Comenius:Solutions - Economical aspects/Spain

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Solutions to the effects of global warming on water management from a economical point of view.
Comments and observations should be added on the discussion page, clicking here.

Economical aspects/Spain  Es.gif : The present page shall contain the Economical solutions agreed upon between the three groups from Spain. Deadline: 2010 Feb 26
Economical aspects/Spain/Group 1
Economical aspects/Spain/Group 2
Economical aspects/Spain/Group 3


Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies. The intent is that, by rapidly training individuals in a core set of design principles, those individuals can design their own environments and build increasingly self-sufficient human settlements — ones that reduce society's reliance on industrial systems of production and distribution that Mollison identified as fundamentally and systematically destroying Earth's ecosystems. While originating as an agro-ecological design theory, permaculture has developed a large international following. This "permaculture community" continues to expand on the original ideas, integrating a range of ideas of alternative culture, through a network of publications, permaculture gardens, intentional communities, training programs, and internet forums. In this way, permaculture has become a form of architecture of nature and ecology as well as an informal institution of alternative social ideals.


Modern Permaculture

Modern permaculture is a system design tool. It is a way of: 1.Looking at a whole system or problem. 2.Observing how the parts relate. 3.Planning to mend sick systems by applying ideas learned from long-term sustainable working systems. 4.Seeing connections between key parts. In permaculture, practitioners learn from the working systems of nature to plan to fix the damaged landscapes of human agricultural and city systems.

Green Buildings

Green Building, also known as green construction or sustainable building, is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective is that green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by: 1.Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources. 2.Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity. 3.Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation. Characteristics: 1.Usage of recycled materials. 2.Usage of near materials to minimize transport costs and emission of CO2. 3.Usage of photovoltaic badges. 4.etc.

Examples of recycled materials or environment friendly materials

Green Concrete

Every metric ton of concrete which is produced binds half a metric ton of carbon dioxide - namely chemically solidly and permanently. If we produced from now on all concrete in such a way, we could bunker every year more than milliard metric tons of carbon dioxid. However, in addition, we can also produce those fillers which are used for concrete and asphalt production. There it is about five or 10-spot larger amounts of the climate gas. The procedure allows to store 10-spot more carbon dioxide every year than the reduction purposes of the Kyoto protocol. How is it produced? The magnesium and calcium disolved in water, form carbon dioxid carbonate,a chemical reaction. The result of this reaction is a mineral mud, wich is used as concrete.

Dimension Stone

Dimension stone is 100% reusable and can be salvaged for new construction, used as paving or crushed for use as aggregates. There are also "green" methods of stone cleaning either in development or already in use, such as removing the black gypsum crusts that form on marble and limestone by applying sulfate-reducing bacteria to the crust to gasify it, breaking up the crust for easy removal.


Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world, and, as of 2007, more than 78% of steel was recycled in the United States. In the United States it is the most widely recycled material; in 2000, more than 60 million metric tons were recycled. Because steel beams are manufactured to standardized dimensions, there is often very little waste produced during construction, and any waste that is produced may be recycled. For a typical 2,000-square-foot (200 m2) two-story house, a steel frame is equivalent to about six recycled cars, while a comparable wooden frame house may require as many as 40–50 trees.


Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and prosperous farming communities. These goals have been defined by a variety of disciplines and may be looked at from the vantage point of the farmer or the consumer. Sustainable agriculture refers to agricultural production that can be maintained without harming the environment. The term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term: 1.Satisfy human food and fiber needs. 2.Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends. 3.Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls. 4.Sustain the economic viability of farm operations. 5.Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.


CFL bulbs

The EU will implement its widespread use in 2011

One of the major problems of the climate change, which affects us all over the world, is the increase of CO2. The Compact Fluorescent light (CFL) bulb is one of the solutions to this problem. It has many advantages, and only one disadvantage, they are expensive. These bulbs are "cold". In contrast, half the energy consumed bye an incandescent bulb becomes hot, and dos not give light. It's becoming more common to see them in flashlights, cars and traffic lights.

In the economic scope, with these bulbs you can also save money even though they are more expensive. The CFLbulbs last up to 10 times more (about 12000 hours compared to the 1000 hours of the regular bulbs) and only cost seven times more, but in the long run the consumer saves money. 15% of the monthly household electricity bill is for lighting (talking into account using regular bulbs).

An CFL bulb of 18 watts used in place of a 75 watt regular bulb saves 570 kWh, which saves 62€ in this period of time and reduces in half a ton the amount of CO2 into the atomosphere. If 20% of the Spanish population changes five incandescent light (regular) bulbs for CFL bulbs, it could cut 480 million euros in electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by 3 million tons.

