It's Easier Than You Think: How To Build Eco-Friendly Houses
At a time when global warming and climate change are pressing issues, our inventions have a significant impact on the environment and the ecosystem. The construction industry is important to support the rapidly growing populations’ living aspirations, but certainly not at the cost of mother nature.?
It may be news to you, but the construction industry together with the material industry, are major consumers of natural resources.?
Why we need sustainable construction
India, considered as one of the largest countries in the world, with over a billion people. The speed of rapidly growing inhabitants of the country has led to swift urbanization, giving way to numerous challenges like pollution and unsustainable construction practices. A sustainable use of natural resources play a vital role in the development of sustainable construction in a country like ours. There are methods which can control the use of natural resources and make the living environment more safe and healthy for all of us.?
Here, the concept of green building - which is present in both the US and Europe with around 50 percent of all non-residential construction construction classified as green buildings - comes into play. This makes it evident that the green building concept is not just a fad, it is here to stay.?
According to reports, every leading construction company uses around half of all non-renewable resources which are consumed by the mankind,?making it as one of the least sustainable industries in the world.?
The construction majorly takes about 50 percent of water, 60 percent of material for building, and leads to 80 percent of land loss to agriculture and farming. Therefore, the need of the hour is to start implementing sustainable construction practices, that have a positive impact on the environment, both during the construction phase and the lifespan of it.
Techniques to implement sustainable construction:?
There are multiple eco-friendly building materials that have emerged, which can help reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry. Some eco-friendly materials are as follows:?
Porotherm smart bricks:
This is an extremely resource-efficient brick also called REB, that combines precision technology with a sustainable construction process and guarantees fast construction. This saves time, is labour friendly, ensures consistent quality and does not need any water or sand. It also enhances thermal protection and offers unmatched dimensional tolerance. There is also no wastage in this.?
This sand is prepared by crushing hard granite stone, is readily available and reduces a lot of transport cost. It is devoid of impurities which are present in conventional river sand, and gives a stronger foothold during construction.?
Reclaimed or recycled metal:?
Recycling is the way forward for sustainability. There are so many materials that consume a lot energy while being manufactured. For example, manufacturing usable metal involves several steps like mining the ore, heating and shaping products and then transporting a relatively heavy material.?
If you consider recycling or reclaiming metal, it can be properly and efficiently reused to make new products.?Recycled metal is a long-lasting material which can be used in construction of new sites. It does not need frequent replacement.?This can be used for roofing structural supports and building facades.?It’s also water and pest-resistant.?
This innovation in itself is a big picture of sustainable construction. Grass, plants, flowers, bushes and other greenery grows on the roofing material. This also helps in collecting storm-water which is absorbed by the soil and can be managed more easily than with a bare roof. Heating and cooling costs are also reduced, which helps in saving energy. The best benefit is improvement in the quality of air around the constructed site.
Another way to leverage a sustainable solar energy source is to construct the building based on the passive solar concept. The facility’s location and design can maximize solar energy for heating during winter, while reducing its impact during warmer months.?
Minimizing water use is achieved by installing grey-water and rainwater catchment systems that recycle water for irrigation or toilet flushing, water-efficient appliances, such as low flow shower heads, self-closing or spray taps, low-flush toilets or water less composting toilets.?
A rainwater harvesting unit is essential:
Surface water is inadequate to meet our demand and we have to depend on groundwater. Due to rapid urbanization, infiltration of rainwater into the subsoil has decreased drastically and recharging of groundwater has become an issue.
As you read this guide, seriously consider conserving water by harvesting and managing this natural resource by artificially recharging the system.?
Health components of green building:?
Using non-toxic materials and products will improve indoor air quality and help discourage allergy, sick building syndrome and breathing disorders like asthma. These materials are emission-free, these do not have VOC content or have relatively lesser VOC content. They are also moisture resistant, to deter mould and spores.?
Controlling environmental waste such as plastic is a major concern. Bricks made from soft plastic waste that can each withstand six tonnes of pressure and relentless rain could replace the clay bricks currently used to build rural homes, especially in monsoon prone areas. This can make a significant difference in sustainable construction and help utilise all the waste plastic polluting the environment.?
Illustration By Ranak Mann