5 steps to a green home

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Mu­niesh­wer A Sagar

Sus­tain­able build­ings are the need of the hour as en­vi­ron­ment and health con­cerns in­crease be­cause of higher lev­els of pol­lu­tion and en­ergy con­sump­tion. Greater sen­si­tiv­ity to en­vi­ron­ment im­pact of build­ings has also be­come more rel­e­vant, par­tic­u­larly in the ur­ban ar­eas.

A green build­ing is “a struc­ture de­signed, built, ren­o­vated, op­er­ated, or reused in an eco­log­i­cal and re­source­ef­fi­cient man­ner. Th­ese build­ings are de­signed to meet cer­tain ob­jec­tives such as pro­tect­ing oc­cu­pant health, us­ing en­ergy, wa­ter and other re­sources more ef­fi­ciently and re­duc­ing the over­all im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment dur­ing con­struc­tion, ren­o­va­tion, op­er­a­tion, main­te­nance and de­mo­li­tion. It is a com­pre­hen­sive method of con­struc­tion that al­lows in­di­vid­ual con­sumer fewer re­sources and has a smaller im­pact on earth. A green build­ing uses less en­ergy, wa­ter and vir­gin ma­te­ri­als while con­struc­tion waste and the pres­ence of toxic prod­ucts are min­imised or elim­i­nated,” says Dr San­jay Ku­mar Sharma, head, civil en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment, Na­tional In­sti­tute of Tech­ni­cal Teach­ers’ Train­ing and Re­search (NITTTR), Chandi­garh.

For a sus­tain­able home, one should “fo­cus on site de­vel­op­ment, ma­te­rial ef­fi­ciency, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, in­door air qual­ity and oc­cu­pants,” says Sharma.

1Site

se­lec­tion: Choos­ing the right site for a house or a pro­ject is the first step. “Proper site de­vel­op­ment en­sures best pos­si­ble use of nat­u­ral and man­u­fac­tured ameni­ties. It is the first step in the de­sign process,” says Himmi Gupta, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor, NITTTR, Chandi­garh.

2En­ergy

ef­fi­ciency: Can be achieved through ac­tive fea­tures like use of re­new­able sources such as so­lar, wind, etc. Also, pas­sive fea­tures – “thick walls, high ceil­ings, ven­ti­la­tors, sky­lights, tall tees, ne­ces­sity of para­pet, bal­conies, ve­ran­das, cav­ity walls, etc can be also be used in the de­sign and con­struc­tion process for greater en­ergy sav­ings,” says Sharma. The tricity is in the com­pos­ite cli­matic re­gion which is char­ac­terised by very hot and dry sum­mer, fol­lowed by a hu­mid sea­son with mon­soon rains. “Build­ings should re­sist heat gain in sum­mer and heat loss in win­ter,” says Bahga. A home owner can in­cor­po­rate th­ese el­e­ments in the de­sign of the house, “ori­ent the build­ings with

longer axis in the east-west di­rec­tion; en­sure ad­e­quate shad­ing on the south side; avoid ex­ter­nally re­flected light from ground and other sur­faces; pre­fer in­ter­nally re­flected light us­ing light shelves or win­dows at a high level. Roof in­su­la­tion, wall in­su­la­tion and cav­ity walls must be cho­sen.

3Ma­te­rial

ef fi­ciency:

“In­cludes us­ing re­cy­cled build­ing ma­te­ri­als to­gether with nat­u­ral el­e­ments in the whole build­ing. One should also re­pur­pose pre­vi­ously used ma­te­ri­als like wood planks, blocks, doors, sup­port beams, etc,” says Gupta.

4Water

ef­fi­ciency: For min­i­mum wastage and op­ti­mi­sa­tion of wa­ter use, one can use dual plumb­ing, ul­tra low-flush toi­lets, low flow shower heads; use re­cir­cu­lat­ing sys­tems for cen­tralised hot wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion; etc.

5In­door

air qual­ity (IAQ):

It refers to the air qual­ity in re­la­tion to the health and com­fort of build­ing oc­cu­pants. “Source re­moval, mod­i­fi­ca­tion or sub­sti­tu­tion, ven­ti­la­tion, air clean­ing, struc­tural bar­ri­ers are some of the meth­ods that can be em­ployed by a home owner for im­prov­ing IAQ,” says Sharma.

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