Elements of a Green Home
A Green Home is an all encompassing structure where energy conservation, using renewable sources of power and less wastage of anything that harms the environment and leaves a higher carbon footprint is of prime importance. It entails structure that reduces indoor air pollution, has natural sources of light and ventilation for the majority of the day or year, has provisions for water recycling and rain water harvesting. Essentially, it is an intensive process beginning with the selection of location of the plot, the design of the house, the materials and practices used during construction, fittings and fixtures and the way to consume energy once it is up and running. We are listing down the key elements here: Location Location is the prime consideration for building a home which has limited carbon footprint. A location with dense foliage, public spaces and good air quality makes for a great location because of less air and noise pollution, effective usage of natural sources of light and energy. Structural Design and Materials An effective house design takes into consideration the exposure to sun, air and other natural elements. The orientation and design should be such that the house gets maximum exposure to day light while protecting the structure from UV lights across seasons and throughout the day. The house should be able to benefit from maximum air draft that keeps it well ventilated in absence of fans and other appliances. . It is important for both indoor air quality and the energy efficiency of the home. It should also provide filtration to increase air quality and the best ones will help control moisture which reduces air conditioning costs. A well designed house plan offers great air tightness, high insulation values and good solar heat gain coefficients which goes a long way in maintaining energy efficiency. It is ideal to use paints, polishes and materials that don’t emit harmful chemicals and gases. Insulation & Sealing As important is ventilation, it is essential to seal the indoors for better performance of air conditioners. Sealing also helps in controlling moisture and leakage in the structure. A well thought structure using materials like prefabricated concrete which create a good insulation and thermal envelope should be used. Insulation and air sealing create an indoor environment that is easier to condition and maintain. This leads to lower HVAC costs as well as an energy bill that is easier on the pocket. Water Conservation and Recycling Water conservation includes effective or low usage of available water as well as harvesting rain water and maintaining underground table level. Installing indigenous rain water harvesting systems like pipes from the terraces to rain water barrels which feed underground reservoirs can cater to large requirements of water. Intelligent fixtures like devices that filter water from kitchen and wash basins for usage in toilets should also be used. Energy Efficient Appliances It is imperative to use white goods that consume lesser electricity. Appliances that have higher star rating may have higher upfront cost but are less energy guzzling as compared to cheaper goods. In summary, a green home maintains and increases energy efficiency, uses materials that are less hazardous to the environment, stresses on water conservation and keeps the air well conditioned. The more these elements are incorporated, the greener the house would be. It is ideal to use all these elements; however the degree of “green” solely depends on the decision of the owner. Happy Home Building!!