AlmaVerde wins 2006 Royal Award for Sustainability
A 2006 Royal Accommodation Award for Sustainable Tourism in Europe has been won by AlmaVerde Village & Spa in the Western Algarve of Portugal.
The award, in the category Holiday House, cites excellent performance with regard to sustainable tourism development and the use of a highly innovative low-energy cooling system.
This year’s 5 awards were presented at the 2nd International Tourism Forum held in Rhodes, Greece on 10th and 11th November and attended by 420 delegates.
The Royal Awards for Sustainability were initiated by the European Environment Agency (EEA) to promote sustainable development by rewarding excellent performance and best practice, under the patronage of HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and HRH Crown Prince Felipe of Spain.
The 60 nominees for the 2006 awards, from 15 countries, were all existing certificate and award holders for environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism projects in Europe. From these nominees, a prominent jury of experts selected 22 finalists, and eventually the 5 winners.
“All nominees…demonstrate an excellent picture of innovation regarding sustainable development in the major sectors of the tourism industry”, said Stefanos Fotiou, Tourism Programme Officer of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), and member of the jury. See: http://www.royalawards.org
Jes Mainwaring, AADip, RIBA, AlmaVerde’s principal architect, commented: “Buildings are responsible for 50% of CO2 emissions. By applying simple, well-established principles, our project demonstrates that major improvements in energy efficiency and thermal comfort can be achieved at modest incremental cost. However, the real question is not what it costs to do these things, but what is the cost of not doing them, and the only people who can answer that are our future generations”.
Situated on the Atlantic seaboard, where external temperatures often vary by 200C or more from day to night, AlmaVerde has developed a unique construction specification, employing high levels of insulation and thermal mass, to completely stabilise internal temperatures.
AlmaVerde’s Coolhouse system provides comfort cooling, bringing air into the house via underground tubes, where the air loses heat to the subsoil. Independent monitoring over the hottest months, with external temperatures regularly reaching 380C, has shown that the internal temperature remains constant within a range of 26 to 280C, depending upon usage patterns. The final monitoring report concludes that using the integrated AlmaVerde approach in place of conventional construction and air-conditioning can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 95%.
John Tranmer, Managing Director of AlmaVerde said: “We are passionate about what we do. We want to build beautiful villas that are comfortable to live in and inexpensive to run. We find beauty in natural materials but also in simple solutions to technical problems. This award shows that we lead the way in making resort development sustainable as well as commercially successful. With new initiatives, we hope to continue in our leadership role.”
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