Green homes: contributing to a healthier lifestyle
The special construction materials used in green homes go a long way in reducing inhabitants’ exposure to toxins and allergens SOME FACTS AT A GLANCE
Green homes c an be defined as living premises that are comfortable, healthy, cost-efficient, energy saving and environmentally sustainable. They are designed to make optimal and efficient use of building materials during the construction process, and energy and water throughout their life cycle. Their larger objective is to achieve a reduced carbon footprint.
The direct benefits to owners are: Savings on electricity and water, a healthier lifestyle and the satisfaction of knowing that they are supporting the important cause of saving the environment – and thereby the planet – for the generations to come.
The increased use of renewable and non-renewable resources by human beings has led to a rapidly escalating global crisis.
We have been exploiting our natural resources to a point where calamities like global war ming, fl ooding, rising temperatures and shrinking water levels have become commonplace.
Thankfully, the current generation has come to understand the importance of sustainable living practices.
There has been a growing acceptance of sustainable solutions that aim to minimise the impact of the processes of habitation and daily living on both environment and human health. A prime tool to this end is a ‘green home’.
While the elements that make up a green home are not universally agreed upon, standards in green modelling of homes do exist.
They extend from minor aspects such as energy- efficient appliances t o l arger ones like rainwater harvesting. I mportantly, green homes projects are designed in such a manner that even during construction, they have the minimum possible impact on the environment at the site level. Solar solutions to offset elec tricity requirements Increased home insulation Double low e-windows Using energy star appliances Water-efficient plumbing fixtures
Non-toxic finishes (sealants and VOC Paints) Water-efficient landscaping and irrigation control Sustainable recycling programmes Maximum natural lighting and ventilation
Green maintenance and plantations
Native plant landscaping
Concepts at project level
Some other characteristics of green homes include standardised construction to minimise waste, and recycling of construction waste, storm water collection/rainwater harvesting, maximum plantation of shade trees and specifically selected building materials to regulate temperature and facilitate minimum use of air conditioning
Green homes contribute to healthier living. The special construction materials used in green homes reduce their inhabitants’ exposure to toxins and allergens. For example, green-grade ventilation ducts act as a barrier for dust particles and moisture, consequently reducing the risk of mildew and airborne particulates.
The use of sealants, paints, wood products and adhesives that integrate volatile and organic chemicals also reduces the exposure to toxicity. More natural ventilation reduces the use of air conditioning, which is known to adverse effects on health when used excessively.
They also help their owners save a lot of money in the longer run. Because of the