The ladies who own and operate a very nice sea food restaurant in the village next to my home here in Mallorca have a model in the restaurant of their new home being built in the village.  Very avant garde design perhaps in the style of Barcelona’s gift to the world of architecture, Gaudi.  But more importantly, they told me, it  is a  “bio-tech” house. 

Of course the hot water is provided by a solar system on the roof which means it is best to shower or bathe during the day, not at night.  In contrast the heating is radiant heat which uses a lot of electricity and in Mallorca the electricity comes mainly from petroleum fired stations. 

The main feature of the house, as the ladies told me, is that the building materials are “bio-friendly,” which they added means that no concrete blocks, bricks or cement was used.  Instead the frame is of wood and the walls are plaster covered blocks of  straw.  The mind boggles.  Nothing could be more “bio-friendly” than concrete and bricks.  They are made from the earth itself and to dust will eventually return.  On the other hand using wood means destroying more of Spain’s few forests. 

Worse, the house is a firetrap since wood and straw burn like crazy.  And while we have an elaborate system for fighting brush fires that occur each fall, we have limited resources for fighting house fires since there are relatively few.   The reason, most homes are built of concrete block and brick and stone which do not burn.

Amazing how the desire to be “earth friendly,” often results in bigger problems.  Or could that be the case in general?