Making architecture greener

Traditionally, energy efficiency is the methodology of replacing services with provisions that lead to lesser energy consumption. In the day and age of global warming, this methodology has gained a significant amount of importance in every field, including that of real estate.

In simple terms, energy efficiency is understood to mean the utilization of energy in the most cost-effective manner to carry out a manufacturing process or provide a service, whereby energy waste is minimized and the overall consumption of primary energy resources is reduced.

As an ode to the norms of the 21st-century real estate, energy efficiency is an integral service provided, that not only benefits the customer but also reduces the overall maintenance cost. Pertaining to the benefits of energy efficient living, immense research has and is been undertaken to come up with methods that satisfy and suit a particular environment in which the site happens to be located.

Architectural tweaks to achieve Energy Efficiency

Insulation

Heat loss and gain © Square One

The method of insulating the ceiling will not only help reduce the amount of heat entering your home when it’s hot, but also trap the warmth inside when it’s cold. The use of Glass wool for the thermal insulation of external walls and ceiling has been shown to reduce energy consumption by 20% to 30%. Glass wool is manufactured from widely available and renewable raw materials and provides environmental benefits in terms of resource saving and energy saving in every stage from pre-manufacturing to end use.

Cross-ventilation

Cross ventilation © Square One

In order to keep the airflow continuously circulating throughout the day, cross-ventilation is necessary. This can be achieved simply by opening windows or doors on opposite sides of your home so the breeze can flow freely. Moreover, new research and design techniques ensure a greater volume of space for air to circulate through the provision of higher ceilings, wide entry halls, and sliding stacker doors or bi-folds.

Increased exposure to daylighting

Improved usage of daylight

Provision of larger windows on the North and East facades can help increase the intensity and the amount of natural light received by the indoor spaces. This can help reduce the number of artificial light resources used, leading to an optimization in terms of power saving. This is also advantageous in terms of lower operating and maintenance costs.

Material usage

High reflection glass © Square One

Use of fly ash bricks during construction can lead to a reduction in pollution. Finishing materials in the form of high-performance reflection glass are used since their outer reflective coatings are designed to reduce the transmission of solar radiation, thereby blocking excessive heat. This method is classified as passive solar architecture.

Use of energy efficient services

Smart utilisation of resources © Square One

Energy efficiency can be defined as the ratio between the energy service that can be provided to the energy that is consumed. A product or service is considered energy efficient if it delivers more for the same amount of inputs or delivers the same amount with fewer inputs. Some of the examples include high-performance reflection glass, energy conservation lamps, water recycling and rainwater harvesting facilities. Though an increase in the construction cost is expected due to these options, it becomes a one-time investment because the maintenance costs for these products and services become quite insignificant over time.

Taking it one step further

With a population this large, it is the need of the hour to conserve resources. This can be done only if norms set out for energy efficient construction are followed effectively. Even though the climatic and geographical conditions differ in almost every state of India, efforts have been made to construct energy efficient and self-sustainable buildings all over the country. Agencies such as LEED, IGBC O&M, BEE- ECBC and TERI GRIHA help developers with the implementation of techniques required for energy efficient structures and then subsequently receive a green certification for it.

About the author:

Mahika Kothawade, studying in the 2nd year of Architecture, also has a keen interest in the art of journalism. This fascination has driven her to keep an up-to-date knowledge of architecture as well as current affairs, fashion and films.

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