The Downsides to Solar Power

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The negative side to solar power

By Andrea Zolna and Geoff McCabe You’ve probably heard all about the benefits of solar power, but it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention some of the down-sides. Overall, every project or home will be different and it’s up to you to decide what makes the most sense. Solar Power – The Reasons Why Not 1. Toxicity of the Production of Panels and Batteries The biggest downside to solar energy is the toxicity of production of the panels and especially the batteries. Most of the panels and batteries are made of or produce heavy metals like silicon, mercury, leadRead the Rest…

Solar Power in Costa Rica

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Solar Panel and Sun

Solar Power: Why? In 2014, most people know what solar power is. In fact, many eco-aware people dream of the day they only use solar and wind to power their homes and businesses. They love the idea. They romanticize it. But then reality strikes: “It takes too much time.” “Maybe in a few years when it’s more cost effective” “Most of Costa Rica’s power is sustainable anyways, so why bother?” “it’s just not practical” I’ve heard it all. It will never be the right time. It will always seem expensive. Not doing it will always be easier. But the timeRead the Rest…

Costa Rica Solar Power Suppliers

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Costa Rica Solar Power Installation

List of Solar Power Suppliers in Costa Rica ASI Power – Jim Ryan’s company specializing in sustainable energy and advanced telemetry systems Guanacaste/Liberia +506 2665-6161 E-mail: Costa Rica Solar Solutions – Off Grid, Grid Tied, and Hybrid Solar solutions as well as pool, well, irrigation and hot water solar systems Escazú Phone: +506 8910-848 E-mail: Facebook Energia Solar Costa Rica – Solar Energy Instalation Santa Ana +506 4030-1272 E-mail: Facebook Energy Saver – Solar Air Conditioning units (Turns solar energy into refrigerant), Hot Water Tanks, Solar Energy San José + 506 2282-4910 E-mail: Facebook Hola SolarRead the Rest…

“Palazzo Park” Eco Condominiums

Eco Palazzo Park

Beachfront project planned for Manuel Antonio I found this interesting bit of news and green building design today, from an article in 2010. Their website seems to no longer exist, so I expect that the project has been dropped. Many people have envisioned these types of green buildings, but few have actually been built. The additional cost deters serious investors, and perhaps the whole idea of a green “building” or condominium doesn’t work. Why? Because the type of person who is willing to pay the extra money for this type of construction just doesn’t want to live in a condo.Read the Rest…

Living Walls for Cooling and Beauty

Small leafed tropical climbing vine

The vine shown in this photo grows well in the tropics on just about any material, such as the raw concrete block wall shown here. Plants are excellent for absorbing the infrared light that we feel as heat. Of course you must have noticed how much cooler it is in the shade of a tree. Plants don’t just block light, but also they continually perspire, and this evaporation is an “endothermic” which means that it cools the water vapor down. Green Plants for Beauty Covering a few walls of your house, or perhaps some normally ugly retaining walls, will beautifyRead the Rest…

Trees and How to Use Them

Sustainable Construction with trees

Trees seem like they must be nature’s greatest gift when it comes to green building in the tropics, but when I compiled a list of the positives and negatives, there were actually more negatives, as shown below. However, in the bigger picture of trying to create a beautiful dream eco home, the positives still far outweigh the negatives. In general, beautiful jungle trees are for most people one of the principal attractions of the tropics, and many people fantasize about living in one, Tarzan style, when they first come to Costa Rica. But most will settle for living among them.Read the Rest…

Air Flow in Green Building

Airflow through a house

I have titled this website “Airflow and Shade” because I personally consider them to be the two most important factors for tropical green building. It seems obvious that you’d like to have a nice breeze flowing through your home, but so many people, including most architects, build houses that don’t allow for an appreciable amount of fresh air, so I thought it was important to revisit the obvious so that when you’re planning your home, you can build it right, and insist that your architect focus on this aspect. Great airflow isn’t about machines or purchasing any special equipment. It’sRead the Rest…

Green Building with Bamboo

Costa Rica Green Bamboo

In the world of tropical greenbuilding, bamboo is one of the most exciting and popular materials for many reasons, such as it’s strength, it’s beauty, and the fact that its a renewable resource. The types of bamboo that you may find growing on your property in Costa Rica is probably not going to be the strongest type. There are many varieties that grow here, depending on the area you live in. For example, in Montezuma and Santa Teresa, we typically see both a yellow and green variety. The yellow one is aggressive and invasive, rapidly spreading to take over aRead the Rest…