The EU allocated 6 million CFL bulbs that will be distributed free to citizens by 2011 and will implement its widespread use in 2011.

Management of agricultural and forest resources

Reforestation is a way to offset the greenhouse effects. Replanted forests provide a home for some species of animals, plants and microorganisms.


Why do we have to replant?

Because of the following consequences of deforestation:

  • Soil erosion and destabilization of the water table, causing floods or droughts.
  • Climate changes.
  • Reduction of biodiversity for plants and animals.
  • Global warming of the earth: for deforested forests can not remove excess dioxide carbon from atmosphere.

Some nations tropical nature reserves have been built to save acres of rainforest.

Replace wood as a material used for building for environmental alternatives. The only substitutes are steel, cement, plastic and brick. All this requires a greater amount of energy to produce.

Real Solutions

In Haiti, each year the seventy million nursery plants are distributed to forty-five thousand farmers. The survival rate of these plants is over 50%, and after a few years the trees, which grow rapidly, can be sold as firewood or as construction material.

The Ecuatorian government authorized the banking to grant loans to the farmers who plant trees. After two years, if the trees have been taken care well and are growing, the government returns the money to the banks. Contrary, if the farmer does not take care well for the plants and too many die, the farmer must return the money with the corresponding interests, and pay a fine.

In Peru, a sustainable forest clearing method has been introduced. Every year a fringe of trees are cut at a certain distance to the fringe cut the previous year. The fringes are narrow enough to be repopulated naturally (for the seeds proceed from the neighboring trees). In a few years the fringe will be repopulated.

In Costa Rica uncultivated zones are generally protected in ordes to maintain biological diversity, whereas in the natural reserves one consents the extraction. This happened because:

  • All forests were destroyed before starting to save them.
  • the population understood the importance of forest protection.
  • the politicians are concerned about the issue.
  • the international community provided important support giving money.

Good water management

Lack of infraestructures

The lack of infrastructures in Africa is one of the principal reasons for the lack of growth and development of the economies of the continent. This impedes the access to the drinkable water. The deficient management of waste water and the utilization of low quality underground water are more difficulties. All that provokes health problems and political conflicts in the population. A study says that to modernize the infrastructures of the continent we need approximately 63 billion Euros. The African population pay prices up to 10 times higher than the rest of the world for services such as energy. A solution would be to modernize the infrastructures, but this takes necessary political help.

Renewable energies

Renewable energies are the future. They don't get run out and with them we will diminish the CO2 in the air.

Represent 20% of global electricity consumption, with 90% from hydro. The rest is very marginal: 5.5% biomass, geothermal 1.5%, wind 0.5%, solar 0.05%.

About 80% of energy needs in western industrial societies are centered around the heating, air conditioning in buildings and transport (cars, trains, aircraft). However, most large-scale application of renewable energy is concentrated in the production of electricity.

All these threats led to the signing of the Kyoto Agreement (1998), in which Europe is committed to reducing, by the between 2008 and 2012 by 8% its emissions of carbon dioxide in the level of CO2 1990.

Technology as a source of information has envolved with regards to renewable energies. European competence is among the best in the world due to intense investigative work together with industry.

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Renewable energy in Germany. Federal government's plans are that in 2010 represent a 13% and reach 20% by 2020. The share of electricity from renewable energy in Germany has increased from 6.3 percent in 2000 to about 15 percent in 2008. More than 9 billion euros (US$11.31 billion) was invested in new renewable energy installations in Germany in 2006. Some 214,000 people in Germany were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2006, especially in small and medium sized companies. Over half of these jobs are attributed to the Reneweable Energy Sources Act.

The law requires companies to buy electricity generated primarily from renewable sources. Those who produce energy at home, are guaranteed by the state that they can sell their "product" at fixed prices for 20 years. This has created a boom in clean energy production. In 2001 the law was passed providing that all nuclear power plants are closed after a period of 32 years. The idea is that by 2020 no nuclear energy is used anywhere in the country.


In Spain aims to generate 30% of its electricity from renewable sources energy for 2010.

In Spain, renewables accounted for 19.8% of electricity production. Electricity generation using renewable energy in 2007 exceeded that of nuclear origin.

Renewable energy in Spain (GWh, data of 2008)



Renewable energies are classified according to the natural source from which they come:

  • Solar energy: One of the most used renewable energies and it's based on the utilization of solar radiation, which is then converted into electricity or heat.
  • Wind Energy: It's also a widely used renewable energy. It is produced through the kinetic energy of transforming wind into electricity, using wind turbines that are grouped into wind farms.
  • Hydraulic Energy: Obtained from the use of the kinetic and potential flow of rivers, waterfalls and tides.
  • Biomass Energy: from the use of organic matter formed in some biological process, generally, substances which are living organisms or their remains and debris.
  • Geothermal energy - is energy from heat inside the earth, employed for thermal use.


