Thursday, December 11, 2014

High time we go green

A well-designed green building will save money and create a healthier environment for the people who are residing or working there. It gives improved air quality, natural daylight and thermal comfort. The idea behind it is that the entire building should breathe.
 
In a city like Bengaluru,  growing at an astronomical pace, the concept of green building is, sadly, still a new chapter. Saving water, energy and building material can reduce or eliminate adverse impact of the buildings on environment and for the occupants.
 
For any green building following three 'R's are a must:
*Rapidly renewable material like bamboo, fly ash and the like.
*Recycled materials, reused building materials.
*Regionally-sourced materials such as clay, bricks and granite.
 
This apart, compulsory adoption of rain water harvest system in every building and using recycled water are also part of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification programme.
 
Many buildings, both commercial and residential, are using various efficient ways like streamlining the energy expenditure using hybrid cooling system (air/water cooled/chilled) for air-conditioners, solar-powered landscape lighting and low- energy consuming light fixtures (LED, for instance).
 
A typical green building consists of recycled building materials, low-toxic-low-embodied energy, high bio-degradability and is still able to maintain long durability. Good indoor air quality is also a part of this concept. Passive solar design, daylight harvesting, use of renewable energy like solar, wind and bio-mass will add to the efficiency of green buildings.
 
Green buildings cut down energy consumption levels and also increase the productivity levels in any work place by more than 10 per cent and reduce the attrition level. According to many surveys, buildings constitute for about 40 per cent of the world's total energy, about 25 per cent of wood harvesting and 15 per cent by way of water. It is also responsible for about a third of the greenhouse gas emission that causes global warming.
 
Going green, especially in small houses, is easy. There are many eco-friendly products available in the market, which are quite affordable and worthy of use in the long-run.
 
*Indoor air quality at home has a great impact on health. It is actually directly  connected to the paint used. Eco-paints and strainers help reduce health hazards like headache, nausea, respiratory disorders and dizziness.
 
*Energy-efficient homes need holistic approach for true sustainability. It must be properly air-sealed, have high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and must be of the right size to suit the building.
 
*Using air-tight ducts for good circulation and double-panel, low-emittance windows will retain good indoor air quality.
 
*Using low-flow fixtures and small landscaping can help reduce usage of water.
*Residents can make eco-responsible choices, by using rapidly renewable
  fabrics like cotton, silk and wool.
*Selecting low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints and integrated furnishing made    from recycled wood and metals can make a big difference.
*Roof with solar panels and green roof are other eco-friendly options. Many western countries, including the US, are going in for more and more green ventures in building construction.In Denmark, for example, there is a multi-use building complex: A dwelling area, along with space for office and retail stores, built into a single part. The complex also includes two large court yards basking in bright sunlight and cooling in greenroofing. Another speciality is the bicycle path, which runs up to the tenth floor; it's a smart way to reduce the usage of elevators and escalators! It's about time we begin to tread the green path.