Green resort wins gold

AlmaVerde Village & Spa, Europe’s leading ecologically designed resort development, received the only gold award in the ‘Most Environmentally Aware Development’ category at the inaugural Homes Overseas Awards 2004. The awards, sponsored by British Airways and The Daily Telegraph, were presented by England Rugby’s most capped prop forward, Jason Leonard, at London’s Dorchester Hotel.

The awards showcased the best overseas property developments from the five most popular destinations for Britons buying abroad: Portugal, Spain, France, Florida and Cyprus. Entries were judged by a panel of independent experts, who were impressed by the AlmaVerde team’s solution to local climatic conditions – a unique construction specification employing high levels of insulation and thermal mass to deliver year-round thermal comfort at low energy cost. Thermal mass acts as a store of radiant heat or cold, and is provided using sun-dried clay blocks which form the inner walls.

As the founding member of the EU-funded Coolhouse project, AlmaVerde has also developed a low-energy cooling system that helps to keep summer interior temperatures remarkably consistent for less than the cost of powering a light bulb. To quote the judges’ report: “This development really has been designed with ecology in mind. To this judge, it is particularly impressive in that the measures taken are all practical – neither lip service nor extremist nonsense. The development deserves every credit for having made a real contribution to ecological building.”