Historic Villages in Portugal are pioneers in good water efficiency practices

in Portugal

The Historical Villages of Portugal want to be the first carbon-neutral tourist destination in the country.

They have just taken a new step towards this goal, obtaining the AQUA+ certificate, a reference for classifying and promoting water efficiency in buildings, developed by ADENE – Agência para a Energia.

Aldeias Históricas de Portugal – Associação de Desenvolvimento Turístico (AHP-ADT) has just become the first entity to have buildings classified with the three benchmarks for evaluating and classifying the water efficiency of AQUA+ buildings – AQUA+ Residencial, AQUA+ Comércio & Serviços- Hotels and AQUA+ Commerce & Services-Office –, thus positioning itself at the forefront of water efficiency in Portugal.

AQUA+ is a reference for classifying and promoting water efficiency in buildings, developed by ADENE – Energy Agency, in collaboration with entities from the national scientific and technological system. Its purpose is to evaluate and classify, on a scale from F to A+, the performance of buildings in their different uses of water and identify opportunities to improve water efficiency and energy efficiency within the water-energy nexus.

In partnership with ADENE, the Historical Villages of Portugal experimented with three different types of buildings, resulting in a careful analysis of the optimal points and areas for improvement, observing their importance as a mechanism for economic savings and a resource increasingly scarce – water. Once the added value is recognized, the objective is to move towards replication.

aldeia histórica de linhares da beira
Aldeias Históricas de Portugal < Linhares da Beira

Within the scope of AQUA+ Residencial, a single-family house was classified in Almeida, district of Guarda. The improvement measures identified in the audit, namely the installation of more efficient taps and shower systems, a hot water circulation and return network, and an intelligent water consumption measurement system, will save 107m3 of water and €57 annually, considering water costs and costs associated with heating.

With regard to the AQUA+ Commerce & Services – Hotels audit, the INATEL tourist development of Linhares da Beira Hotel Rural was classified, as a hotel with 26 accommodation units, located in the village of Linhares da Beira, municipality of Celorico da Beira. The building is a rural hotel with 26 accommodation units, built in 2013. It has two swimming pools for guests, laundry and around 3,700 m2 of green areas requiring irrigation. As a good water efficiency practice, the use of water from the levada that comes from Serra da Estrela and which meets all the irrigation needs of the enterprise was identified for irrigation. The proposed improvement measures, including the installation of an intelligent monitoring system with partial meters at key points in the water network, and the creation and implementation of a water management plan, will allow the enterprise to improve its performance hydro

The Almeida City Council building, built in the 18th century, was one of the pilot buildings for calibrating the AQUA+ Commerce & Services – Offices methodology. This building has water uses, sanitary facilities and outdoor areas in need of irrigation. The proposed improvement measures will allow the building to save 221m3 of water annually. Of note, as improvement measures, are the replacement of devices (taps and toilet cisterns), and the creation of awareness campaigns, such as the placement of signs to reduce water consumption, the training of employees and the development of a manual of good practices. on topics of sustainability and water efficiency.

This is, without a doubt, a landmark step towards carbon neutrality. In line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the European Ecological Pact (Green Deal), the Historic Villages of Portugal Network aims to become the first Network, at the European level, to benefit from an efficient status in the water and energy domains, based on the strategic vision: “Historic Villages of Portugal: a sustainable and pioneering urban network in its contribution to the green growth of low-density territories”.

About Historical Villages of Portugal

Among the hills and valleys of the verdant landscape of the interior of Portugal, full of legends and castles, flavours and traditions, there are 12 simple villages where you want to get lost. Almeida, Belmonte, Castelo Mendo, Castelo Novo, Castelo Rodrigo, Idanha-a-Velha, Linhares da Beira, Marialva, Monsanto, Piódão, Sortelha and Trancoso: the Historical Villages of Portugal, a destination of which there are 12, appear as hidden paradises that take us on a journey through the time of kings and queens, of epic and infinite battles that wrote History as we know it today. They also guarantee unforgettable moments of leisure, adventure and discovery, seasoned with the unparalleled aromas and flavours of the region, which make up its typical gastronomy.

In the territory of the Historical Villages of Portugal, there is an endless number of hiking trails and cycling and mountain biking routes – such as the Grande Route 22, the longest Walking & Cycling route in Europe and Portugal, with around 600 km. Grande Route 22 has the Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe seal, awarded by the European Ramblers Association.

The Historical Villages of Portugal are the first network destination – on a global scale – and the first national destination to receive BIOSPHERE DESTINATION certification. And, in 2020, they were the first destination nationwide to create the “Responsible Tourist Manifesto”, reminding their visitors of the importance of respect for nature.

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