June 5, 2021 6:20:08 pm
Going green and building zero energy buildings is the way forward. There is no single standard about what makes a home green. However, as a general principle, it is easier for a home to be truly “green” if it is designed keeping some factors in mind when it is built, said green architect, Nilanjan Bhowal, founder and principal architect of Design Consortium.
This World Environment Day, observed annually on June 5, count on these tips to make your home green.
Use of locally available and manufactured Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) bricks, fly ash bricks to reduce dead load and embodied energy is a good measure. The AAC bricks act as insulators and do not require the use of plastering which means comfort at minimal costs and saving of time.
Site orientation of a green sustainable home
Managing the natural elements, mainly the sun and wind features, helps to create a building that has good orientation features. The north-south orientation minimises direct sunlight during the summer which reduces cooling demands while maximising sunlight during the winter. If not, then there can be east and west-facing windows, which should be either double-glazed or should have a projection or deep balcony covering the window sufficiently.
Placement of fenestration
Maximum number of windows should be placed on the north side of the façade to bring in natural light and reduce glare. Double glazing with high-performance glass for insulation on the west façade helps in saving on air conditioning, keeping the house cooler in summers, warmer in winters and providing good acoustics. Also designing pergolas, louvers, and jaalis helps reduce heat gain and promote ventilation.
Rainwater harvesting can be done in apartments by setting up splashback or use a rain saucer to collect rainwater in separate rainwater harvesting water tanks. This water is made devoid of its impurities and then sedimented and pumped up and used for external purposes such as washing cars etc.
Sewage treatment plant (STP) plays a vital role in the process of removing the contaminants from sewage to produce liquid and solid (sludge) suitable for discharge to the environment or for reuse. Wastewater is produced from toilets, baths, showers, kitchens and then collected in catchment basins and treated in phytorid bed.
Use of sustainable building materials
Use of durable, reusable or recyclable materials like bamboo, jute, wood can help in keeping the environment green. Flyash bricks and AAC blocks must be used for the walls as both of these are natural insulators of heat and are produced from industrial waste. Bricks, wooden door frames, and shutters removed from the building after the demolition of an old building, can also be recycled and reused.
It is one of the most important factors in all green building. All lights should be replaced with LEDs and all electrical appliances should be 5-star rated appliances. Setting up solar panels helps reduce electricity costs because it helps you to produce your own electricity and can be cost-effective in the long run. Solar panels should face the south to an inclination of 15 degrees.
Proper insulation of roof slab also plays a very important role in improving the energy efficiency of a home. White heat reflective tiles are a good option, to reduce heat gain on the roof. Roof plantation with soil (terrace garden) absorbs heat, acting as an insulator, reducing up to seven degrees temperature.
Water which is circulating is good for absorbing suspended particulate matter and helps in reducing pollution. Use of fountains, waterfalls, circulating water can help in reducing the indoor temperature, besides adding to ambience and air quality.
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