Accommodations / Chile / Patagonia / Torres del Paine / EcoCamp / Construction and Energy Supply

Construction and Energy Supply

EcoCamp has been constructed with intentional goals and objectives. Here are some examples of how EcoCamp has been designed with sustainability in mind:

*Construct with what you have onsite and minimize the importation of materials that do not exist on place.
*Minimize the constructed area and leave indoors only the necessary places such as dormitories, living room, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms.
*Geodesic domes, reminiscent of the Kawesqar hut, will be the basic building module. Animal skin coating should be replaced by sturdy clothing.
*Avoid foundations. Terrain should be impacted as little as possible.

Energy Supply
In finding the proper sources of energies environmental design consider using the natural forces that are found on site and that human has learned to use on its benefit. EcoCamp obtains all the energy from 100% natural & renewal sources like water, sun and wind.

� Solar energy has been widely used in Patagonia especially on our summer season when the days can have 17hrs of daylight. EcoCamp uses solar panels to provide energy for small fans on the toilettes chutes and to light the circulation areas.

● Wind energy is still on an experimental stage in Patagonia, the lodge's experience with two generators has been diverse and main difficulties reside on that the wind flows very irregularly with strong currents at certain hours and not a breeze in others. Nevertheless they have been able to provide lighting for dormitories out of the wind generators.

● EcoCamp uses propane for heating water at the bathrooms and for the kitchen stove.

● Despite some investigators claim that the toxic emissions from a modern wood heater are similar to emissions from burning fossil fuels EcoCamp is considering the feasibility of using modern wood calderas to provide sort of central heating and eventually modern wood stoves for cooking. In the vast plains of Patagonia there is plenty of fallen dead wood that could be collected. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and by photosynthesis, release oxygen and store carbon in the wood. When wood is burned, the carbon dioxide is re-created and released into the atmosphere. This is the same amount of carbon dioxide that would be released should the tree die and rot on the forest floor. This is the known as the �carbon cycle� and is environmentally neutral. The contra is that wood heaters generates four times the particulate emissions than oil combustion and ten or more times the particulate emissions than natural gas, though Particulate Pollution will never become a problem in the windy Patagonia it is a matter of consideration.

Putting in practice the considerations described above results on the fact that we can provide our guests with very limited and discretional electrical power: No hairdryers, no battery recharge, no electrical shaving machines, no long showers, no internet, etc.

Passive heating & lighting:

The best way to preserve is with no doubt not to heat nor to light at all and keep up with the natural rhythm. Domes have a panoramic window and come coated with white canvas which allows plenty of sunlight inside. Coating considers an outer canvas layer and a thick insulation cushion to minimize the exchange of temperature.