Construction Guide

An eco-friendly home, what kind of materials, fittings and fixtures should one use?

  • Design for Natural Light and Ventilation: One of the most important feature when it comes to planning an eco-friendly home is its design. Design your home to ensure adequate natural light and cross ventilation. Large windows, wide verandahs, air channels for circulation, and thermally conducive materials, are all features which reduce the necessity for artificial light and ventilation. It also makes the house look spacious and helps in channelizing the flow of natural energy. An eco-friendly home should inspire you to conserve, care for, and appreciate the environment that surrounds you.
  • Use Sustainable Building Materials: If building an eco-friendly home is your goal, then using environmentally or eco-friendly materials like reclaimed timber, any material that does not have high embodied energy used in its production, like aluminum, glass. It is better to use materials that are earth –based, like mud blocks, terracotta. . All these products reduce the impact of construction on the environment. Also using them conservatively- not in excess, but only where required. The materials must be used functionally, which creates a better aesthetic, rather than using them to create an “artificial aesthetic.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Reduce your need for buying new products that are not environment friendly. Reuse your old material such as wood floors, doors, windows in your next home. Recycled materials such as recycled glass, aluminum, recycled tile, reclaimed lumber, recycled plastic can be used in green home building.
  • Install Solar Panels: Solar energy is clean and renewable source of energy. Solar panels are an emerging and hot technology for people who want to utilize the natural power all around us, the sun. Solar panels may be expensive at first, but the long-term savings you can put into your pocket is a stunning example of the benefits of turning your life from black to green. The location of your house and the way you have constructed solar panels can determine how much power you can collect. By taking advantage of solar power you can bring down your energy consumption and supply excess energy, if any, to your utility company. Also, government grants, incentives and tax breaks are huge bonus to those who want to use solar power in their home.
  • Rainwater Harvesting: Install a rainwater harvesting system while building your green home to collect rainwater from roofs and store it in a tank. The collected water can then be used for other purposes such as cleaning and sprinkler systems. Rain barrels are one of the most common methods of rainwater harvesting being used today.
  • Water Conserving Fixtures: Low flow faucets, toilets, showerheads are few of the ways that you can use while building a green home to conserve water. They can cut down on your water bills and make your home much more environment friendly. Apart from that, consider buying washing machines and dishwashers that give you same kind of cleaning and can save water and energy.

Why is it important to invest in a planet-friendly home?

The world as we know it has limited resources. It is our responsibility to ensure that these scarce resources are used in a prudent manner. One of the basic ways in which we can make a difference to society is by investing in a planet-friendly home. Planet-friendly homes or green homes take into account each and every aspect of design and construction and has the power to change the way we live. It enhances and can reinforce the intention of any community. It is a tool to create environments that are responsive to climate, location and human needs. Scientific understanding of structural requirements, properties of materials, efficient engineering, and construction are some of the important foundations on which green homes are ideated and built. Shelter, is a basic human requirements and thus investing in a planet-friendly home is the most important need of the hour; if we want to preserve this beautiful world for our future generations.

How can one convert a non-green home to an eco friendly one? What alternations/additions can one make?

Being environmentally friendly simply means having a lifestyle that is better for the environment. One can convert a non green home to an eco-friendly one by taking small steps towards mother earth so as to make this planet a better place for our communities and generations to come. A good way would be to start with conserving water, driving less and walking more, consuming less energy, buying recycled products, eating locally grown vegetables, joining environmental groups to combat air pollution, creating less waste, planting more trees and many more.

Author:  Natasha Iype, Director, GoodEarth

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