Houses built with Adobe, do not require air conditioning to maintain a cool and pleasant environment.

In the State of La Laguna, Mexico, a family lives comfortably inside a house. They do not have air conditioning, minisplit, or any other cooling system, perhaps on certain occasions they use a fan. This in a city where the temperature has exceeded 45 degrees Celsius. More than a fictional story, this is a reality, a house whose construction used ancestral materials such as adobe and a good architectural design.

Based on his experience, Humberto Torres Orduña, architect and specialist in bioclimatic construction, said that solutions such as the use of adobe and a good architectural design that allows good ventilation can make the difference between living in a house that resembles a “suffocating oven” and a home built with adobe that reduces the temperature by several degrees, without even needing to install air conditioners or mini-splits, just as he lives with his family in the house he designed and built himself, in a combination of ancestral and modern construction materials.

Specialists have highlighted the properties of this material, providing more comfortable and cooler temperatures. Torres Orduna expressed that the regulations on the use of construction materials must be changed:

“Unfortunately there are proposals that ironically are not even supported by durability. In Mexico or in regions such as the Middle East, there are buildings that are centuries old and most of them are made of adobe. Other current constructions can lose their load-bearing capacity, steel can be damaged; so durability is an approach based on ignorance or the interest of large construction companies.”

“Forget about the air conditioning industry, minisplits in La Laguna, with climate change and the supply of housing with bad designs, generate another type of consumption. And there who loses is the consumer.

He explained that, if a worker decides to endorse with Infonavit to have access to housing, but instead of paying from one hundred to two hundred Mexican pesos for electricity, by having a minisplit, there is a risk of paying at least double or triple:

“If you go over the minimum consumption, the worker will be tied up paying not only the credit in Infonavit that can go up to three thousand pesos, in addition to paying an equal bill of up to three thousand pesos, for an energy efficient house.”

He said that in La Laguna is impossible to have at least one air conditioner, which do not give energy efficiency, and you have to get to a minisplit, which gives comfort, but a much higher consumption.

As a result, people who do not have access to this technology, live in critical conditions, to such an extent that the lack of comfort impacts even in work performance, can cause a large social impact.

Although his intention was to build a house entirely using adobe, regulatory and market requirements inhibited his idea, having to use different materials to meet the basic standards suggested: stone, brick, wood, among others:

    “I have had to build brick vaults, which have differences in specifications and the same banking experts do not understand the concept, it is a battle to explain to them since they do not know the method, because this technique is unknown.”

The architect affirmed that the block and steel industry would be impacted with the use of more friendly and thermal materials for construction, so they do not accept that the economic flow will benefit family businesses, such as brick and brick makers.

He mentioned that in the past, 90% of the demand for construction materials were bricks, a material characteristic of the buildings of the old Torreon, where double brick was used, which does not have the benefits of adobe, but is much better than block. Brick kilns are family businesses that are in danger of extinction. The use of block is becoming more and more favored, which is encouraging other industries.

In one of the social areas located in the lower part, the architect took advantage of the stone foundations to create a space that transports you to what would be a cellar, illuminated only by skylights that give intention and illuminate this subway space and whose temperature is less than five degrees Celsius, so the impact on the increase in outside temperature is minimal.

Humberto was directly involved in the design and construction of his house, even in the elaboration of the adobe bricks he used in its construction. Loving and respectful of nature, one of the guiding principles he considered for this construction was the conservation of a walnut tree that is more than 25 meters tall, so instead of throwing it away or pruning it, the design considered leaving it in the center of the circle he formed, adapting the distribution of the spaces around the walnut tree not as just another element, but as the axis that dictated the construction, which also allows to have a garden where the temperature is also much more friendly.

Despite the fact that the entities boast record job generation figures, the reality is that, historically, the lowest salary levels in the country are also registered: according to annual figures for the month of May from INEGI and the Social Security shown by the Laguna Observatory, 72.6% of the Laguna residents in the formal sector earn at most 2 minimum wages, which is equivalent to up to 12,500 per month.

For this reason, it is difficult to imagine that a significant percentage of the population can afford to have a home with similar characteristics to those of architect Torres.

The architect suggests the conservation of vegetation in the environment, which allows the creation of microclimates that reduce the temperature and create more harmonious natural environments.

The whitewashing of the exterior of the houses serves to reflect the sun and the radiation does not impact the temperature of the construction directly.

No matter how uncomfortable the place is, it is feasible to immediately reduce the interior temperature by three or even four degrees by whitewashing the exterior with a mixture of lime, salt and resin. And even the roof slab can be whitewashed, which in addition to lowering the interior temperature of the home, serves as a waterproofing, if used in addition to lime, tile adhesive and resin.

“It should be remembered that the sun falls directly on the slab, causing the temperature to be high inside. For this reason, it is positive to apply lime, tile adhesive and resin, since this remedy can be used as a waterproofing.

He emphasized that if people want to do this application on their own, they should be very careful, using protective glasses to protect their eyesight, due to the reflection and solar radiation, because of the white of the lime mixture.

Published by Emirates Herald, news and information agency.

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