Spotlight on sustainable design in Spain


    March 09, 2021


    It’s one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and the second-largest country in the EU. But which design projects best showcase Spain’s approach to sustainability?

    Spain’s sustainability status


    Thanks to progressive government policies, Spain is taking significant steps in the fight against climate change. Driven in part by rising temperatures — a tangible result of global warming — the sunny country is on its way to ditching fossil fuels for good. Back in 2018, Spain announced an ambitious plan to draw 75% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, and a full 100% by 2050. On top of this, it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% against 1990 levels.

    And as for architecture, Spain is one of the top-ten countries in the world with some of the most sustainable buildings built — a pretty significant achievement! But what sort of green structures can you expect to find there?

    From eccentric to eco-friendly

    Self-sufficient home in Spain
    Image by Superlumen
    Serving as a striking visual statement against the mountainous backdrop, this quirky family home in Murcia is 100% self-sufficient.
    Conceived and constructed by architects Ecoproyecta, the two geodesic domes were built from all-natural materials, including wood, lime mortar, and natural cellulose. And the dome-shaped construction covers a large volume with a small amount of structure, meaning less materials were used all-round.


    Significantly, the home has no electricity or water supply, instead utilizing renewable energy and a water purification system. It is heated by two small biomass stoves in the winter — one for each dome — while built-in Canadian wells maintain a comfortable temperature the rest of the year round.

    Building covered in plants
    Image by Capella Garcia Arquitectura

    Going green


    Introducing a wash of beautiful greenery to an urban space, the Tarradellas Garden wall in Barcelona ticks multiple eco-friendly boxes.

    Nicknamed ‘Vegitecture’ by architects Capella Garcia Arquitectura, the living wall changes and evolves with the seasons. Featuring low-maintenance plants that are essentially left to their own devices, the steel structure is fitted with an irrigation and fertilization system that is controlled via a phone app. What’s more, excess water falls through the cracks to the lower levels in order to reduce water usage.

    Like any vegetation, living walls create more oxygen, in turn slashing CO2 levels — an important function in the center of a busy city. They also help to regulate temperature, reducing energy costs for the residents of the building. And to top it all off, the in-built bird and bat houses offer a happy home for wildlife who may otherwise struggle to find shelter. 

    Solar lighting takes advantage of sunlight


    Both easy to install and maintain, Philips SunStay streetlights are a welcome addition to the Infanta Elena Park in Seville. Not only do they help citizens feel safer during after-dark visits, but they’re a quick win for Spain’s long-term renewable energy goals. They reduce energy costs, improve carbon footprint, and lower overall capital and operational expenditure.


    The new streetlights are fitted with sensors, increasing the light level when people approach and decreasing when they have passed. Plus, the battery power is unrivalled, lasting for up to two nights without receiving any sunlight — despite this being an unusual occurrence in sunny Seville!

    Street at night
    Infanta Elena Park in Seville

    Smart lighting leads to energy savings


    Not content with just being renewable energy champions, businesses and municipalities throughout Spain are also tapping into the power of the IoT. 

    Magma choose Interact Pro to create a great place to work
    Co-working space Magma in Seville installed Interact Pro to help reduce its energy consumption. Together with Philips MasterConnect LED tubes, the software introduced a more flexible approach to lighting the workspace, allowing for greater comfort while enhancing energy-efficiency.
    Taking it to the next level, the city council of Ribeira now has around 6,500 connected LED luminaires controlled and managed via Interact City. Well on its way to becoming a smart-city pioneer, the council has already achieved a 70% cost saving as well as benefitting from the easy management of the luminaires’ energy consumption.

    What’s next?


    Aside from Spain’s renewable energy headway, what does the future hold?


    Vertical farming could see exponential growth thanks to projects like Greendomo: a gigantic, sustainable greenhouse that allows for year-round crops. Not only does this reduce carbon footprint, but with the help of lighting products such as Philips LED grow lights, it can also deliver huge energy savings compared to grow lights using conventional lighting technology.

    And with the ambitious initiatives of the EU Green Deal fresh on everyone’s minds, it will be worth staying tuned to see how else Spain can push the boundaries of its sustainable practices.
    Want to learn more about sustainable design? Check out how the UK spotlights sustainable design.

    Pioneers of Light’s mission

    Pioneers of Light is a community of the world’s top architects, lighting designers and engineers, united by a passion for realizing their visions through innovative lighting. We guide and inspire the next generation to deliver sustainable lighting solutions that make the world a better and brighter place.


    Want to know more about the Pioneers of Light, get in touch!


    Banner image: Editorial Planeta, green building, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain – Architects: Tous and Fargas © Arthur Debat

    About the author:

    Anissa Abbou

    Anissa Abbou

    Head of Global Professional Specification, Signify

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications

    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2022, we had sales of EUR 7.5 billion, approximately 35,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We achieved carbon neutrality in our operations in 2020, have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for six consecutive years and were named Industry Leader in 2017, 2018 and 2019. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

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