Sunday, April 17, 2011

Building Green: Make your Home And Society Green

In today's world conserving energy resources is the need of the hour. And with Earth day approaching on April 22, it is imperative to start thinking about building a greener future using "green and sustainable" architectural practices. These include methods that reduce energy consumption during construction and while using the space after completion. There are several "green" practices that i have followed for a number of years when constructing energu efficient buildings, keeping in mind the local climate and, of course, exorbitant energy costs.
You can also follow green construction practices by using:

1. Local manufactured materials to construct your house. Not only will this be more economical, it will conserve transportation energy.
2. Double walls with insulation in between. This reduces heat absorption and hence the load on ACs. Although these walls cost almost three times as much as ordinary walls, you will save a lot in the long run, price: Rs 140-190 per sq ft.
3. Recessed windows with insulated/reflective glass reduce heat absorption and curtail the cost of energy. Although insulated glass comes with a high price tag compared to regular glass, the payback is high in terms of energy costs and comfort within the building. Make sure the windows are placed in a manner that maximises cross ventilation. Price: rs 350 per sq ft.
Insulated roofs reduce heat absorption and cut down on energy costs considerably. price: Rs 50-80 per sq ft. Additionally, insulation materials such as cork and thermo pole sheets installed on the roofs keep spaces cool and lower energy consumption, price: Rs 220 per sq ft.
5. Solar panels are a great way to conserve energy as they use heat from the sun to produce energy, without any running costs. We are currently using solar panels to heat water, thus eliminating the use of gas geysers. Price: Rs 170,000 and above.
6. Windmills, which are primarily used to produce energy for large scale projects, are also an effective way to conserve energy. Although spatial limitations and hefty price tags are slight drawbacks, the conversational benefits and reduced energy costs make up for this in the long run. Price: 85 million rupees.

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