How to turn your flat into a green house?
You may not have the advantage of owning a flat in a 'green' certified project, but this does not mean that you can't avail of the green advantage, says Sachin Agarwal, CMD, Maple Shelters.
It is possible to increase the energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact with a few basic measures that do not require the help of an expert, retrofitting or even a lot of expense.
Thanks to a growing awareness about the need to conserve the resources of our planet, a number of ‘green’-savvy products are now on the market. Here’s some advice on how to put them – and your concern – to good use.
How to start
If you consider your home, you can roughly identify four areas to focus on – plumbing, electric lighting and wall paint. We all know that conserving water is important. You can do your bit by upgrading your water dispending facilities. First, install a low-flow toilet. You will save approximately 12-15 litres of water with every flush.
Next, have an aerator fitted on all your water taps. These attachments can be screwed onto most modern water taps. Tap aerators basically create a non-splashing stream of water mixed with air, and are a great water-conserving method that will save your up to half of the typically used amount of water. If your existing taps are not suitable for the fitting of aerators, change them - this small expense will go a long way in water savings.
The next area to focus in flat is lighting. More than 80 per cent of the energy generated by most normal light bulbs is heat rather than light which is a huge waste of electricity. Since the heat is of no use and in fact increases the temperature in home, which means increased use of fans or air conditioners.
Things to consider
This limitation can be overcome by using compact, energy-efficient LED bulbs. These not only last a lot longer but can also save you as much as two-thirds of the electricity you normally use for lighting your home.
Also, the paint on walls has much to do with how environmentally friendly (and healthy) the home really is. The cheaper grades of paints used in most Indian homes invariably include volatile organic compounds and other unhealthy ingredients that are slowly released into the air.
Result: Low-grade toxicity in home’s indoor air and a high risk of allergic reactions among family members.
Become environment friendly
If you have noticed an unaccountable level of allergies or even asthma among them, switch to environmentally friendly water-based paints or low/no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints. These are available at most modern paint stores. Specifically ask for these grades of paint - do not reply on your local painter's advice, since this call for a specialised knowledge.
If you turn a 'green' eye on the home you live in, you will find many more areas that can be improved and optimized for environmental friendliness and energy savings. With the above measures as a starting point, how many more ways can you think of?
For instance, you can install better insulation on your window frames to cut down on heat seepage into the flat and the amount of air conditioned air that escapes. Likewise, you can change your synthetic curtains to ones made of natural fibre, again reducing the amount of toxicity as well as radiant heat in your home.