Less Packaging & Transportation Costs

Incorporating locally sourced materials and methods in the residential designing and building processes is not only an environmentally friendly decision but also a way to create a high aesthetic, yet authentically sustainable living space.

This is because local materials like stone, wood, gravel, granite etc require less transportation and complex supply chain routes, which in turn reduces the amount of fuel consumed in the transportation process and the associated emissions.

Additionally, when the construction materials are sourced locally are often much more sustainable, as they are typically sourced from renewable resources, require less packaging and are produced using environmentally friendly methods.

Cost Efficiency

Furthermore, local materials originating from the island of Crete or in other locations around Greece, are often more durable and long-lasting, which means that they require less maintenance and replacement over time. This can further reduce the environmental impact of your home.

In addition to the environmental benefits, when designing and building houses in Crete with local materials, there are economic advantages also.

Local materials are often more affordable than imported alternatives, as they do not incur the same transportation and import costs.  This can result in significantly lower construction and development costs for the project owners, particularly when it comes to strict budget projects or small-scale residential properties. Moreover, by supporting local businesses and suppliers in Crete, you can contribute to the stimulation and enforcement of the local economy.

High Aesthetic

The use of locally sourced materials in residential design and development can also have aesthetic benefits. Each element in the interior or exterior design can serve as a reminder of the area’s history and the diverse tapestry of the Cretan heritage, making any residential project a true reflection of architectural uniqueness.

Local materials often have unique characteristics that can add a sense of Cretan authenticity and character to any residential project. Integrating elements representing the Cretan background brings a deeply personal and meaningful dimension to the living space of any house.

Promoting Wellness & Belonging

Sustainability is an essential practice in our modern societies, as it focuses on following practices and habits of living to reduce and mitigate the environmental impact.

Finally, incorporating locally-sourced materials can also contribute to a sense of well-being and belonging and last but not least,  reinforce the connectedness to the local community.

This can help to foster a sense of pride in your local community and encourage a greater appreciation for the local flora and fauna and the resources of the local ecosystem.

Total Architecture & Biophilic Design.

We have developed our sustainable residential construction approach, from over 25 years of experience, starting from a focus on Biophilic Design and Total Architecture to the more holistic approach we take today. Passive House design principles and considerations are now an integral part of our decision-making.

Passive House Design in Crete - ARENCOS Architects & Engineers
Stavros Thomas - ARENCOS Research

Author: Stavros Thomas

Developer strength and income resilience will be the focus as the recession hits the demand.

Traditional Building Materials and Design

Traditional building design strategies in the Mediterranean demonstrate a range of passive solar design strategies and techniques to bring environmental comfort to occupants.

In a traditional Cyprus house, for example, the solarium and courtyard function as climate modifiers (Serghides, 2010). The solarium is an internal space, adjoining the courtyard. Its south elevation opens to facilitate the seasonal indoor-outdoor flows of daily activities (e.g., cooking, washing, eating and so on). The south-facing overhang of the solarium is designed to allow winter sunlight to penetrate deep into the space.

The south-facing courtyard acts as a sun space. Both the solarium and courtyard are made of high thermal mass materials, such as stone paving, adobe walls, stone staircase and pools, to create a more pleasant microclimate along the long front facade of the house. The front wall of the courtyard also acts as buffer to cold winds. During summer, planting and soft-scape in the courtyard provide shade and a cool microclimate in front of the house.

The pool and fountain in the courtyard provide evaporative cooling. The designs of arches, overhangs and openings on the wall facing the courtyard help channel summer breezes into the house. Openings are small on the east- and west- facing walls to avoid hot summer sun.

Thermal mass materials in the courtyard and solarium absorb the heat during the day and release back to the ambient air at night effectively due to the large diurnal fluctuations of temperature in the hot arid Mediterranean region.

According to UpData, the following are the most important parameters to consider when designing and building houses with local materials:
  1. Adaptability: Flexibility in Design
  2. Customization to Site Conditions
  3. Integration with Modern Construction Techniques
  4. Versatility in Design
    Sustainable Construction Solutions
  5. Innovation and Creativity
    Environmental Benefits
  6. Conservation of Natural Resources
  7. Waste Reduction and Recycling
  8. Reduced Carbon Footprint
  9. Energy Efficiency
  10. Enhanced Indoor Air Quality
  11. Resilience to Climate Change
  12. Promotion of Sustainable Practices
The comprehensive benefits of using local materials in construction: The most important factors to consider towards sustainable construction:
  1. Local Materials: A Sustainable Choice
  2. Resource Availability and Abundance
  3. Low Environmental Impact
  4. Affordability and Cost-Effectiveness
  5. Preservation of the Local Economy
  6. Cultural Preservation and Aesthetics
  7. Reduced Waste Generation
  8. Ecological Balance and Biodiversity
  9. Thermal Insulation
  10. Moisture Regulation
  11. Passive Design Strategies
  12. Thermal Mass
  13. Sustainable Cooling Strategies
  14. Resilience to Extreme Weather
  15. Connection to Nature and Biophilic Design
Building Cost 330.000 300.000
Heating Cost 7.000 18.000
Total Construction Cost 337.000 318.000
Annual Energy Bill 450 1.880

Our analysis shows that eco-houses only cost about 6-8% more than traditional residential properties.

Similarly, according to our experience in Passive House Projects in Crete, a passive house typically costs 5-10% more than a typical residential house in Crete, Greece.

Is it Worthwhile?

In contrast with a “normal residential property“, the cost burden usually is considerably less for the construction of a certified eco-house, even if energy costs remain high in the future. Therefore eco-houses tend to be economically attractive and technically feasible – even though the cost benefits are not as enormously high as sometimes promised.

Looking to build a new home in Crete but not sure where to start?
Understanding the Process
  1. Building a House in Crete: The Initial Steps
  2. Dealing with Construction Permits
  3. Choosing and Working with Builders
  4. Understanding the Design-Build Process
  5. Factors Affecting Construction Cost
  6. How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in Chania,

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