San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

University guides ‘green’ condo project

A new “eco-urban” condominium development is slated to break ground in Escazú early this year, and developers say it will be the largest green condo project in the country and a model for eco-friendly development.

Grupo Rica Costa, a Costa Rican real estate development firm, will break ground on Bosques de Escazú in March, said Fuad Farach, general manager of Grupo RC. Plans for the 112-condo development include four towers and each housing 28 condominiums, a pool and clubhouses, and a reforestation project around the housing units designed by the National University (UNA) that will use native plants to attract wildlife.

“We will use solar energy, a water treatment plant with the latest technology to treat wastewater, natural ventilation to reduce the use of air conditioning, LED illumination, low-consumption faucets and toilets and architecture that allows for natural lighting, among other ideas and environmental technologies, Farach said.

Solar-powered hot-water heaters will provide warm showers and energy savings of up to 35 percent, and LED lighting in common areas of the complex will maximize lighting-energy efficiency, Farach said. The development will also have 13,000 square meters of green areas with landscaping of native plants and flowers as well as an additional 9,000 square meters of forested area planted with native fruit-bearing and flowering trees. Farach said experts from UNA are designing the forest to attract many species of birds and small mammals.

“This is our first eco-urban project,” Farach said. “Being green has been kind of a personal conviction of [Grupo RC] on how we live, and now how we behave. Now we’ve learned about these green technologies and all we can do with them.”

All of the spaces, Farach added, will be designed according to Feng Shui principles, an ancient Chinese practice for balancing the “energies” of space through the design and arrangement of objects for optimum utility and comfort.

Farach said construction of the complex would follow strict recycling protocols and guidelines for low-environmental impact, including removing all residual materials from the sight for recycling, and building retaining walls to minimize erosion and runoff into a stream that crosses the property.

Grupo RC is the company behind several other Escazú condo developments including Solaris and Valle de Tamarindo. Farach said he expects the complex’s clubhouse and first tower to be finished by January 2013. After that, he said, a new tower will be added approximately every six months.

The website lists condominiums at Bosques de Escazú starting at around $130,000 for a one-bedroom, $178,000 for a two-bedroom and $270,000 for a three-bedroom condo.

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