Life reusing posidonia

Studio: Institut Balear de l’Habitatge (IBAVI)
Authors: Carles Oliver Barceló, Antonio Martín Procopio, Xim Moyá Costa, Alfonso Reina Ferragut, Maria Antònia Garcías Roig
Location: Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Video: Institut Balear de l’Habitatge (IBAVI)

Collective Places
The Life Reusing Posidonia project has received a European grant from the LIFE + program for ‘Nature Conservation Projects’.
The main goal is to improve the comfort conditions in mediterranean dwellings and provide verified data to the public bodies involved in the drafting of future regulations related to the reduction of the environmental impact of the building sector. This is, decrease in the consumption of resources and grow in comfort.
The project demonstrates that the use of the systems and materials of traditional architecture, usually relegated to rehabilitation, allow to reduce up to 60% of CO2 emissions during the execution of the works in comparison with the construction of a conventional building, which reveals the importance of making visible the local craft industries of ecological production with raw materials of km 0, which are in danger of extinction.
The data have been obtained monitoring a Prototype building, consisting of 14 social housing units in Formentera, with the collaboration of University of the Balearic Islands (UIB).
All the project documentation is Open Source and is available in the web because we believe this is a collective research.

The project links Heritage, Architecture and Climate Change with the aim to recover the local resources in the contemporary research for sustainable solutions.
Traditional architecture has been a constant reference, not in terms of shape, but as a way of working. We use it as a microscope to get a closer look. By doing so, we can look for the local resources available on the island: Junipers, which were used to build frameworks, are currently protected, and the sandstone quarries have been depleted. So, we only have what arrives by sea: Posidonia and ships, plus construction pallets that remain on the island because high cost of returning them. Therefore, we propose a shift in approach:
“Instead of investing in a chemical plant located 1,500 km away, we can invest the same amount in local labour, who should lay out the Posidonia to dry under the sun and compact it in pallets, providing 15 cm of insulation for roofs. Moreover, sea salt actually acts as natural biocide product and is completely environmentally friendly.”
The building is nearly Zero-energy (nZEB). In summer, the cooling is provided passively by the breeze from sea. All the windows exposed to sunlight have solar protections.
The structure is made of load-bearing walls with non-reinforced lime foundations and laminated wood slabs. The organization of spaces and formal decisions are the result of knowledge of the advantages and limitations of natural materials, which are more fragile. This fragility becomes a design opportunity.