Can I convert my Costa Blanca Property to a Zero Energy Home?
With winter coming and visions of high energy bills floating around in my mind I thought I’d take a look at Passive and Zero Energy Houses. Unfortunately there isn’t much to choose from on the Costa Blanca at the moment, so just for fun I decided to take a look at my own home to see if I could make it more energy efficient or maybe even convert it into a Zero Energy Home and get an idea of what it would cost.
Whilst surfing the net trying to gather information about Passive and Zero Energy Homes I came across the Proud Green Home and after watching John Livermore’s short introductory video which you can see here I decided to find out if I could put his suggestions into action in this part of the world and what it would cost.
Since 2003 I’ve been living in a property built by a company called Marsadi up here in Castalla Internacional in Alicante. The house was built during the boom and so the quality of materials and standard of build back in those days was crap! Which means that to get the property up to even acceptable levels by today’s standards there’s a fair bit of work to be done, let alone to turn it into something anywhere near a Passive or Zero Energy Home.
Before we get into this I just want to make it clear that when it comes to the materials I have gone for good quality with standard colours and finishes, so obviously when we start choosing those special little extras these prices are going to increase!
Convert Costa Blanca Property to Zero Energy Home: Insulation Walls and Roof:
At a rough guess I have 180m² of façade and after a quick look around I see that this year 2020 I will pay in between 60€-80€ per m² for a company to come to my home and insulate it. So if I take 180m² and multiply that by 80€ I come up with 14,400€.
Following a little more research I came across a company who undertake this kind of work in the Valencian Community. If you want more information about how the system works or maybe a quote then click here.
So that’s the façade taken care of, now I am still left with the roof and here’s when things start getting complicated. Unlike in other parts of Europe a lot of the roofs in this part of the country are made of a concrete base covered by roofing tiles. Now as far as insulating an existing roof is concerned this form of construction presents a problem and problems in construction are usually expensive. As I used to be in the roofing trade I know that there are few options when it comes to this kind of insulation and to cut a long story short there is only one, long lasting and effective solution.
That is to lift the roof tiles and fit the insulation on the concrete before putting the tiles back down. As the tiles are now almost 20 years old and bedded in mortar the chances of getting them up without breaking quite a few of them are slim. So the best way to work out an approximate cost is to include a re-roofing job in the estimate.
Using habitissimo an online portal for tradesmen etc., I can see a price of 19.300€ for 150m² saddle roof with tiles, which is more or less what I have when I add all 3 roof areas together, so I’ll go with that.
Now I need to add the price of 150m² of insulation board which comes in at around 7€ per m² plus another 7 or 8 to fit it which amounts 15€m² so a total of 2.250€ for the 150m².
This gives me an estimated cost of 22.693€ to sort the roof out.
We have just recently renewed all of our appliances and they all have an A++ Rating. So that’s a few thousand euros saved, but for the sake of argument we’ll assume that we need to replace everything. So we’ll need an Oven and Hob, a Fridge Freezer, a Dishwasher and a Washing Machine. If we take middle of the range products with a good energy rating they will cost approximately 3.000€
The recommendation here is to change all of the light bulbs to LED and to do that where possible we’d spend under 100€
High Performance Windows:
Our doors aren’t exactly draught proof so I’ve decided to include them in this quote. In total we need a Front and Back Door, A Double Patio Door, 3 small bathroom windows, 3 double windows in the living room and 4 in the bedrooms plus 1 in the kitchen.
Taking prices from a well-known company 8 double windows in the best quality they have come to 4,462.24€ and the 3 bathroom windows come to 802.62€ and the double patio door comes in at 1,966.44€
Now all I need are the two new main doors, kitchen and entrance and as these are both exterior doors and we will need something decent, so we can reckon with a price of around 1.500€ per door.
These prices are solely for the materials so the cost of installation needs to be added. If we say it would take 2 men a week to fit the doors and windows and if the work was done officially by qualified tradesmen we can estimate that each man would cost around 1.500€ a week.
So adding everything up we come to around 7.230€ for the doors and windows, plus another 3.000€ for installation which gives a total of 10.230€
These prices are of course a result of my research, if you want to have a chat with a local company click here.
Now there’s not really much need to worry about Ventilation as a lot of the homes built back then suffered with drafts and the air came and went as it pleased. No sorry to get back on to a serious note the heat recovery system which is the most interesting when it comes to saving energy is something which need to be incorporated into the heating and cooling system of the property and this is topic I would like to cover in another article because once again due to the way the properties in this part of Spain have been constructed over the last decades it may not even be feasible to retro fit a suitable ventilation system into the house.
Free electricity generated by the sun comes at a price and once again I’ll take our home as an example. Even though we’re not a big family the house is quite large and is completely powered and heated by electricity so our consumption can be relatively high. To give you an example in January which was the peak month this year we used 1.500kw and on the other hand this August we used 277kw. So when considering which solar power system to go for its best to try and figure out some level of average usage and to do this I have simply taken the number of used kilowatts and divided that by 30 to give me the mean consumption over the month.
In January we used 50kw a day and in August just over 9kw. Now seeing as electricity in Spain is expensive and this is a long term plan I will go for the biggest system I can and hopefully cover most of my needs in this way.
Of course the object of the exercise is to pull as little power from the Grid as possible but still have a back-up in case the system doesn’t generate enough. With this in mind I would opt for a hybrid system because this kind of system allows me to store any unused electricity in batteries but still enables me to draw electricity off the grid if I need it.
Going by my research every Kilowatt on a Photovoltaic System will generate 4 kw of electricity so taking the peaks and troughs of our consumption into consideration I would tend to go for a 10kw Hybrid System such as the one offered by Simply Solar. At the moment this would cost 17.495€
Solar Hot Water:
The same company offers a range of solar water heaters starting at 1.495€ for 100 litres and going up to 2.695€ for 300 litres.
Summary: Can I convert my Costa Blanca Property to a Zero Energy Home?
Well let’s see, if I add up the costs for material and labour using the 100 litre water heater for the example I come to a figure of 69.418€. Considering it’s never a bad idea to give yourself a little leeway when making refurbishment plans I’d say it is a wise idea to add at least 15% to that figure which will give us a final total of 79.830€ plus a few cents.
The knowledge I’ve gained through this research brings me to the conclusion that it just isn’t financially viable to try and convert one of these old Costa Blanca Properties into a Zero Energy Home.
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