Water and Healthy Houses

Water and Healthy Houses in a Hot Climate – A Workshop at Dzamling Gar

Photo by Susan Schwarz

Photo by Susan Schwarz

The weekend of February 1-2 we had another fantastic permaculture workshop led by Saviana Parodi, (who is giving 5 or 6 this year, up to March) and two other people: Ismael Caballero, a Spanish engineer, expert in ecology and totally in love with water, and Salva Gilabert, an experienced architect currently in charge of the Dzamling Gar Project, project director at the EMBT Studio and Foundation with some eco houses in his curriculum.

We planned to talk about themes that are now happening at Dzamling Gar: the swimming pool and houses, with the aim of finding the most sustainable and eco-friendly solutions before their definitive construction.

A beautiful natural swimming pool nearly achieved

The day we arrived we had a very productive meeting about the Dzamling Gar swimming pool during which our experts (Saviana, Ismael, Salva and myself) tried to find ways to have a swimming pool with naturally purified water.

Local experts explained that regulations in the Canaries do not permit such a natural purification system in a swimming pool used by more than one family (even though we are one family … but a very numerous one in the eyes of the Canarian authorities!).

After very passionate discussions we were able to find a good compromise with a purification system based on salt but combined with a beautiful water vegetation basin that will further oxygenate the water of our swimming pool. And probably in the future we will be able to convince the Canary authorities to make it function by entirely natural means.

It seems clear now that at Dzamling Gar we will soon see a beautiful swimming pool with a basin of water plants naturally oxygenating the water where we will swim, a useful and decorative solution at the same time and hopefully ready in April/May.

Healthier houses

The next day we had some wonderfully inspiring lessons on permaculture and water. Both Saviana and Ismael explained, through their experiences, how important it is to live in a structure that is able to breathe, as we do.

Salva focused on the principles of a healthy house, giving his presentation in one of the Dzamling Gar houses so that we could all immediately apply his words in the house we were in. We understood the beauty and the defects of the houses as they exist now at Dzamling Gar and we all started to give possible suggestions on how to transform them into healthier and more comfortable places.

photo by Susan Schwarz

photo by Susan Schwarz

This seminar will have a very important impact on the project, so that we will be able to transform what already exists at Dzamling Gar into a healthier environment without destroying it, but transforming and making the houses breathe in a better way.

We will have rain water tanks in every house for irrigation or other needs and greywater from showers and kitchens will be recycled for gardening.

Saviana will soon create a sample of how to cover the house with a rendering made from local white volcanic stone and lime. If this proves to be possible on top of the existing exterior house walls we will provide a protective climatic coat that will have a natural colour and will make it possible to avoid external painting.

Saviana will also provide a sample for interior rendering made of clay, all of these materials found on site. In this experiment we will also include the underground space, next to the tent, trying to transform it into a comfortable environment. Ventilation will be provided by openings in the roof and natural pergolas will be built to create a better internal climate.

All of this theory was immediately transformed into a project and soon into practice.

Every learning day was celebrated with a meal all together cooked in the experimental house in Saviana’s “Rocket kitchen”, a very important way to build a closer relationship with each other. It was more than delicious and if you want to know how it tastes we are waiting for you to come and participate in the next workshops!

Benedetta Tagliabue

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