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

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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

Wide-rang­ing ben­e­fits

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

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