A Pioneer Circular Economy Residential Project

Circular economy in the construction industry is based on the idea that any material can be designed and then recovered by giving it a second life or even reused as a high-quality material to create new products.

This design paradigm, which is referred to as ‘cradle to cradle’, has taught us that the linear model (i.e. to extract, manufacture, use up and throw away) has become obsolete, and that it is high time we made a change. To that end, it is important to understand the values of such new notion:

• The use of clean and renewable energy
• Understanding and dealing with waste as if it were nutrients
• Designing products taking account of social, cultural and biological characteristics

Figures are overwhelming. A report commissioned by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) revealed that buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and for 36% of carbon dioxide emissions. It further showed that between 10% and 15% of construction materials are wasted during construction and 54% of demolition materials are sent to landfill.

Property development following a circular economy system is not a commonplace in Spain – hence why Sphere Sotogrande is a pioneer residential scheme.

In order to better understand how circular economy works, we need to turn to Ellen Macarthur’s butterfly diagram, which perfectly illustrates this paradigm shift.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation Butterfly Diagram

The Ellen Macarthur Foundation was created in 2010 to help corporations and institutions accelerate their transition to a circular economy model. In order to explain the importance of such a change, they developed a metaphor that is explained in the following butterfly-shaped diagram:

If we take a close look at this animal’s silhouette, we can see two distinct parts:

• The diagram’s spine represents the linear economic model that has been used up to now. This is based on the creation of products that will later be used and, finally, discarded.
• The rest of it illustrates the continuous flow of technical and biological materials through ‘value circles’ as a way to optimise resources and thus generate a lesser impact on the environment.

In short, this diagram seeks to explain in a practical way the importance of a circular economy model that allows us to move towards sustainability within various areas, such as construction.

Sphere Sotogrande Follows A Circular Economy Model

Because we are well aware of the reality we live in, we at ONYS have spent some years studying and researching how to develop a sustainable and efficient project, which places clients’ needs at the core, by designing spaces that positively impact on our clients’ health and well-being. This is how Sphere Sotogrande came to be.

A project that sets very ambitious objectives in terms of well-being and sustainability, which is based on four core pillars:

• Fostering the utmost well-being of residents
• Prioritising efficiency and sustainability, based on a circular economy model
• Implementing technological improvements
• Ensuring the comfort of residents through services and amenities that make day-to-day life easier for them

How do we succeed in implementing such circular economy model in our homes?

A Preliminary Study Of The Conditions

Before finalising the design or undertaking construction, it is important to consider aspects such as the prevailing winds, sunlight or local climate (temperature, humidity, etc.) in order to minimise energy consumption. Such issues will affect both the passive and active measures to be implemented.

Definition Of Passive Measures

Passive measures are directly related to the efficient design of the building and always take account of its location. The aim is to ensure high levels of comfort and minimum impact on health by actively leveraging all resources available in the area.
Such measures include the orientation of the property, the absence of thermal bridges, insulation, waste management or even the selection of materials in accordance therewith.

Active Measures

Finally, we must also consider those measures that do require the input of energy to achieve maximum comfort. However, the better the passive measures are developed, the less energy resources will need to be used.

Active measures include, among others, solar panels, aerothermal and geothermal systems, double flow ventilation, home automation systems or renewable energy generation.

Sphere Sotogrande has been designed with the purpose of offering the highest level of well-being, comfort and eco-efficiency to its residents. In short, it is a unique project that is at the forefront of efficiency and sustainability.