The project partners constructed 14 prototype public protection dwellings to demonstrate the feasibility of this alternative building model, which links heritage, traditional architectural methods, and climate change.

A starting point was prioritising the most ecological locally-sourced products and demonstrating their economic viability: i) reusable local waste (e.g. dried Posidonia, straw, reused wood); ii) local eco-friendly products (e.g. marès sandstone, clay, slabs and bricks fired in a biomass kiln); iii) non-local eco-friendly products (e.g. laminated wood, hydraulic lime, silicate paint); and iv) recycled or optimised products (e.g. Ytong concrete blocks, or 85% recycling rate metals). For instance, the prototype building had roof insulation made of 16 cm of compacted dry Posidonia in reused pallets and walls incorporating a 25 cm thickness of Ytong, floors and foundations were made using natural hydraulic lime, acoustic insulation on floors and walls was provided by natural cork and recycled cotton boards, and windows that were all low emissive and made of wood. This ensured a high level of comfort inside (average 21ºC in winter and 26ºC in summer) with a very low energy use.

The project team demonstrated significant environmental benefits for the building. Its construction, avoiding 746 246 kg/CO2 (60.7% reduction) compared to conventional buildings, is rated Energy Class A. There was a 75% reduction of useful energy during the lifetime of the building, a 60% reduction in water consumption, and a 50% reduction in waste production during the construction phase. Healthy indoor air quality was obtained by selecting products that do not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or formaldehyde.

The project contributed to EU policy relating to energy efficiency, climate change mitigation, and the circular economy. It informed three reLIFE REUSING POSIDONIA developed an innovative multi-family residential building model with a significantly reduced ecological footprint on the Balearic island of Formentera (Spain). The project partners constructed 14 prototype public protection dwellings to demonstrate the feasibility of this alternative building model, which links heritage, traditional architectural methods, and climate change.

A starting point was prioritising the most ecological locally-sourced products and demonstrating their economic viability: i) reusable local waste (e.g. dried Posidonia, straw, reused wood); ii) local eco-friendly products (e.g. marès sandstone, clay, slabs and bricks fired in a biomass kiln); iii) non-local eco-friendly products (e.g. laminated wood, hydraulic lime, silicate paint); and iv) recycled or optimised products (e.g. Ytong concrete blocks, or 85% recycling rate metals). For instance, the prototype building had roof insulation made of 16 cm of compacted dry Posidonia in reused pallets and walls incorporating a 25 cm thickness of Ytong, floors and foundations were made using natural hydraulic lime, acoustic insulation on floors and walls was provided by natural cork and recycled cotton boards, and windows that were all low emissive and made of wood. This ensured a high level of comfort inside (average 21ºC in winter and 26ºC in summer) with a very low energy use.

The project team demonstrated significant environmental benefits for the building. Its construction, avoiding 746 246 kg/CO2 (60.7% reduction) compared to conventional buildings, is rated Energy Class A. There was a 75% reduction of useful energy during the lifetime of the building, a 60% reduction in water consumption, and a 50% reduction in waste production during the construction phase. Healthy indoor air quality was obtained by selecting products that do not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or formaldehyde.

The project contributed to EU policy relating to energy efficiency, climate change mitigation, and the circular economy. It informed three re

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE12 ENV/ES/000079
Acronym: LIFE REUSING POSIDONIA
Start Date: 01/08/2013
End Date: 29/06/2018
Total Budget: 1,580,873 €
EU Contribution: 754,012 €
Project Location:
Project Website: http://www.ibavi.com; http://www.ibavi.caib.es

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: Institut Balear de lHabitatge
Legal Status: PAT
Address: C/ Manuel Azaa 9, bajos, 07006, Palma de Mallorca, Illes Balears,
Contact Person: Carles OLIVER BARCELÓ
Email: cgoliver@ibavi.caib.es
Tel: +34 97 178 49 89
Fax: +34 97 178 49 86


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Building
  • GHG reduction in non EU ETS sectors
  • Energy efficiency

KEYWORDS

  • emission reduction
  • green building
  • greenhouse gas
  • island
  • residential building
  • insulating material

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
  • Directive 2012/27 - Energy efficiency (25.10.2012)
  • Directive 2010/31 - Energy performance of buildings (19.05.2010)

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Institut Balear de lHabitatge Coordinator
Direccióo General d’Energia i Canvi Climatic de la Conselleria de Territori Energia i Mobilitat del Govern de les Illes Balears Spain Participant

Back