Chant these green mantras at home

Chant these green mantras at home

Ecofriendly Use of biodegradable products will help. Photo courtesy: @home

Eco friendliness can begin from within homes. You can incorporate green concepts in your life style and eventually small things can make a big difference.Replacing halogen bulbs with compact fluorescents, using eco-friendly home decor and paint and replacing highly toxic acid cleaners with enzyme-based cleaners that are biodegradable, non-phosphoric and non-chlorinated are good for a start.

“Moreover, non-chlorinated paper towels; hand dryers; and trash bags composed of recycled materials can be used instead of plastic and non-recycled substrates in wash rooms and kitchens. Buy them in bulk and use a gallon jug to refill smaller, reusable containers as opposed to continually tossing disposable containers. Going a step further one can even explore recycled or refurbished furniture parts for lobby areas and home office,” says Puneet Chadha, Director – Graphics Solutions Business, Hewlett Packard India, Imaging & Printing Group.

Rainwater harvesting systems gather water that would have become part of storm-water runoff. This can be used to water houseplants or landscapes, and if properly treated can be for household use. “Start with purchasing energy-efficient equipment only as certified by BEE, use ceramic tiles which is a less heat consuming product, recycled wood for interiors and use of paver blocks or grass pavers instead of concrete driveways,” suggests Sunaina Gera, Vice President of Product Development, Gera Developments Pvt. Ltd.

Also,  you could go in for furniture made of responsibly harvested wood like rubber wood. “There is a growing trend for engineered wood furniture and cabinetry, made out of materials like MDF or coir board. While these are made from recycled raw material, we need to check the chemical glue used in them,” says Anjum Jung, Managing Director, Morph Design Company.

Normally furniture made from ordinary plywood emits high percentage of formaldehyde toxin leading to indoor pollution. Archidply products are treated with Toxin Check Technology that ensures there is no harmful toxic emission or no side-effects. “Instead of buying items new, save and reuse all paper bags, rubber bands, twisties, boxes, and packaging material. Reuse your plastic bags. Purchase rechargeable batteries and a battery recharger (some battery rechargers will also recharge regular alkaline batteries),” says Thomas Johan, Sr GM-Retail operation, @home.

Sunil, Head Design & Development, V3 Engineers adds, “Conventional doors and furniture made from solid wood can be replaced with less energy consuming honey comb internal doors and so on. Internal doors which use honey comb filling instead of solid flush doors which consume huge amount of solid timber slats/pieces. On an annual basis, considerable amount of wood can be saved if it can be replaced with honey comb infill doors.” Likewise fit all your taps with aerators to save on water that you consume which indirectly relates to power you can save.

Showing light

With radical advances in lighting technology, LED lighting can reduce light consumption by 65-75 per cent. In a typical home, roughly 20 per cent of the energy is consumed by lighting. Additionally, adopting energy conserving practices like not leaving lights on when not necessary can further reduce energy consumption by a huge amount. “LED lights being directional light also contribute to significant reduction in light pollution.

“This basically means, light can be directed to only where needed rather than illuminating the entire area. In addition, most lights can be easily integrated with a solar panel and a battery. This completely utilises solar energy and ensures a definite contribution to environment and tapping renewable energy sources.

“LED lighting with solar options provides a lower initial cost option as compared to current CFLs since CFLs consume much higher wattage,” says Sunit Saraswat CEO, Innovlite India Pvt. Ltd.

Adds Palash Nandy, General Manager, Marketing, Legrand India, “for instance an infrared sensor or movement detector which can be used for conserving energy and reducing carbon gas emission.

“If you install a Movement Detector or infrared sensor in a toilet or a passage area the light comes on when there is any kind of movement detected avoiding waste of energy and carbon emission.”

“Use Energy Star Appliances as these meet a high level of energy efficiency, translating into savings on electric bills. Windows with north orientation will provide constant light.”

Cost factor

While all this sounds great, going green comes at a cost. While green solutions maybe heavier on the wallet, it is vital to understand that their eventual benefits far outweigh costs.

“While the current solutions get expensive due to higher involvement of materials and processes to make an end product, the latter one comes out as organic and reusable to derive a higher return on the investment besides being healthier. In fact using HP’s breakthrough printing technology, we can create fabulous home interiors from wall papers to curtains, from doors and windows to theme based table tops. And all this with no environmental hazards and affordable prices,” says Chadha.

Anuradha Eswar, Director Design BCIL-Biodiversity Conservation India Ltd. does not really agree with the price factor being high. “A chair made out of lantana for example could cost you around Rs 300 only. Low VOC paints are very comparable in costs to other regular paints. If LEDs cost you a high rate initially, their pay back through lesser power bills, would encourage you to go in for them. Similarly all other design elements will need a careful scrutiny and selection to ensure that you have contributed your bit to the environment by doing up your interiors in a green manner. You can save a massive amount on expenses spent on medicines by having plants indoor that remove toxins from the environment and improve air quality. Researchers have discovered that office spaces filled with indoor plants reduced incidents of cough by 40 per cent.”

Natural greenery

Adding a dash of green in your home can cool things down while adding an element of attraction that is hard to match. “Use native plants that have been growing and evolving everywhere for thousands of years and, as a result, have adapted to the local soils and climate. Thus, they are more likely to thrive with minimal care, unlike exotic plants, which means less need for water, fertiliser and pesticides,” suggests Jung. A great way to liven up the space and clean the indoor air is to decorate it with plants. Partitions can also be created using flower pots to add a distinctive look to the interiors.

Some of the plants cited as most effective in removing toxic formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air are bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, English Ivy, Gerbera, Daisy, Chrysanthemum and peace lily. “In hot areas, if you have west-facing windows use window tints, blinds, deciduous trees or trellises to help keep out heat from the summer sun.

In general, you will lower your summer air-conditioning bill by planting trees and bushes along the west side of your home,” says Johan. The problem of indoor air pollution can be tackled effectively through indoor gardening. Says Shyam Daga, Managing Director, Archidply, “indoor gardening adds charm to both modern and classic interiors.  Plants like bamboo or reed palm, Tulsi, elephant ear philodendron, and Janet Craig are popular choices.”

Practise the 3Rs - Reuse, Reduce and Recyle, in as many ways as possible - furniture, clothes, books and other resources.

“Be aware of the resources you are using on an individual as well as a community basis, helps you work for present and the future. Learn ways of making compost at home, using your kitchen and garden waste, great way to organic, stay healthy and return to the simple ways of living,” opines Reena Chengappa from My Sunny Balcony. So beat the heat and do your bit to save the environment. It counts!

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