Building a kitchen extension without a building license may get you a fine and a headache on managing all the paperwork that entails, but to build a property or any installation in a protected green area in Spain could imply that you have gone too far.
As you probably know we architects have a double challenge here in Spain. In the Northern countries the whole purpose is to save energy by creating a very well insulated building, here in Spain we have to do the same but at the same time we have to deal with heat gain in buildings due to the high solar energy during summer.
After the implementation of the so called Omnibus Law in Spain, any company or individual can install a security camera system without having to comply with the requirements demanded by the Ministry of the Interior. Thus, many communities of neighbours may choose to install the CCTV cameras themselves. But the results are not always as expected.
This idea has been reintroduced over the years, and today a kitchen should offer more than functionality: it should be the centre of family reunion, sometimes replacing the function of the dining or living room. Anyone who has ever organised a party in their own home knows that no matter how comfortable and inviting the sofa and a fireplace may be, where everyone ends up meeting is in the kitchen. In fact I consider it is possible to determine the degree of friendliness of the people gathered...
In my previous article we looked at the different places where we could look for inspiration. We also recommended starting by defining your own personality or taste then proceeding by making coherent decisions regarding colour, layout and style of kitchen that we want to use etc.
The air quality of some cities is not good, but the quality within homes or offices can be even worse. Contaminants of all kinds can be present in indoor areas with various harmful effects. The increasing use of plastics, detergents, varnishes, and the use of more efficient external joinery which hermetically seal off the incoming of fresh air is causing cancer figures to rise each year.
We have seen electricity prices rocketing up in Spain every year. The Spanish electric companies offered very poor excuses before a passive Spanish Government. They picked on the coldest days of the year to increase electric prices by as much as 60%. So apart from installing our own electric photovoltaic panels the next thing we can do is to save electricity by any means. One way of saving is to switch off all those appliances which we have on standby.
Believe it or not banks are beginning to charge for money deposited in their banks. That also means that obtaining a loan from them is at minimum levels specially if the money is invested to improve your home. The current offer on loans for building works allows comparing several products and choosing the most economical.
The energy saved in renovating a home may be more interesting as an investment than the interests that you may obtain from an endowment policy for retirement. The efficiency obtained in the energy saved could be up to 1.675 Euros per year in a standard house.