Like charity, eco-friendliness too begins at home. A green home is an approach to the design and interiors of a house. It is a design that respects the environment and conserves the depleting resources. Green architecture, as it is popularly known, is the art of designing homes while considering environmental growth. Contrary to popular belief, green homes are cost-efficient, comfortable and easily sustainable. The purpose is to minimize the impact on the environment by moderate use of energy, developmental space and building materials.
Apply the four Rs; Replant, Refuse, Reuse and Recycle. Factors that help reduce energy consumption are used to create greener pastures. A carefully designed opening under a shaded roof allows the movement of cool air. Use of materials such as bamboo instead of steel makes any space energy efficient. Jali walls render cross ventilation keeping the house cool while curved walls reduce heat gain. A water body on the western side allows fresh air to pass through. The top layer of black cotton soil that is discarded during construction can be reused for landscaping gardens. Plant trees like there is no tomorrow. Well, if one doesn’t do so, there may be no tomorrow. Trees can do wonders, saving up to 30 per cent of heating costs.
Be Green - Par / Are you Green - Par
Do an energy audit and see what needs to be brought up to ‘green-par’. Atop the roof, one could also place a turbo ventilator that sucks the hot air out of the house and releases it outside through a wind catcher. Also, house your water tank on the roof. When out shopping, look for the Energy Star label on all appliances. An interesting observation is that if one uses ferroconcrete in their homes instead of RCC, the house saves up to 71,426 tonnes of energy per year by not using an air conditioner and artificial daytime lighting!
Green your D-eco-r
Treat your home décor in a thoughtful manner. Honour each room as though they all are singing together in a symphony orchestra. The ideas are aplenty. For example, handmade paper fitted between two glass panels. Natural cudappah stones could be used for flooring. Spread a bamboo area rug or a sea grass area rug to soften walking areas. Glass walls on at least one side of the room helps save energy and reduce bills! Solar panels for hot water, windows strategically located to cut down on direct sunlight but yet avoid the use of artificial light. The main focus while designing an eco friendly palace should be to conserve energy, cut down construction and maintenance expenditure without compromising on luxury and comfort.
Elements of Nature
Picture this. Diffused natural light, the rustle of swaying leaves, a murmur of flowing water, the hushed whisper of the afternoon breeze and the distant peal of wind chimes; now picture living surrounded by all of the above. Most homes today are designed keeping in mind the five elements of nature – earth, water, fire, sky and space. To exemplify, fire would be indicated by candles, oil lamps and the colour red. So you could have red décor like throw pillows or flowers. Water is represented by the colours blue and aqua. Fountains, fish tanks or clear glass exhibit this element of nature. Earth is a grounding element, hence, a yellow, brown or cream rug, potted plants, earthenware bowls display this element. Sky is represented by open air spaces such as lawns, backyards and such. A green home draws from nature and incorporates that into the house. Merging with nature on a tree top and living in a customized deluxe tree house high above ground levels! This may not be de-rigueur statement-y but it sure is an idea worth trying!
Walk the Eco line
Design your home with eco-awareness. It is healthier, safer and more cost-effective than other homes. Save money while you save the environment. Smart homes are built from eco friendly materials and eco friendly building methods. You don’t need to be a dirt-worshipper to fall in the bracket of environmentally friendly. Just look around your home. Do a recon of your spaces. Give them a green renaissance. The trend is to be high-tech but at the same time be highly eco-friendly too. The twain can meet if man doesn’t come up with a better mousetrap! But wait a minute, even if he does, nature immediately comes up with a better mouse.