This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website   More info

Property Search

28, nov 22 | Reading: 9 min.

May Sustainability Maximize Financial Returns? | Casas do Barlavento

An attitude of action towards our planet cannot be postponed and sectors must consider a minimum impact on the environment in their functions. In the real estate sector, this is beginning to be an issue included in the plans for any new construction or building renovation. Everyone's daily life should be based on new habits that pay off in terms of both environmental quality and financial return. After all, these are the practices that make for a more sustainable future and increase property values.


May sustainability maximize financial returns? The answer is yes, and the following examples show how we can invest in homes built with green and sustainable materials.


article photo cover: May sustainability maximize financial returns? The picture shows the façade of a wooden villa with two symbols about the sustainability of real estate in the form of a greenhouse.

Photo by Zac Gudakov – Unsplash




The concept of green buildings is not new, but it has gained prominence in recent years due to the urgent need to address one of the world's most pressing challenges, climate change. The reason for this is the increase in the world's population, which has reached the impressive figure of 8 billion people in 2022, with a strong upward trend. With these numbers, the consumption of resources is also penalised, and there is no room left for their natural renewal.


The real estate sector ranks first among the sectors that generate the most money worldwide and is also one of the biggest contributors to the carbon footprint. The task will be to change the way the real estate sector lives in the world by incorporating more and more properties that meet sustainable certification standards into their portfolios. It will take a team effort, but it is possible to meet the European Environmental Pact standards while reducing the carbon footprint by 55% by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.



What exactly is ecological housing?


Ecological housing is always meticulously planned down to the last detail. Its construction and use are intended to have the least environmental impact possible. To start, the house should be designed with sustainable materials that are also manufactured to the same standards, do not use fossil fuels in their manufacturing, and are free of toxic products.


The house inhabitants must be able to enjoy it to the full while optimising energy consumption. With this type of construction, it is possible to greatly reduce the use of fossil fuels to heat or cool the rooms in the houses.



What makes a house environmentally friendly?


Sun exposure – Sun exposure is important in the house, especially in places like the Algarve, which has 300 days of sunshine per year. Of course, these plans are only applicable to newly constructed homes. If you are looking for a plot of land on which to build a house from the ground up, you should always consider solar orientation to save money on artificial lighting and heating.


Thermal insulation – Thermal insulation is essential for maintaining a comfortable indoor climate. If your eco-house is properly insulated, you will not need artificial appliances during the coldest and hottest times of the year. There are numerous materials available on the market for doors, windows, ceilings, walls, and floors. These materials provide a pleasant warmth feeling, have good acoustics and prevent the house from deteriorating by keeping moisture out.


Energy efficiency – Ideal homes should be self-sufficient and powered by clean, renewable energy. All builders and investors should strive to change our reality. When you buy a house in Portugal, there is an energy certificate that indicates which scale the house is on. Learn more about this topic.


Passive House - When you hear this term, you know you're dealing with the pinnacle of sustainable housing. This term can refer to a newly constructed house, but it can also refer to existing houses of traditional construction. These homes must meet some criteria to receive a special Passive House certification. Several organisations in Portugal can advise you and define the criteria to follow to obtain a house that combines thermal comfort, air quality, and low energy consumption. More information on this subject can be found here.

If the concept of a passive house appeals to you, look at an example in our portfolio.


Building materials – The selection of materials is undoubtedly the first step in constructing an eco-friendly house with as little environmental impact as possible. Do you know which materials you should choose? Here are some materials that are just as strong and durable as conventional materials

Are you thinking about building an eco-friendly home from scratch? Take a look at our property in the Casas do Barlavento portfolio.


image for the article: May sustainability maximize financial returns? The image depicts a living room that makes maximum use of natural light while avoiding the use of artificial lighting.

Photo by Alberto Castillo– Unsplash



Sustainable building materials


Sustainable building materials are increasingly in vogue and shape the basis for sustainable certification of a property. These materials have a low impact on their production, and when combined with the right application when building a property, the planet thanks you. These materials are not only environmentally friendly, but they also keep homes warm and comfortable, reducing the need for air conditioning or other fossil fuel appliances. Here are some examples of materials for sustainable building.


