A small family of eco-lodges in Spain could well be one of the most attractive sustainable developments you’ll ever come across.
The Tarifa eco-lodges were designed and built by specialist sustainable building company Blue Forest, based in Tunbridge Wells, Sussex and are breathtaking in their beauty.
You can just imagine yourself relaxing on the veranda of one of these lodges drinking in the magnificent countryside and stunning vista.
Situated in the Andalucian Hills, they enjoy breathtaking views across the Straight of Gibraltor to Africa.
Built from tough European Oak (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) they are highly insulated to withstand the harsh environment. Although the Costa De La Luz has high temperatures in summer, it can drop to freezing in winter.
An additional factor in the choice of European Oak was that it is more resistant to pests than soft wood timber.
The lodges are totally off-grid and are run entirely on solar power although there is a back up generator for emergency use.
They are fitted with water heating but have no mains water supply. Instead they rely on a water catchment and purification system and are fitted with composting toilets.
The buildings are freestanding with support posts secured by concrete. This was poured into hand-dug holes to prevent damaging the roots of any nearby trees, which was an important environmental consideration.
The owner specifically chose the exact location of the development to minimise any disturbance to the environment and not even a single tree was felled to make way for the holiday homes.
Since they are built into the hillside, the rear of the buildings is at ground level while the front is six metres off the ground.
They are constructed totally from wood which was used for the walls, the floor and even the roof, which is covered in cedar shingles.
Since the location is so remote, mains power and water would have proved extremely difficult and expensive to install and there would have been an environmental impact on the beautiful location.
In fact, the final choice of location meant that timber for the buildings had to be hand carried down existing pathways on the hillside.
Apart from laying a hard core path which blends in with the scenery, the owners haven’t undertaken any other landscaping – preferring instead to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Since wood is a natural insulator, it keeps the lodges comfortably cool in summer but warm in winter and the interior fittings were chosen for their low environmental impact and rustic feel. The end result is an open and uncluttered look.
Each lodge has two en-suite double bedrooms and an open plan living room with kitchen. All three lodges have their own veranda and the largest lodge also has an outdoor kitchen and eating area together with a hot tub and outdoor plunge pool.
Blue Forest director, Simon Payne, said: “The position of the buildings and the sustainable nature of the design were part of our brief but although the nature of the terrain was a factor in the final design, it was not the main reason for including things like the renewable energy features.
“The owner specifically wanted to minimise environmental impact by using renewable power and rainwater rather than mains supplies.”