This 300 square meter ( 3 229 square feet) chalet at Poas Volcano is very close to being finished. We will be working on details like floors, built in furniture, finishes and so for the next months, but I wanted to give you a preview.
A good thing to know before you go for a house this big, is not to exceed the 300 square meter limit given by SETENA , which is the local entity that takes care of environmental subjects in Costa Rica. If you decide or need to go for a bigger project, you must take in count that this is a more complex permit process that will evaluate your project as an activity that won’t put on a risk, the ecosystems around it.
Mass thermal insultation is the main passive strategy used as a concept for this design. If a building’s walls are massive enough they can store heat, which has an averaging effect on the outdoor temperature variations. Heavy masonry walls without insulation, for example, wll maintain a temperature of around 70 degrees as the day time temperature fluctuates between 50 degrees and 90 degrees without any indoor space conditioning.
High mass masonry walls are effective only in warm climates where the temperatures varies widely between day and night. This is our case, since we are located on the mountains of the Central Valley.
Another passive strategy used here, was to protect the house from the wind, locating it downslope and 2.5 meters under the street level, so the cold wind doesn’t come into the house. Natural contour lines guided us on the process.