Building number 4 of Joaquín Costa street
Art and energy efficiency have gone hand in hand in the refurbishment of the façade of number 4 Joaquín Costa Street, in the western district of Salamanca. The proliferation of urban art on its walls and streets has put this peripheral district of the Castilian city at the centre of the alternative tourism map; behind this transformation lies the drive and effort of the Zoes neighbourhood association, which has been working for some time on the regeneration of the area.
The collaboration of the international artist Ricardo Cavolo, a native of Salamanca, was essential in this authentic open-air museum: not by chance, he likes to define his works as "exercises in love" and on many occasions has stated that he considers that the best place to exhibit them is in the street.
However, the aesthetic intervention has been taken much further and has been used to make this building more efficient and, incidentally, to improve the lives of its inhabitants. In the words of Ángel Herrero Pérez, from the Official College of Architects of León (Salamanca Delegation): "From the College of Architects, we are always insisting that interventions in buildings must be efficient and effective. We thought it was very interesting to take advantage of this opportunity to support Ricardo Cavolo by insulating, sheltering, putting "a little coat" on the building, and providing a useful support for this artistic work".
Thermal insulation on the outside
His visual definition of the external thermal insulation system (EIFS) as "a little coat" for the building manages to explain in a simple way the work of this kind of insulation solutions, which help to keep the heat inside the building during the coldest months, contributing to the energy savings of its residents, who manage to keep the interior temperature stable, without losses. This insulation capacity continues in summer when it prevents heat from entering the building.
The energy refurbishment of this house has been free of charge for the residents. Its execution has been carried out by the company Ripalia and has had the collaboration of the Architects' Association of Salamanca and León and the Association of Quantity Surveyors of Salamanca, who have provided the entire project and security of the budget.
"Along with any type of artistic or aesthetic intervention on the façade of a building, it is very easy to add a part of energy efficiency, a part of insulation, which together with the artistic and aesthetic part will greatly improve the quality of life and the quality of the stay in the building", explains José Domingo Ríos, from Ripalia.
The support for this artistic intervention, designed to give a new aesthetic value to the neighbourhood, was an external thermal insulation system (SATE) with extruded polystyrene (XPS) donated by URSA Ibérica Aislantes. This material is one of the favourites for this type of application, as its high degree of thermal insulation is combined with its versatility, its guaranteed water tightness and its good behaviour in the face of sudden changes in temperature, a fundamental virtue in insulation carried out on the outside of the building and in a city that has a wide range of temperatures throughout the year.
High durability and energy efficiency
Extruded polystyrene is recognised by a Technical Suitability Document (DITE) from the Eduardo Torroja Institute of Construction Sciences. This document states the generic suitability of this material for use as thermal insulation on the outside. It also guarantees a minimum useful life of 25 years for this type of system, thanks to the high durability of XPS, whose properties remain unaltered even in extreme conditions.
Óscar Vivanco, from URSA's Marketing and Sales Department, sums up the company's pride in its participation in the project: "This is the first time that renovation and art have merged, and we are delighted to promote this type of milestone. Not only because we are going to achieve greater comfort for all the residents of this community, but also because we are going to achieve an objective that is a priority for URSA: to be more efficient and respectful of the environment.
"In cities like Salamanca, where the urban development park is so old, promoting plans to refurbish buildings is a necessity," he adds.
This work is a tribute to Salamanca's women, for which Cavolo says he was inspired by his mother: the work bears her name, Mercedes, and develops her story in a series of vignettes that take place on each of the building's balconies.
The Salamanca councillor for education, social participation and volunteering, Carmen Sánchez Bellota, present at the inauguration of the new face of number 4, Joaquín Costa Street, declared the firm intention of the Consistory to continue supporting this type of intervention with a view to improving energy efficiency. "From the council, we have been supporting these initiatives," he said. "The Barrio del Oeste is characterised by being the neighbourhood with the most initiatives of this kind that we have in the city. We will continue to support not only cultural initiatives but also one of the most important criteria of this intervention, which is the commitment to energy efficiency. Commitments like this are important, not only for this neighbourhood but for all the citizens of Salamanca and for the city itself."
Location: Number 4 of Joaquín Costa street (Salamanca)
We are going to make a priority objective a reality: to be more efficient and respectful of the environment.