Live in the future: build an eco-friendly home

Written by Adhil Shetty | Updated: Aug 12 2010, 07:16am hrs
Protection of the environment is the new mantra on account of global warming. Global warming has already started creating havoc as is seen with changing weather conditions across the globe. To counter the effects of global warming and protect the environment from any further damage, a wide spread consciousness is being created to adopt more eco-friendly practices. Initiatives such as no plastic day, Earth hour, Earth day are being celebrated to develop a sense of care, respect and concern for the environment. One such step is the concept of a green home, a home that protects the environment, keeps you healthy and saves money.

What is a greenhome

A green home is an eco-friendly house that is energy efficient and utilises less or optimum level of natural resources, recycles and reuses waste for maximum benefit - thus protecting the environment.Agreen house tends to have the best form of natural light, fresh air through cross ventilation, a rain harvesting system, consumes less electricity through solar heaters, cavity walls and other facilities that will not only save you money in the long run but is also benefit your health and environment at large.

Green home doesnt only mean having a garden or a manicured lawn or just having solar water heaters. The design, buildingmaterial used, the plan in place for using recycledwater, and waste and a host of other things are important.

These are things that make a green house.

Some examples of green home projects include

Lotus Boulevard, Noida

Aqualily lake view residences, Chennai

Palais Royale, Worli, Mumbai

Shreeram Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai

Who decides

For a house to be called green home, it has to be rated by Leadership in Energy andEnvironment Design (LEED), India, advocated by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and TERI Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (TERIGRIHA). These two systems have been developed for awarding ratings to green buildings based on the evaluation of design and construction and assessment of their impact on the environment.

As the level of greenness differs, LEED gives four ratings: certified, silver, gold and platinum.

Cost structure

Green houses tend to be more expensive than the normal ones because of the use of appropriate technology and material to attain the objective of saving energy, reducing heat, managing waste and harvesting of water among other things. For instance, high performance glass is used for green houses to keep it cooler. These glasses are much more expensive than the regular ones.

LED lighting which is used in green houses costs thrice as much as normal lighting.

Though it costs more to buy a green home, it should not be deterrent as you will recover the excess you have paid within 2-3 years on account of savings in energy - reduction in usage of artificial light, reduction in usage of air conditioner because of heat reduction insulated roofs and walls that substantially reduce heat ingress. On the other end of the spectrum an optimum usage of resources and buildingmaterials that encourages lowcost building of homes canmake thewhole equation positive for you on every count!


Lower operating costs. Going green will result in savings on operating cost as the structure and layout of the house will be such that it uses alternate sources of energy such as sun, wind - reducing the need for using artificial form of energy. For instance, the layout will be such that it minimises the need to use artificial light. Also, some green houses use insulated roofs and walls that lessen the heat ingress thereby resulting in significant lower air-conditioning loads. Also construction excellence will ensure longer life span of the building reducing repair and maintenance expenditure. So you tend to save a lot on maintenance, power, water through water recycling and water harvesting, Healthier lifestyle. Eco-friendly houses tend to be healthier, because they improve the quality of air inside the house. Proper ventilation ensures optimum oxygen quantity making it healthier.

Environment protection. If you are environment conscious, there is nothing better than starting it with your home. With an eco-friendly house, you will take the first step toward protecting the environment.

Lower interest rates. State Bank of India has introduced GreenHomes, a scheme that offers concessions to environment- friendly residential projects in the form of reduced margin money, softer interest rates (lower by 25 bps), and zero processing fee on home loans. As of now, income tax benefits on green home loans are the same as that for regular home loan.

Home buyers today are very keen on opting for houseswhere facilities such as the gym, swimming pool, tennis court and other amenities are available. They dont mind shelling out extra for such amenities even though they may not end up using many of these facilities available. Why not shell out some extra bit of money and opt for a green house that offers you tangible and intangible benefits which will offset the high cost within 2-3 years of purchase and will also save you money over the life cycle of ownership and in the process protect the environment.

The writer is chief executive officer at