Seeking greener pastures

Seeking greener pastures

Sustainable living

Seeking greener pastures

Traditional burnt bricks for construction, sand and cement for plastering or roofing, can be replaced with other natural materials which are available in plenty, writes  K S Someswara

Urbanisation has led to an increase in the number of concrete structures which have been encroached upon. However, there are also people who are committed to green technologies and construction.

High-rise buildings these days have coloured glass panels to provide an aesthetic look, and these panels can be easily installed and maintained.

But a major drawback is that they emit hot air in the inner and outer surfaces of the building. Due to the absence of natural air, there is extra pressure placed on air-conditioners within the building to provide and circulate air.

This lack of criss-crossing natural air within the building is harmful for the people who reside or work in such places.

But this needn’t be the norm. There are many buildings in and around Bangalore which use concepts of green-building.

An example is the residential locality developed by Biodiversity Conservation (India) Ltd (BClL), CII Training Centre on Magadi Road. Many people enjoy the benefits provided by their green houses.

Use natural resources

Traditional burnt bricks for construction, sand and cement for plastering or roofing can be replaced with other natural materials which are available in plenty.

Apart from providing the building with the necessary strength, these natural materials help sustain it.

The use of natural light during the day and natural air throughout the day will bring down the use of lights, fans and air conditioners which are burdensome during the present power crisis and contribute to global warming.

If all commercial buildings and offices used these features, the maintenance costs of the building would decrease significantly.

Large windows with proper ventilation will help utilise the natural light and fresh air. Suitable designing along with eco-friendly materials can make these buildings energy-efficient and green.

Electrical systems should have energy saving devices.  Using CFL bulbs and tubes as well as electronic chokes for lighting helps in the consumption of less energy by lighting system, fans, etc.

The use of solar energy for water heating instead of electric geysers and boilers will go a long way in saving electricity.

Water management

Water management is essential for an eco-friendly house. Rain water harvesting is gaining popularity, in order to meet the increasing demand for water, especially in urban areas, where the ground water table is being depleted everyday.

This depletion is because in the cities, the rain water falling onto the roofs never reaches the ground. Instead, it enters the drains and is carried away along with other garbage.
The effective use of rainwater by adopting the rainwater harvesting system can meet more than sixty per cent of the water requirements of any building.

This should be made compulsory in all the cities for commercial as well as residential buildings. Drilling individual borewells should be restricted.

In addition, waste water should be scientifically recycled so that it can be put to use for gardening and non-drinking purposes.

Plans should be made for a small garden on every plot. In case there is no place available around the building, roof top gardening should be encouraged so that the greenery around each house is enhanced.

There are many materials that can be used to construct an eco-friendly building. Using a combination of dry stone masonry, earth toned laterite bricks (clay bricks) and quarry dust instead of sand.

Use of fly ash cement which offers a greater volume and less density.A mix of roof slabs and reinforced cement concrete (RCC) can be used for roofing.

Use of finely finished kadapa stones or similar materials which need no polishing or maintenance should be used for the floors.

Use of rubberwood frames for doors and windows. Use of energy saving bulbs and tubes for lighting. Good insulation for refrigerators.

All water taps should be provided with water efficient flush cocks.  Bath taps should have water-saving flow-restrictors to minimise the wastage of water. The use of solar energy for both water heaters and lighting.

Use of bio fuels for generators, motors and solar cells for water pumps.All the above mentioned materials are locally available and have been tested for endurance. They are cost effective and help the environment.