Green Housing is not just a green home, it is a way of life – responsible, healthy and even affordable! It involves living in harmony with nature and its resources by considering the future costs of environmentally irresponsible behaviour. People often avoid green housing, assuming it to be an expensive choice meant only for the rich and wealthy but once you actually look into it more closely, green housing could actually be more economical in the long run.
So, let’s look into this more closely. What exactly is a green home and why are we talking about it now? Since the 1800s factors like overutilisation and misuse of natural resources, population explosion etc have caused long-term damage to the environment globally.
While earlier we used to talk about melting glaciers and ozone layer depletion elsewhere, nowadays the change in weather and pollution can be felt in our everyday lives. Our world needs more sustainable measures to protect the natural resources for our future generations and a green home does exactly that!
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A house which uses sustainably sourced, environmentally friendly, and/or recycled building materials and is water, energy and carbon emission efficient is called a “Green Home”. While this might seem like a tall order, not only can all these be achieved at an affordable price point, it can also be scaled up.
Affordability and sustainability go hand in hand by using eco-friendly design, moving to greener building materials like AAC Blocks, manufactured sands, SRI paint, low flow fixtures and making efficient use of natural resources. Not only does a green home reduce dependency on non-renewable energy sources but also has a number of other benefits as follows:
- Conserves energy: Green Homes are designed to reduce energy usage by optimising the use of natural resources like using sunlight in the daytime for illumination and renewable sources like solar water heaters. This reduces your dependence on conventional energy usage while also reducing electricity bills side by side. Moving to 5 star rated appliances, LED lights etc can help you save energy at a very nominal cost.
- Conserves water: Fresh water is a very precious resource that is becoming increasingly scarce. Green Homes aim to make water utilisation more efficient. Water conservation techniques like rainwater harvesting help in recharging the ground water level while devices like low flow fixtures and dual flush toilets help reduce daily consumption.
- Promotes healthy lifestyle: We often assume that the air pollution outside doesn’t affect you while you are home. However, with the average Air Quality Index around the world deteriorating, pollution is as much a part of our regular life at home as anywhere else as respiratory infections, heart diseases and lung cancer are becoming common. Installing air ventilators helps keep an uninterrupted air circulation while a low VOC paints have less volatile chemicals thereby limiting emission of harmful chemicals. Green homes are thus not only healthy for the environment but also for us.
How to opt for a green affordable home?
There are two ways to opt for a green affordable home:
1. Create your own green home: Consult with your architect to adopt sustainable practices and devices into your home as you build it from the ground up. This way you can create your customised green home by incorporating sustainable measures based specifically on your requirements. You can then get your green home certified by a relevant authority. Some of the most trusted green building agencies in India are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), and Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) ratings. This can help you evaluate the sustainability of your green home and be eligible for any government incentives.
2. Purchase a green-certified apartment: As you look for your new home, when you enquire from your builder/ broker about a gated community, regular water supply and adequate ventilation make sure to also ask about the green measures taken and if the building has green certification from authorities like IGBC, IFC, GRIHA etc. Based on the rating given by these organisations, you can assess the features of the apartment as per your requirement.
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For people looking to build their new home, it is a wise decision to build a green home or at least create provisions where green measures can be incorporated. There is a noticeable shift in the global regulations around energy usage as countries are building their case towards fulfilling their obligations as per the Paris Climate Agreement. With India taking the presidency of G20, we have started on a path towards a greener future. Usage of sustainable material and equipment while voluntary today could become an obligatory one tomorrow and such foresightedness could prove to be a game changer in the long run.
(By Gaurav Mohta, Chief Marketing Officer, HomeFirst Finance Company. Views expressed above are personal)