It takes a united approach to make a big change and in Santiago del Teide on the west coast of Tenerife local business association ASEMTEIDE are taking a lead by issuing 3,000 reuseable eco bags to their members for customer use. ASEMTEIDE – Associacion Empressarios y Comerciantes de Santiago del Teide was formed in 2005 and has over 80 active business’s signed up.
The new bags have a life of two years and can make a big difference to peoples shopping habbits, it’s estimated that the average person gets through 600 plastic bags during their lifetime. The new scheme is part of a strategy from the Department of Commerce within the Canary Island government, they can see the big savings this can bring. A spokesperson saidÂ “over the next two years this will avoid the use of 990,502,800 million plastic bags, enough oil to drive a car 41,500,400 miles,”
Most councils in the Canary Islands have now embraced the green message and are looking at ways to preserve resources and to protect the local environment.
It’s a perfect match, 122 unemployed people in Tenerife have been given rewarding and useful work that will benefit the entire Tenerife community. The Cabildo (government) have taken on the work force to clean and maintain key areas of protected natural spaces around the island.
The project was started up in December 2010 through the Cabildo’s environmental department and is 80% funded by the European Social Fund. There are many protected natural spaces in Tenerife including the rural parks ofÂ Teno and Anaga, both of these have been targetted for the new campaign. At the Parque Rural de Anaga 31 workers will clean and clear forest paths, viewing points and walkways that are part of the main hiking routes. At Teno similar work will see 29 new staff helping to replant indigenous plants and also improve walkers access to Monte del Aqua.
The Office of Participation and Environmental Volunteers for the Tenerife government has looked back on the 2009 programme with some pride after 2,290 volunteers joined business backers to improve Tenerife.
The biggest project was a reforestation programme involving 750 people, this covered Finca La Orilla in Anaga National Park, Las Calderetas in El Sauzal, plus El Rayo and El Rosario. Some 2,500 trees of varying species were added to boost the natural scenery.
La Mar de Limpia is another long standing project that cleans up rubbish along the shoreline. Last year 470 volunteers removed 830 kilos of discarded rubbish from around the coast. Education was an important part of this initiative with talks about the coastal environment and the release of turtles back into the wild after treatment for injury. In Teno it wasn’t just the beaches that were cleaned up, teams of divers made sure that the sea beds were also made safer.
This years clean up campaigns are already well under way, the removal of rubbish addresses the immediate problem but informing people of the damage caused by discarding waste should help to cut down on further erosion of the coast and rural areas.
Sometimes good intentions are thwarted by a lack of practical method, in Guia de Isora, Tenerife, a local farm is making a great success of producing bio compost. Lomo del Balo farm has made a name for making high quality bio compost, and now local councils are making tracks there to dispose of their bio degradable waste.
No chemicals are allowed in the mix at the farm but the councils of Santiago del Teide, Guia de Isora and Adeje are sending their rubbish from their parks and gardens to be added to the brew. The compost also includes stale beer and is left to stew for 3 months before it is ready to sell for farming and gardening purposes. The scheme is a winner all round and has solved a big waste disposal problem for many in the more remote areas of the island.
It started as an open challenge 14 years ago from the Tenerife government to architects around the world, design a self sufficient dwelling that blends in and makes full use of its natural surroundings, with zero CO2 emissions. Some 397 applied for the project but that was whittled down to the best 25, they were given full reign to develop their ideals on the 400,000 square metre ITER (Institute of Technology and Renewable Energy) site in Granadilla, Tenerife.
The worldâ€™s media came together with the scientific and architectural community on Friday 19 March to celebrate the official inauguration of these 25 beacons for the future. With 90 % of the worlds population expected to live in cities within five years the drive has been to make houses that are functional, practical and pleasing to live in, the applicants certainly rose to the challenge.
The winner of the contest was La Geria (above) from a Spanish team led by Cesar Ruiz-Larrea Cangas. The name refers to a horseshoe shaped protective wall used to shield vines in Lanzaroteâ€™s wine regions, and bunkered down into the earth, this house makes good use of the grounds warmth and insulation. Facing the best light source keeps energy use down and liberal sprinklings of plants on the shaded patio area contribute to the cool feel of the building.
All the houses differ but they share common features, extensive use of photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines and a shared water supply with desalinated sea water from the Atlantic that laps the perimeter of ITER. Complimenting the environment is also an important consideration, the partial sinking of many of the houses helps to blend them in and building materials were carefully chosen to be recycled and good for the retention of heat, light and energy. Each dwelling also blends with its neighbouring buildings using natural colours and textures.
The competing architects have not lost sight of the need to make these houses into desirable homes, many of the external looks are bold and exciting such as La Estrella (the star) or the open fronted Las Bovedas. The nest stage of the project is for scientists and other interested parties to live in the houses and test them as they interact on a daily basis. All the houses are fitted with monitors to constantly check air flow and quality, inside and outside temperatures and humidity.
Tenerife presents unique weather and environmental challenges and advantages, those have all been factored into the development of this village, but the idea is to use the knowledge gained on this site to implement bioclimatic techniques around the world. The new homes will now act as a living laboratory and are making a big impact on architectural thinking and planning for the next generation of homes