Their main features are:

They are clean, and don't generate waste. They don't produce CO2 or other polluting gases into the atmosphere. They are unlimited. They don't depend on other sources, they're autonomous. They create five times more jobs locally than conventional energies. They are alternatives to conventional energies


Some disadvantages of renewable energy.

  • Renewable energy can produce negative impacts, although those are not comparable to conventional energy:
  • They produce high visual impact.
  • They are variable and unpredictable in their entirety.
  • It is difficult to ensure their total supply.
  • Some of them are not sufficiently developed technologically.
  • There are difficulties in storage so it does not rieach its full potential.

The support and strong investment in research and development being done with this type of energy is by removing or minimizing these disadvantages, therefore, presents a alternative as compared to conventional energy throughout the construction process.



It conducted a pilot project of introducing electric vehicles in collaboration with the Autonomous Communities and Local Government, aiming to demonstrate its technical feasibility and economic energy. This project, agreed with the automobile sector, will target to have a million electric and hybrid vehicles in 2014, giving precedence to the extent possible within production.

The General State Administration, within the procurement procedures, establish a criterion of preference over passenger vehicles energy efficiency class A.

In public vehicle fleets in 2009, will be introduced as mandatory minimum of 20% biofuels target moving at 38% in 2012.

With regard to biofuels, will take place the necessary regulatory developments to ensure compliance with the target of 5.83% of automotive fuel consumption in 2010.

El Plan VIVE (Innovative Vehicle - Ecological Vehicle) is another measure that will run until 2010 and will renovate about 240,000 vehicles with more than 15 years, which will bring considerable savings on oil consumption, and a improving road safety and reducing CO2 emissions.

Following the model used in household appliances, will require car manufacturers to inform consumers about the emissions and energy consumption of the vehicle to acquire, through a comparative energy label.

He agreed with the Autonomous Communities and local corporations for the extension of opening hours of the subway for the weekend.

Also be promoted in urban transport by bicycle, by agreement with local authorities, supporting the establishment of systems for public use bicycles and bicycle lanes in urban areas.

For cities with more than five hundred thousand, will be launched at the 2012 horizon lanes for public transport of passengers, called HOV.

This car is a prototype of Renault, It is a totally electronic car and it will go out in the next years.

Economical point of view


A basic principle is thus to "add value" to existing crops. A permaculture design therefore seeks to provide a wide range of solutions by including its main ethics as an integral part of the final value-added design. Crucially, it seeks to address problems that include the economic question of how to either make money from growing crops or exchange crops for labor such as in the LETS scheme. Each final design therefore should include economic considerations as well as give equal weight to maintaining ecological balance, making sure that the needs of people working on the project are met and that no one is exploited. Community economics requires a balance between the three aspects that comprise a community: justice, environment and economics, also called the triple bottom line, or "ecological-economics-ethics" (EEE) or "triple E". A cooperative farmer's market could be an example of this structure. The farmers are the workers and owners. Additionally, all economics are limited by their ecology. No economic system stands apart independently from its eco-system; therefore, all external costs must be considered when discussing economics.

Green Buildings

The most criticized issue about constructing environmentally friendly buildings is the price. Photo-voltaics, new appliances, and modern technologies tend to cost more money. Most green buildings cost a premium of <2%, but yield 10 times as much over the entire life of the building. The stigma is between the knowledge of up-front cost vs. life-cycle cost. The savings in money come from more efficient use of utilities which result in decreased energy bills. Also, higher worker or student productivity can be factored into savings and cost deductions. Studies have shown over a 20 year life period, some green buildings have yielded $53 to $71 per square foot back on investment. It is projected that different sectors could save $130 Billion on energy bills.

Sustainable Agriculture

Socioeconomic aspects of sustainability are also partly understood. Regarding less concentrated farming, the best known analysis is Netting's study on smallholder systems through history. The Oxford Sustainable Group defines sustainability in this context in a much broader form, considering effect on all stakeholders in a 360 degree approach. Given the finite supply of natural resources at any specific cost and location, agriculture that is inefficient or damaging to needed resources may eventually exhaust the available resources or the ability to afford and acquire them. It may also generate negative externality, such as pollution as well as financial and production costs. The way that crops are sold must be accounted for in the sustainability equation. Food sold locally requires little additional energy, aside from that necessary for cultivation, harvest, and transportation (including consumers). Food sold at a remote location, whether at a farmers' market or the supermarket, incurs a different set of energy cost for materials, labour, and transport.

Geographical aspects

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Economical aspects

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Social aspects

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Political aspects

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