Thinking GREEN when buying a home in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is a country of lush, beautiful rainforest, inviting beaches and 12 distinct ecosystems. The climate is beautiful year-round, the people are friendly and the communities are safe. Costa Rica has gained an international reputation for being a sustainable and green-conscious nation, and not without reason. Costa Rica generates about 90% of its energy from renewable resources, and is on track to produce 95% renewable energy by the end of this year. In fact, the end-goal is to be a carbon neutral country by 2021.

The climate in Costa Rica helps make renewable energy a realistic option. With about 100 inches of average rainfall, 80% of the energy here is generated by hydro facilities, with wind generated energy coming in second.

Renewable energy does come at a cost the locals are willing to pay. The average cost for electricity in Costa Rica is $.30 per kwh.  But there are many ways to conserve energy. Here are some great reasons to buy or build green homes in Costa Rica:

  • Lower energy costs
  • Makes your home more marketable when it’s time to sell
  • Green upgrades save money in the long-run
  • Energy conservation is good for the environment, which means it’s good for everyone

I love it when I can save money and take care of the environment, which is why I specialize in green construction and home sales in Costa Rica. We take a different approach to being sustainable in the tropics than those in more temperate climates. Most of Costa Rica receives 6 months of daily rain, followed by six months of dry weather.  That’s right. Not a drop.

Here are ideas for creating a sustainable home in Costa Rica:

Location

A home located near public transportation is convenient AND green. Using public transportation improves air quality and happens to be very affordable in Costa Rica. A round trip fare from La Garita to San Jose Centro is about $3.

Smaller is better

Smaller homes are, by nature, greener.

Design

The temperatures in the Central Valley in Costa Rica are so pleasant that there is very little need for air conditioning. I have no air conditioning in my own home in La Garita, nor do any of the villas we have built in our green community, Villas Pom d’Or. Instead, our homes are designed to utilize natural light and ventilation, with large windows and high ceilings.  The space is airy and comfortable, without costing a fortune to cool it.

Solar panels

When we switched to solar energy for our own home in La Garita de Alajuela, just to heat the water, we saved about $150 per month ! We now use solar panels for all our electrical needs at our home, and in the homes we build. We have been very happy with RA NEWABLES, a company located in Costa Rica. They installed our solar panels. They financed the project and one pays them back according to the amount of energy the solar panels produce.

Water-efficient toilets

Did you know  traditional toilets use an average of 26% of the total home water consumption? Low flow toilets use as little as 1.6 gallons per flush.  I recommend purchasing last year’s model for the best bargain.

Landscaping

Well-planned landscaping around a home can prevent runoff and erosion, as well as provide needed shade from the west sun, further reducing the need for air-conditioning.  Native plants are most adapted to this environment, so will require the least amount of maintenance. It’s also beautiful!

Thinking of moving to Costa Rica? The land of “pura vida” has been my home for the past 19 years. I have been helping expats find homes they love in Costa Rica since 2002. I would be delighted to visit with you about any issues related to Green Realty or sustainable living in Costa Rica, or any other questions you may have about moving to and living in the Central Valley.