Site Selection

The project site in Apokoronas, Chania was chosen with pragmatic, yet reliable sustainability and environmental considerations in mind. Key factors in this decision included:

Minimal Environmental Impact: The selected site requires minimal alteration to the natural landscape, preserving existing flora and fauna. This approach reduces soil erosion and protects local biodiversity. The plot contains an olive grove with 120 mature, yet highly productive trees.

Natural Drainage: The site benefits from good natural drainage, minimizing the need for artificial drainage systems. This reduces the risk of flooding and promotes the sustainable management of stormwater. By storing the water from the roof area on-site and then passing the recycled water via appliances to the building infrastructure rather than the storm drains, the system can lower peak flow rates and also help satisfy the owner’s demand for a “green” and “sustainable” house.

Proximity to Essential Services: The location is close to essential services such as pharmacies, shops, and public transportation. This proximity helps reduce transportation emissions by enabling residents to walk, cycle, or use public transit instead of relying on private vehicles.


The orientation of the building is designed to optimize energy efficiency and enhance the living experience by:

1. Maximizing Natural Light: The building is oriented to take full advantage of natural light and the Mediterranean sun throughout the day, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Large windows and open spaces allow daylight to penetrate deep into the interior spaces.

2. South-Facing Windows: Strategically positioned south-facing windows capture more sunlight, providing passive solar heating during the cooler months. This natural heating reduces the need for conventional heating systems, lowering energy consumption and costs.

3. Seasonal Solar Control: Overhangs, shading devices, and carefully placed vegetation help control solar gain, preventing overheating during the summer while allowing maximum sunlight during the winter.

Table 1: Comparison of Traditional vs. Sustainable Materials for the Apokoronas Project
Material Traditional Option Sustainable Option Cost per Unit (Traditional) Cost per Unit (Sustainable) Benefits
Framing Conventional Steel Recycled Steel €100/m² €120/m² Reduces waste, lower carbon footprint
Flooring Hardwood Local Stone/Bamboo €50/m² €70/m² Renewable, supports local economy
Insulation Fiberglass Recycled Denim €15/m² €20/m² Reuses materials, non-toxic

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.

Table 2: Cost and Savings of Solar Panel Installation

ComponentCost (Initial)Annual SavingsPayback PeriodSavings Over 10 Years
Solar Panels€10,000€1,2008.3 years€12,000
Battery Storage€5,000€40012.5 years€4,000
Total€15,000€1,6009.4 years€16,000

Table 3: Cost and Benefits of High-Efficiency Windows

FeatureTraditional WindowsHigh-Efficiency WindowsCost (Traditional)Cost (High-Efficiency)Annual Savings
Windows (per m²)Single-GlazedTriple-Glazed€100€150€300
Total Cost (100 m²)€10,000€15,000 


Table 4: Cost and Savings of Water Conservation Features

FeatureCost (Initial)Annual SavingsPayback PeriodSavings Over 10 Years
Rainwater Harvesting€2,500€20012.5 years€2,000
Low-Flow Fixtures€1,000€1506.7 years€1,500
Total€3,500€35010 years€3,500
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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