Eco-bricks – The main difference between an eco-brick and a conventional brick is how it is made. As the eco-brick does not need to be fired, no wood is used in its manufacture. It is placed in a hydraulic press that shapes the material. This brick is made from many materials, including sand mixes, construction waste, water and sand. They are an excellent choice for homeowners who want to insulate their houses both acoustically and thermally.


Hemp blocks – Hemp fibre blocks are already available in other countries. This sustainable material is already making its way into the construction sector in Portugal, where it is manufactured by Portuguese companies. This plant's rapid growth makes it an excellent substitute for traditional materials. The hemp block, like the eco-brick, is used for thermal and sound insulation, while being durable and resistant. The production of this brick has a negative carbon footprint and produces no waste.


Terracotta floor and wall tiles – In the Algarve, materials for sustainable buildings are made from the earth's resources. The famous Santa Catarina tile, the Burro tile or the Santa Catarina tile are some examples of floor and wall tiles handmade in the Eastern Algarve, using waste materials such as sawdust or olive pomace in the firing process. These materials are resistant to direct sunlight without colour changing, impact-resistant and fire-resistant. The floors can be used indoors in houses, and outdoors they are useful on ramps or stairs due to their non-slip properties.


Green roofs – How about having a garden instead of a roof? This option brings nature closer to homes and is possible for any property, from hotels to permanent residences to commercial spaces. It is another sustainable option on the market that offers you thermal insulation as an advantage.


Eco-friendly paints – There are several environmentally friendly paints on the market that can be used on the interior and exterior of your home. Painting with limewash has lost popularity in urban areas in Portugal, but it may resurface because it is free of toxic substances, is a cost-effective material, and composition has bactericidal properties, which means it allows walls to breathe and does not mould. It can be used both inside and outside of homes. Natural pigments can also be added to this ancient painting technique.


image for the article: May sustainability maximize financial returns? Buildings with green roofs are depicted in the picture—an environmentally friendly method of bringing nature closer to people's homes.

Photo by Chuttersnap – Unsplash



Is an eco-friendly home more expensive than a traditional home?


According to a JLL Portugal study, green buildings can be more expensive than building a traditional house from scratch. It is estimated that there is a 1% to 5% increase when compared to a property of the same type but without sustainability standards.


The initial investment in a house built according to eco-house parameters may be higher, but it will be profitable in the long run. According to the same study, implementing environmentally friendly measures results in a 50% reduction in energy consumption, a 40% reduction in water consumption, and a 70% reduction in residue production. Investing in an eco-friendly home yield a long-term return.


The values of building materials are the most important on the first bill, but this can be reversed if sustainable housing standards are required. As we all consider changing the reality of our homes, the values of materials will always trend downwards.


By 2030, we will prove that our actions are changing the planet's course. Therefore, it is expected that investments in real estate without sustainability certification will be taxed at a higher rate. The tax burden could be higher, and thus buildings with high carbon emissions will be penalized. As a result, the prices of non-sustainable properties will decrease, and the value of green homes will increase. Sustainable houses are expected to reduce the risk of real estate investments.



What steps can I take to have a greener house?


If the builder of your home has not met the standards for sustainable homes, there are simple steps you can take to build a greener home to increase energy efficiency. If you follow some of these steps, you will see the value of your home increase when it is time to sell it.


Solar panels – or geothermal systems are powered by clean energy and are a solution to heat your home without using conventional energy.


Home appliances – Choosing energy-efficient home appliances is a conscious decision. They help the environment and still save you money at the end of the month. In specialised shops in Portugal, all electrical appliances are labelled with their energy class. Choose class A, the most efficient.


Lighting – Replace all light bulbs with LED light bulbs. It may seem like a simple step, but you will see a difference in your electricity bill at the end of the month.



image for the article: May sustainability maximize financial returns? The picture shows several LED light bulbs hanging from the ceiling.

Photo by Patrick Schneider – Unsplash



Sustainability brings returns in the long term, and at the time of sale, a property with the requirements of a green home will appreciate it. If you do not know the prices for these properties, speak to our team at Casas do Barlavento. Find out what the future holds!