Architect Sangeet Sharma and Architect Dhruvang Hingmire offer their expert views on how to design sustainable homes
A sustainable home is an environmentally friendly home that conserves energy, makes maximum use of the available resources and creates a healthy indoor environment. Solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems form an integral part of sustainable homes as they improve the energy efficiency of the home and reduce its carbon footprint.
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According to Architect Sangeet Sharma from SD Sharma and Associates, Chandigarh the best orientation of the building takes care of 50% of sustainability. The next step includes good planning to ensure that all the functions and other utilities of the home are strategically placed according to the position of natural light. He says that greenery can be used as a design element in the outdoors as well as the indoors in the form of courtyards or ventilation ducts. Also, the choice of materials that shall be used for the interiors and for finishing other design elements should bring in the best of sustainability.
Architect Sangeet Sharma adds that if you live within an apartment, you can make it sustainable by including a terrace garden and green walls to enhance the look of the home. One must consider an enlarged glazing area for better light and ventilation, the use of low E glass for minimum radiation and opt for fittings or fixtures that consume minimum energy.
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He concludes that the COVID-19 pandemic has made us aware of basic necessities and the need to live a balanced cum moderate life which forms the essence of sustainability.
As per architect Dhruvang Hingmire from Pune who designs homes using local and eco-friendly building techniques, sustainability starts at grass root level itself. Therefore if we are building a home from scratch then we should try and use local materials, local labour and local construction techniques. One must opt for natural materials which use less cement and steel. However in urban apartments, since there are some constraints, we can make our home sustainable with the use of natural materials like brick, lime and surkhi.
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Architect Dhruvang Hingmire concludes that with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people have realised that city life is not safe so they want to permanently live in healthy spaces which are away from the crowded city. As migrant labour has gone back to the villages, the construction activities have stopped and not become normal even after the lockdown has been lifted. Therefore local labour and construction techniques have survived the pandemic, are more sustainable and are here to stay.