Spain: Construction ongoing for first self-sufficient community in Navarra

An engineering startup based in northern Spain is developing the first house in the world to be entirely heated by its own waste products.

PlanetEnergy, founded by California-born Meghan Sapp, is looking into setting up an “energy island”, starting with one house in the Northern Spanish region of Navarra. The house will take the shape of a farmhouse to prove that it is both feasible and profitable to be completely self-sufficient, even on a small scale.

The farmhouse is currently being built in the locality of Oskotz, 25 km north of the regional capital. It is designed so that all household waste, including human residues, is converted into biogas to provide energy in order to heat the house, provide hot water and power the stove.

Sapp told El Mundo newspaper that one of the project’s main objectives is to prove that anaerobic digestion technologies can be applied in a scale as small as a household, opposed to the large-scale generalised use that is currently taking place in different municipalities across the country. She highlighted as well the great opportunities and added value of profiting from anaerobic digestion. In fact, PlanetEnergy has designed this project so that the naturally mineralised water and nutrient-rich fertiliser (digestate) that are by-products of the anaerobic digestion process, will be utilised in the 3 ha of the land that surrounds the farmhouse where produce is grown to be consumed by the household.

The entire project, including purchasing the land and removing the existing property that had lain abandoned for at least 50 years, came in at around €500,000, but Sapp claims that they are looking at a payback within four and a half years. Once it is finalised, by April 2016, its developers will focus on trying the replicate its energetic installation in other residential buildings or communities drawn by the project.

Source: El Mundo
Read more here (in Spanish).