Everything you need to know about eco-friendly homes


The concept of construction of eco-friendly or green buildings have gained popularity globally

With the world facing climate change and global warming issues, more and more people are now supporting the creation of sustainable spaces, which are environmentally more sensitive and ecologically less harmful and polluting. Building eco-friendly homes is a step in this direction. Also known as green homes, the concept of eco-friendly or green buildings has gained popularity globally, especially in India and China. Here is everything you need to know about eco-friendly homes.

 

Everything you need to know about eco-friendly homes

 

What is an eco-friendly house?

An eco-friendly or a green home is an environmentally low-impact house, exquisitely designed and built using materials and technology that reduces carbon footprint and requires less energy consumption.

 

What are the features of an eco-friendly home?

An eco-friendly home or a green building may have any one or all of these features:

  • Any eco-friendly home’s key component is thermal insulation, as it not only reduces electricity consumption but also brings down carbon emissions. Currently, the market is flooded with eco-friendly alternatives to traditional insulation materials, which do not contain chemicals and additives. If your home has any kind of renewable, non-toxic and biodegradable insulation material, it is an environmentally friendly home.
  • Water conservation is another important component of an eco-friendly home. Rainwater harvesting, low-flow taps and water-efficient appliances, help you to conserve water in an eco-friendly home. The water that is conserved, can be used for other non-drinking purposes, such as watering gardens, washing the car or for use in toilets.
  • Another key feature of an eco-friendly home is its energy source. Regular homes rely on fossil fuels, while in an eco-friendly home, solar panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps, are used to generate energy in a cost-effective way. This reduces the reliance on non-renewable sources of energy. Home owners should know that the installation of renewable sources of energy comes at a huge cost but in countries like India, the government offers subsidies and facilities to encourage people to adopt renewable energy sources.
  • Smart technology is one of the newest features to be added in eco-friendly homes. Using smart technology to lessen your carbon emission, is an innovative way to make your home eco-friendly. For example, smart thermostats can regulate the temperature in your home. Similarly, smart lighting can turn off the lights when there is no one in the room. It involves making use of technology more efficiently, as per your routine, to minimise the wastage of energy.
  • Most of the appliances now have star ratings, which showcase the amount of energy it will consume. A five-star rated product consumes less energy than a three-star rated product. These products can save a lot of energy, without having to sacrifice any feature or functionality.
  • One of the important features of an eco-friendly home, is the availability of natural light and ventilation. An eco-friendly house should be constructed in a way that it takes advantage of these resources, which also results in a healthier indoor environment and life.

See also: Smart Homes: Things you should know before investing

 

How to convert your existing home into an eco-friendly home?

Here are some tips, to convert your home into an eco-friendly one:

  • Switch to CFL and LED bulbs and tube lights, as these are more energy-efficient.
  • Install smart sensors for lights, which could be adjusted as per one’s requirement.
  • Unplug appliances when you are not using them.
  • Make provision for natural light to come in. Use light-coloured curtains, to make the most of available sunlight.
  • Grow indoor plants which act as natural air filters. You can also opt for plants that absorb pollutants from rugs, furniture and other equipment.
  • If you have a terrace or a backyard, nurture a small garden, as it helps in reducing soil erosion. You can also compost kitchen leftovers such as tea leaves, eggshells and vegetable skin, as they are great sources of manure.

See also: Kitchen gardening for beginners

  • Install a rainwater harvesting system, to save water and use it for other purposes such as cleaning or watering the garden.
  • Use low-consumption faucets and shower heads, to conserve water.

 

Pros and cons of eco-friendly homes

Pros Cons
Green buildings carry an edge in a competitive market. Consider it as a USP. The initial building cost is very high.
Green buildings are the future. Hence, consider it as an investment to improve its resale value. Green construction materials are not readily available.
If you are generating surplus energy using renewable energy sources, you can send it back to the grid to earn additional income. Finding contractors who can work with green building materials is hard.
Natural lighting improves the health and productivity of the occupants. Green building materials are expensive and construction is more time-consuming than when using traditional materials.
At some places, green buildings attract tax benefits, grants and other subsidies. Not all ‘green’ materials are eco-friendly. A lot of research is required to find a suitable material that can actually make a difference.

 

FAQ

How many rating systems for green building certification are available in India?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment), are the common rating systems used in India for green buildings.

What are the disadvantages of green building?

The biggest deterrent towards the adoption of eco-friendly homes, is the additional initial cost incurred.

What does ‘eco’ stand for in eco-friendly homes?

Eco is short for ecology.

 

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