Using eco-friendly material in house construction, coupled with measures to cut down electricity bills and safety hazards, would go a long way in saving natural resources. Radha Prathi throws light on how we could learn a thing or two from our ancestors in proper planning and good sense.
The increasingly polluted world requires mankind to wake up to some harsh realities like the fact that he is unconsciously heading towards his own destruction. It is high time man starts taking to eco-friendly measures in every walk of life to salvage the damage done, in as many ways as possible.
While building homes in future, man can learn a lesson or two from his ancestors who derived their resources from nature and constructed shelters for themselves. Archeological surveys across the globe have revealed that ever since man has evolved, he has felt and acknowledged the need to be sheltered from inclement weather conditions quite like other living beings. The natural caves chosen as residence by the Palaeolithic man had all the makings of a rudimentary home. Soon, man started observing life around him and learned to glean know-how from around him and build secure livable homes deriving his sources from nature. But then mankind has come a long way since those ages.
Road to congestion
Expansive knowledge of science and technology, industrialisation and urbanisation has set in like never before, mobilising the world’s population towards the ever-growing cities, especially in developing nations like India. As a result, startling realities of life like congestion and pollution are ruling the roost in urban areas, leaving very little to be desired, especially in Indian cities which have not been planned keeping future trends in mind.
In such a scenario, it is best to follow up the idea of using eco-friendly building material in the new upcoming buildings to the maximum possible extent. A talk with your discerning builders or architects will reveal to you that judicious use of biodegradable and non biodegradable building products can result in a strong, sleek, modern home with all the basic and latest facilities at very reasonable prices.
Of late, several architects are floating firms which emphasise using eco-friendly material and are educating their prospective buyers and owners about the silver lining in making such a choice.
The Mantra that rules these thoughts happens to be that, even if we are not successful at saving energy we can avoid using it to the maximum possible extent. This by itself is a very positive step towards cutting on global warming.
What you can do
Here are a few eco-friendly options suggested by leading architects you could incorporate if you happen to be in the process of building a new home or renovating an old one. You will find that these measures will not only create a healthier atmosphere, but will also prove to be easier on your purse as you can do away with heavy electricity bills which are mostly a result of using lights during the day and using air conditioners.
One could always do away with the extensive use of glass, metals like aluminium, stainless steel, polycarbonates and high density plastics. This could be done by way of partition walls within buildings and on the exterior, as they have a penchant to trap and retain heat which can be detrimental to the health of the inmates of the building, who may spend long hours in there. Granite, processed plywood or Cuddapah stone can be used to substitute these materials effectively as they will not only lend a majestic look but will also keep the interiors of the building cooler.
Nowadays, it has become very fashionable to have glass or polycarbonate cubicles, partition walls, doors and windows. Though they lend a very elegant transparent look to the place, the former is prone to breakage while the latter can get scratchy and smoky after a while.
Besides, these materials have a tendency to warm up the place because of their non-porous state. Use of terracotta, bamboo or wooden grills wherever possible, can prove to be a perfect substitute, for it is mandatory that your building is ventilated well to let in sunlight and air, in abundance.
Use of terracotta sumps and overhead tanks instead of plastic ones will not only keep the water cool but will also keep it clean. If some of these measures are taken seriously by architects, builders, interior decorators and prospective house owners alike, we will not only be supporting the livelihood of several potters, carpenters and artisans, but will indirectly promote indigenous economy and rejuvenate a dying art which is eco-friendly.
Recycling is another option that can prove to be cost-effective and add an old- world charm to your home. Old homes situated in the heart of the cities which are being demolished to make way for high-rise buildings, usually sell doors, windows, swings, corrugated sheets, gates, wooden rafters and wooden decks among other things which can be bought and used in your new premises.
Wheel of progress
When we take practical realities into consideration, it is obvious that one cannot turn the wheel of progress back and unlearn all that we know. Hence it is best to use one’s discretion when using non biodegradable material in construction.
For instance, eco-friendly homes do not necessarily mean shunning plastics. They can be used in the most advantageous by way of PVC pipes that conduct water, sewage and electricity cables without giving way to seepage and breakage. They can be used in doors which are exposed to water all the time or in knobs and taps among other things that require being light and strong.
Once your home is built on lines which do not dominate the forces of nature, it is needless to say that you will take a lot of care to decorate it in a complimentary manner. For, conservation of natural resources and abstinence from using non-biodegradable materials can go a long way in saving our planet earth…