What is it and what do you need to have a self-sufficient house?


What is it and what do you need to have a self-sufficient house?

What is it and what do you need to have a self-sufficient house?

Self-consumption Climate change 再生能源 5

Ecological house, autonomous housing, Passivhaus... in short, a model of home based on sustainable architecture that tries to emit 0 waste. Read on to find out what you need to have a self-sufficient home.

What is a self-sufficient house?

It is a housing model that tries to offer a comfortable life for its tenants using as little energy as possible and that also has the capacity to be self-sufficient with the energy it is capable of producing.

For this it is very important to have different mechanisms for obtaining energy, such as the solar panels that you can get from Lumisa or a small wind turbine, the so-called mini-wind energy. They also take advantage of rainwater or are able to extract it from nearby wells to solve the water supply.

However, if we are looking for a home that is 100% environmentally friendly, we must be sure to build it with ecological and sustainable materials: sustainable architecture.

Sustainable architecture takes into account the climatic conditions of the area where an infrastructure is to be built, as well as the natural resources used.

Specifically, bioclimatic designs are all those constructions whose design takes into account the environmental and climatic reality of the area where it is going to be built.

How to build a bioclimatic and self-sufficient house?

A bioclimatic house ensures that the temperature inside is maintained within a comfortable range throughout the year thanks to different aspects that ensure that the tenants enjoy thermal comfort.

Thermal comfort, in addition to the construction of the house, depends on factors other than architecture, such as the metabolism of each person, clothing and even the state of mind.

It is not essential for a house to be both bioclimatic and self-sufficient, although the more sustainable it can be, the better for the environment.

To find out how to have a house that respects the environment from the moment the first stone is laid in its construction, we can follow the principles outlined by Brenda and Robert Vale in their book The Self-Sufficient House, written in 1996 but still very much relevant today.

Click here to download the book for free thanks to TyS Magazine and learn more about this concept.

1. Orientation

We must orientate the house in the best possible way, taking into account the characteristics of the terrain and the weather conditions. In this sense it is important to have the solar chart, which will allow us to know the path of the sun and take it into account to have more natural light all year round if we take it into account to locate the windows.

The self-sufficient house should also take into account the orientation for the location of the solar panels and for the location of the mini-wind installation.

Finally, this will avoid excessive use of air conditioning (air conditioning and heating) and artificial lighting by making better use of the resources offered by the environment in a natural way.

2. Insulation

Thermal insulation is that which will prevent us from consuming more energy than necessary because it will prevent the temperature inside the room from being dependent on variations from the outside.

According to the Vale, how to insulate the enclosures will depend on the use we are going to give to our house, for daily use or for something sporadic, such as the summer holidays that are coming to an end.

In addition to window enclosures, our self-sufficient and bioclimatic home should also have them on walls, roofs (differentiating between flat and sloping roofs), pipes and floors. To avoid excess condensation, in the event that the insulation we have decided to install is not sufficient, we could choose to add a vapour barrier to achieve the desired level.

3. Ventilation

We must take into account where the natural air currents come from in order to renew the air in our home, just as we do in standard homes, but in a much more efficient way. This type of draughts is called accidental ventilation, as we do not decide it, unlike controlled ventilation, which we decide when we open the windows.

It is important to bear in mind that ventilation is not a minor issue because it is essential to avoid dampness in the house, together with insulation and unwanted condensation. We can opt for a humidity measurement system that will automatically activate the controlled ventilation system, if any, when it detects an increase in condensation. In addition, we will avoid consuming more energy than necessary due to excessive ventilation.

4. Clean energy

This is where we, Lumisa, come in. The most advisable thing to do in this type of building is to take into account the need to obtain clean energy through the aforementioned solar panels and the mini-windmill.

Check the rates for the installation of photovoltaic panels with Lumisa and discover the benefits of solar energy.

Something interesting is that you can even use rainwater for your own personal use, as there is nothing more economical than that. To be able to do this we will have to channel the water collected by the roof of our self-sufficient house and transport it to a tank, something that will allow us to save a lot.

The Passivhaus

The Passive House Institute is an institution that oversees sustainability in construction and is responsible for offering the certificate of the same name when a house meets the standards to be considered sustainable.

In Spain there is the Passivhaus Building Platform (Plataforma de Edificación Passivhaus), a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting knowledge of this type of housing through conferences, exhibitions, training and competitions. The PEP Platform points out that the requirements for a house to be certified are:

  • Excellent thermal insulation.
  • High-performance windows and doors.
  • Absence of thermal bridges, i.e. enclosures through which outside air could enter and change the indoor temperature and cause dampness.
  • This refers to roller shutter boxes, window frames, etc.
  • Air tightness.
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.

Prefabricated autonomous houses

If you have liked the concept of an autonomous house but do not see how you could obtain one, you will be pleased to know that there are houses of this type that are already created and that you could buy.

In Spain we have companies that do just that. One of them is Construimos tu casa and describes their creations as "self-sufficient modular houses", as they are based on "a modular construction system in cellular concrete" with the aim of fulfilling all the aforementioned requirements for a house to be considered self-sufficient.

For 52 thousand euros you can have this prefabricated autonomous house of almost 70 m2. If you are interested, check the budget for an autonomous house at Ecodome.

Among the advantages of opting for a prefabricated house are the customisation and the lower acquisition cost, while among the disadvantages are that they require greater maintenance, as well as the fact that not all land is suitable for their location.


  • La Información
  • Ecología Verde
  • Twenergy
  • Certificados Energéticos
  • Lucera
  • Otovo
  • Passive House Institute
  • Plataforma Zero
  • Plataforma Edificación Passivhaus

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