During our three week pre-move research tour of Spain in September 2013 we stayed for a week in a Yurt in Tarifa. We had a wonderful experience and dreamed of one day having a Yurt of our own - it took 9 years but today we completed the build of that Yurt. We have a lovely plot, ´The Honey Glade´ near El Perelló and have worked with a Yurt builder near Granada to supply the Yurt. In addition to us enjoying this great space we also have the option to rent the space out and also have a space to live really far from all in case of need.
Having selected a great plot in April 2022 we established ourselves to spend time at the site and be ready for a Yurt delivery in October. We put up a tent, built a shed, added an outdoor kitchen to that shed with water gathering to a tank and set up a compost toilet. This gave us a site we could spend time at and store materials while completing the Yurt build and allow the site to have the facilities needed when the Yurt was finished.
The 3rd photo above shows the location of the yurt and the photos below show the base build using blocks, wooden joists and wooden floor planks. No cement used to end up with a beautiful wooden floor to put the Yurt onto.
July and August 2022 was a very hot summer averaging 35C. No rain meant easy site management in one respect but the heat needed to be managed and early starts and working to midday only was possible. Then in early August we were told the Yurt would be arriving early.... not something we are used to but a happy surprise as this would mean we would miss too much rain and wind when doing the final build. In the end the Yurt arrived 10th September and the base was not complete and then the 1st rain came for 2 months, so the final two weeks had some time pressure and safe storage of a lot of materials to manage.
15 days after the arrival of the Yurt we started the build. The weather was just 15C to 25C and a light breeze so 9 hours building the Yurt was at least manageable as far as the weather. A huge thanks to Stephanie, Geode, Marc, Kristin and Federico who helped unload materials and build the Yurt who allowed Ethan, Frances, Joshua and I to complete the work without running out of energy.
From the 16th April and an empty plot (1st photo below) to the 26th September and a fully constructed Yurt (final photo).
We moved most of the furniture into the yurt on the 1st of October. Building the sofa bed and re-installing the double bed from the tent. More to do with a small table and chairs to add and a clothes rack. We also took the tent down after 5 months, with two small holes to repair after the bleaching of the sun that discoloured it tremendously but overall it did very well given the length of time it was used for.
In addition to completing the set up in the Yurt we need to install the solar power system (huge thanks to Marc for his design and support here), receive and install the log burning stove and complete the outbuildings: toilet, woodshed, kitchen and shower. The plan is to finish in November.
We have just had our solar hot water system installed. This is a significant milestone because it took 14 months from the request to the contractor for the work to the actual install. This also importantly means that all aspects of running our home are now self-sufficient. With gas prices still increasing moving the hot water away from gas on demand heating is also a great cost saving.
We can switch between solar and gas by closing and opening valves to re-direct the water. Our view is that keeping it simple and not adding an automation means there is less to go wrong in the future.
In addition we will gain extra solar power to our overall system as any excess will be re-directed to charge our batteries.
We will wait to see if we can gain a warm/airing cupboard by boxing in the the hot water tank. We have already worked on that part of the garage to make it more insulated and overall more hospitable to be in and will be tiling the floor and creating shelves and space for storage. As we experience the new system we may the box in the tank.
This now means that all key utilities are self sufficient and sustainable:
1. Electricity: Solar panels
2. Water: Rain water collection
3. Heating: Wood burning stove with back bolier for radiators
4. Hot water: Solar panels heating a large water tank
5. Cooking: Wood fired stove
6. Sewage: Compost toilets & grey water recycling
7. Communications: Community groups, CB Radio, CD Music, DVD films
All backed up by at least one other source, respectively:
1. Petrol generator and mobile battery packs
2. Mountain water and water storage tanks
3. Gas heaters
4. Gas water heater
5. Gas cookers
6. Other natural forms of use but with good maintenance no back up is needed
7. Mobile phone & internet
Frances and Barry Copping bought Xalet Pigall in 2015. They are working towards resilience and self-sufficiency.