Green route beckons you

Green route beckons you

Green route beckons you

The threat of global warming is looming large over our planet. When such is the case, shouldn’t we do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint? Green homes would be ideal. And, if you think designing green homes would prove to be an expensive affair, then you are completely wrong. For, green homes do not cost much at all.

In fact, they end up helping you save quite an amount over a period of time.

And, designing green homes can be fun as they are homes that are ideally constructed with smart design and require minimal maintenance. Most of all, they help us feel good about the fact that we care about our environment.

Solar power

The first step in designing a green home would be to design it in such a way as to allow a good amount of sunlight and fresh air to stream in, while also making provisions for the use of solar power to the maximum.

The extensive use of solar energy not only saves energy costs, but also helps us reduce our carbon footprint. So, everything from solar ovens to solar heaters and solar lights could be incorporated in the designing of a green home. Luckily for us, with the spread of green awareness, most architects and builders are now following green principles in their design, making our jobs easier.

Pure raw materials

No wonder, the use of eco-friendly building materials like cellular lightweight concrete blocks, sun-dried bricks, bamboo-based products, clay roofing tiles, cement paint and calcium silicate boards and tiles are getting more popular. The availability of energy-saving air conditioners and high performance glass windows also add to the green plan of the house.

This is not all. A trend that’s fast gaining ground among home builders is the use of ayurveda for construction. Yes, you heard it right. In such eco-friendly homes, while bricks and floor tiles are made of medicated clay, a mixture of lime, mud and medicinal herbs are used for plastering. Since cement is considered to be loaded with toxins and other harmful chemicals, it is generally avoided.

The use of such organic building materials not only reduces building costs, but also ensures the good health of its inhabitants, it has been argued.

Another green measure that can be undertaken in our effort to be environment-friendly is to go in for the use of locally available materials. Such materials not only require minimum processing, but also save on transportation costs. They will also be in sync with the local weather. In addition, they will be cheaper, abundantantly available and renewable.

The very fact that rainwater harvesting is made mandatory for sites exceeding certain dimensions shows that people are slowly waking up to the fact that finding green solutions to environmental problems plaguing our planet is within our reach.

People are also seeking water saving solutions like never before and are composting toilets. The use of low water capacity toilets, flow restrictors on shower heads and diversion of water from kitchen and bathroom sinks to the garden are some of the ways in which water can be utilised better.

Wood is an indispensable part of construction. Agreed. But, every care should be taken to use it judiciously as saving our forests is also of utmost importance. One way of using wood in an environment-friendly way is by going in for sustainably harvested trees where the trees are harvested with the health of the forest in mind. By using such wood, we are not only doing our bit to save the planet, but are saving the forests too.

Whenever we are talking of green homes, the importance of three R’s cannot be emphasised enough – Reuse, Recycle and Reduce. Don’t needlessly throw away things. For instance, don’t throw that old plastic tub out of the window.

Reuse it either as a pot holder or as a dustbin. Cover it with colour paper for a new touch. The same principle of reuse can be applied to almost anything at home that you think is redundant.

Construction materials can also be reused in the same manner. Just walk up to your local junk market and you can stock up on recycled items and old building materials to reuse. Everything from doors and windows to tables and sinks are available at these markets at throw-away prices.

All such materials require is a good coat of paint or polish and they will be as good as new. The use of such materials helps us conserve the raw materials that would have otherwise been drawn from nature to manufacture them. At the same time, the construction cost will also come down drastically.

Reusing old building materials has its own advantages too. Take for instance wood. The older the wood, the better it is as it would have cured well by weathering over several seasons.

Above all, make it a point to build a home that is just right in size for its occupants. The smaller the house, the lesser the need for building materials and energy for its construction and upkeep.

So, go green and see the difference it makes to your life, and the environment.

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