We often buy/build spaces and properties without paying much attention to basics. And we usually land up with many problems, use of an enormous amount of energy being the most important one. Thus, it is important to educate oneself before getting started, be it buying a property or stepping into an architect’s office for further assistance. After all, the more informed you are, the better it is!
Only if you are aware, you’ll be able to:
- Build and stay happy in an energy-efficient house
- Reduce running/electricity costs, and
- Most importantly be free from unnecessary expenditure required for keeping the heat of your home
How can you achieve all of the above?
Up-to-date knowledge, five simple steps and you’ll be there. Yes, it’s that easy!
Orientation is the key
Orienting your house with respect to the sun definitely, tops the lot! The front of the house should preferably face north-south. Make sure the east-west of the facade is shaded. Not many of you would know that while windows on the north side let less solar radiation and more daylight in, windows on the south side help gain sunlight during winters. Following these basics can help you reduce heating and cooling costs by 85%.
Light Roofs V/s Dark Roofs?
It is learnt that about 60-70% of the heat a building absorbs is through the roof. To keep homes cooler and pleasant during scorching heat, it is advised to use highly reflective materials that absorb less heat and reflect more light. While dark roofs (absorb latent heat from sunlight) can reach a temperature of 90 degrees on hot,sunny days, light-coloured roofs or putting white tiles(reflect back the heat in the air) can be helpful in keeping the material surface temperatures much lower (below 55 degrees). In order to function to their full reflective capacity, white and light-coloured roofs should be kept free of dust and debris, so the radiant capacity of the roof can be reduced by 20%.
Cross ventilation is very important
Not many notice, but the way the openings to direct airflow inside the home are designed, plays an important role in overall energy saving mechanism. More than being just holes in the wall that you open and close to let the cool breeze in, windows play an important role in cross ventilation. It is very important to position the windows to facilitate cross ventilation. Best cross ventilation can be achieved by providing a small low-level opening for the cool breeze to enter and a large opening on the downside of the home to let it exit. You must go for openings between rooms; it could be anything– transom windows, grills, louvers or even open plans that complete the airflow circuit.
Say Yes to double pane window
If you want to reduce the heat transfer inside the house, it’s better to go for double glazed windows. Consequently, the AC consumes less energy. What more you can do? Use blinds with curtains as an insulator. Pretty cool, we know! By the way, they look beautiful too! These are some of the things you can do yourself for a quick fix.
Trees as immediate neighbours
Well, the last step is the simplest of all, as we all can follow it besides the above four steps. You wouldn’t mind trying this one. If you don’t know already, shade trees are quite instrumental in keeping the house cool. Also, do you know that planting a tree on the west side can reduce net carbon emissions? Wondering which ones to plant? Go for deciduous trees such as neem, peepal, arjun, sal, curry etc. that have a green cover during summers and shed leaves during winters. Also, make sure you plant trees that grow at least 10 ft. taller than the window (within 20ft). Additionally, grow vines near paved areas to have a cooler home.