All villas designed and built by ARK Architects are made to PassiveHaus (Passive House) standards
ARK Architects’ philosophy is clear – projects must be alive for human beings and respect the environment, because luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand.
Creating adaptable architecture and using specific materials which align with the owners’ lifestyle is challenging but not impossible. Of course, it’s not easy to achieve sustainability in a villa with over 2,000 square metres floor area. The work to make it happen begins with the initial design.
In the main environment where we work, the natural light is intense and we are surrounded by nature. A connection with these elements is at the heart of all our projects. This means there are fundamental concepts ensuring all our projects are sustainable, creating a stable and comfortable ambient temperature, with aerotechnical ventilation, solar panels for the water supply, underfloor or ceiling heating, areas with natural dehumidification, LED lighting systems, all forming part of a smart home system which adjusts to suit the schedules of the people who live there.
Energy efficiency is part of the essence of the Passive House concept, develop in the 1980´s in Germany in order to build houses with minimum energy consumption, and if at all possible, null consumption. Buildings are responsible for up to 56% or the pollution in our cities, compared to 13% that comes form car emissions, and they consume around 40% of primary energy. A problem of enormous magnitude in which the European Directive 2010/31 wants to remedy, by requiring all buildings to have as near to zero energy consumption as of December 31, 2020.
“Passive housing” does not use contaminating energy methods, such as burning fuel, to produce and create a comfortable room temperature. Thus, this type of construction discards the usual cooling or heating mechanisms and yet manages to maintain an internal temperature of around 20ºC or 21ºC throughout the year.
What really goes into our projects?
- Using top quality building materials, and selecting the highest standards in weatherproofing and thermal and acoustic insulation.
- Landscape design. We use landscaping features to filter greywater, and save rainwater for watering the plants, thanks to the drainage system. We facilitate the return of clean water to the aquifers.
- Native plants. Using mostly native plant species reduces the demand for water, as they are adapted to the local environment.
- Heritage trees. We conserve existing trees, maintaining the integrity and history of the site. This lets us take advantage of the natural shade provided by mature trees.
- Permeable surfaces. These reduce runoff, allowing water to filter through to the local water table and/or aquifers.
- Natural ventilation. Energy consumption is minimised by passive cooling using natural air flow.
- Sun protection. This reduces energy requirements while improving residents’ comfort.
- We ensure natural light reaches all the spaces in the home, minimising the need for artificial lighting.
- High-efficiency lighting. Highly optimised lighting and controls for increased energy efficiency.
- Alternative energy. We use photovoltaic technology, thermal solar, and other alternative technologies to reduce energy consumption.
- Orientation of the home. Site-specific analysis reveals where sunlight will fall throughout the day, so we understand exactly how it impacts the spaces.
- Water treatment and storage tanks.
The management, maintenance and sustainability of our projects are just as important as all other aspects. We must always remember that a villa with these characteristics is an organic element and part of the ecosystem, so every tiny detail must be taken care of.
And of course, we apply continuous improvement to ensure our environmental impact is reduced even more.