7 Must-Haves for Sustainable House Transformation

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the impact our daily lives have on the environment, more homeowners are looking to transform their houses into sustainable sanctuaries. Creating a truly sustainable home, or what we like to call a “positive home,” involves more than just installing solar panels. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the seven must-haves to make your home eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and comfortable.

May you don’t know us yet, let’s have a quick introduction: we’re ERA architects.
Actually, I’m Esther Rovira, architect and passive house designer in Barcelona and Catalonia building and renovating passive houses and positive houses.
In this post
7 Must-Haves for Sustainable House Transformation, you’ll find information to help you before you start your renovation in Barcelona.
I hope it helps you! Let’s start exploring.

1. Get Rid of Gas

One of the most significant steps towards a sustainable home is eliminating gas usage. Traditional gas systems for cooking and heating water are not only harmful to the environment but also inefficient compared to modern alternatives. Here’s how you can make the switch:

  • Induction Cooktops: Unlike gas stoves, induction cooktops use electromagnetic energy to directly heat pots and pans, offering precise temperature control and faster cooking times. They are safer, as there are no open flames, and more energy-efficient.
  • Aerothermia Systems: These systems use heat pump technology to heat water for showers and household use. By extracting heat from the air, aerothermia systems are highly efficient and can reduce your carbon footprint significantly.

2. Insulate Roof and Façade

Proper insulation is a cornerstone of a sustainable home. It keeps your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. Key areas to focus on include:

  • Roof Insulation: The roof is one of the primary areas where heat loss occurs. Insulating your roof with high-quality materials can prevent heat from escaping, ensuring your home remains at a comfortable temperature year-round.
  • Façade Insulation: Insulating the exterior walls of your home is equally important. This involves adding a layer of insulation material to the outside of your house, which can significantly improve energy efficiency by reducing thermal bridging and heat transfer.

3. Improve Airtightness

Airtightness refers to the ability of your home to prevent unwanted air infiltration. This is crucial for maintaining a consistent indoor temperature and improving overall energy efficiency. Steps to enhance airtightness include:

  • Sealing Gaps and Cracks: Identify and seal gaps around windows, doors, and other openings using weather stripping, caulk, or foam sealants. This prevents drafts and reduces energy loss.
  • Proper Ventilation: Ensure that your ventilation system is well-designed to provide adequate airflow without compromising airtightness. Mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery can be particularly effective.

4. Improve Windows

Windows play a critical role in your home’s energy efficiency. Poorly insulated windows can lead to significant heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Here’s how to optimize your windows:

  • High-Quality Frames: Invest in window frames with a low U-value, which indicates better insulating properties. Materials like wood, vinyl, and fiberglass are excellent choices.
  • Double Glazing: Double-glazed windows consist of two panes of glass with a space in between, providing better insulation than single-pane windows. This helps keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • Summer Protection: Install blinds, shades, or reflective coatings to protect against excessive heat during the summer months. This reduces the need for air conditioning and helps maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

5. Get Rid of Radiators

Traditional radiators can be replaced with more efficient heating systems that provide better comfort and energy savings. Consider the following alternatives:

  • Air Systems: Air-source heat pumps and ducted air systems distribute warm air throughout your home more efficiently than radiators. They can also double as cooling systems in the summer.
  • Infrared Technology: Infrared heating panels provide direct heat to objects and people in the room, similar to how the sun warms the earth. This type of heating is highly efficient and offers a comfortable, natural warmth.

6. Install a Ventilation Machine with Heat Recovery System

Maintaining good indoor air quality without sacrificing energy efficiency is essential in a sustainable home. A ventilation system with heat recovery can achieve this balance:

  • Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV): HRV systems extract stale air from inside your home and replace it with fresh outdoor air. The heat from the outgoing air is transferred to the incoming air, ensuring that your home stays warm without losing energy.
  • Benefits: This system not only improves air quality but also maintains high oxygen levels indoors, promoting a healthier living environment without the need to open windows and lose conditioned air.

7. Get AC Using Very Efficient Machines

Air conditioning is often necessary, especially in humid climates like the Barcelona coast. Choosing efficient AC systems can make a big difference in energy consumption and comfort levels:

  • Energy-Efficient Models: Look for air conditioning units with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings. These units consume less energy while providing optimal cooling performance.
  • Dehumidification: Efficient AC systems also dehumidify the air, which is crucial in humid climates. Lower humidity levels improve comfort and reduce the strain on your cooling system.


Transforming your home into a sustainable, positive home is a multifaceted process that goes beyond just installing solar panels. By addressing these seven key areas—eliminating gas, improving insulation, enhancing airtightness, upgrading windows, replacing radiators, installing a heat recovery ventilation system, and using efficient AC systems—you can significantly reduce your environmental footprint, lower energy bills, and create a healthier living environment.

How to Start

Ready to embark on your journey towards a positive home? Here are the steps to get started:

  • Assess Your Current Situation: Conduct an energy audit to identify areas for improvement. This will help you prioritize the most impactful upgrades.
  • Consult with Experts: Work with sustainability experts, architects, and contractors who specialize in eco-friendly home transformations. They can provide tailored advice and ensure that your upgrades are done correctly.
  • Plan Your Upgrades: Create a comprehensive plan that outlines the steps and timeline for your home transformation. Consider your budget and look for incentives or rebates that may be available for energy-efficient upgrades.
  • Book an Online Session: To get personalized advice and learn more about how you can transform your home, book an online consultation with our team. We can help you evaluate your current setup, recommend specific improvements, and guide you through the process.

By taking these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a sustainable, energy-efficient home that benefits both you and the environment. Embrace the journey towards a positive home and enjoy the rewards of a greener, healthier living space. You may book your online session now with our experts by clicking HERE.

Take the first step towards a sustainable home! Click the link above to schedule your consultation and start your transformation journey. Together, we can create a positive impact on the planet and your quality of life.

You may also be interested in: Saving Water

Energy savings are crucial, but so is water specialy considering the permanent drought in Catalunya. For more tips on how to reduce your water usage and save on water bills, check out our next post. Small changes in your daily habits and some strategic upgrades can make a big difference in your overall water consumption and utility costs. Then, you may also be interested in our other post: Saving water

I hope this post ‘7 Must-Haves for Sustainable House Transformation’ is helpful and empowers you to take the next tinny step to improve your home!.
If you’re ready to go, we can help making this upgrade in your home a reality. Book our first online chat here to learn how we can help.
If you’re not ready yet, no problem! Any other questions burning you? Leave your questions below in the comments and we’ll answer publically to keep on helping everybody! Too shy? No worries, write us at: hola@era.archi and we’ll listen.

Best of luck on your positive home adventure.
See you on the next post,


Founder of ERA architects

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