For passive cooling of your home

Ventilated filler roofVentilated filler roof

The design behind ventilated cavity filler roof. By architect Sathya Prakash Varanashi

Global warming is happening much earlier than ever predicted, at which rate we may leave nothing for our future generations. While it is mandatory on all of us to reduce our consumptions, wastages, trash generation and such other measures, it is equally important to devise ways of comfortable living without depending upon energy and electricity.

Cavity roofs have been a part solution towards passive cooling, with embedding clay pots, hollow filler tiles and such others. However, during extreme summers even the hollow clay tiles are becoming less effective.

Heat gets transferred through conduction and convection, the former through solid materials and the latter through voids and spaces. When the building terrace receives direct sun rays, it gets heated up and starts to pass the heat downwards into the room below. Even the voids inside the hollow clay filler roof would let heat go through it, for this trapped air also gets heated with the surface heat being very high. In other words, the present day hollow clay filler roofs will let heat transfer through both the processes of conduction and convection, the void being a sealed one.

In case the trapped air inside the void which gets heated up is not sealed, but move across to let cool air in, then the heat transfer would somewhat reduce. This can be achieved by inserting a small length of electrical conduit pipe between the voids of the hollow clay filler blocks, which are embedded within the RCC roof.

Once all the blocks are in place, small length of pipes are inserted such that their ends are within the void of the filler block. It is not a continuous end-to-end pipe, which serves no purpose at all, but short connections between the voids. As the air inside the void gets heated up, it moves along the pipes to equalise the heat all over the filler block. At the edge block, this hotter air moves out of the block itself, while cooler air enters the voids from the other end.

Between the two outside edges of the slab, one would have breeze called windward direction and the other end will not have much air movement, called leeward direction. Air moves from windward to leeward directions, in the process pushing out the hot air accumulated inside all the voids of the filler roof. This would reduce the heat gain inside the room.

The ends are finished with slight bend to block rain water. Pipe pieces should not move so much that their end is within the tile gap which gets filled by concrete, in which case the continuous air movement will get blocked. All that the builder contractor has to oblige is let a few helpers insert the pipes, which is fairly fast. It’s a one-time investment of time and effort, to achieve passive cooling of slightly higher order.

The Hindu

Green buildings reduces operational expenses and improve the health and productivity of the residents

Think sustainable

While paving the way for sustainable development, green buildings not only reduce the operational expenses, but also improve the health and productivity of the residents.

The quantum of built-up area envisaged to be urbanised is simply humongous. Therefore, in order to extricate itself from the present scenario, India must follow the principles of sustainability. After all, the construction and operation of buildings have an enormous impact on the local environment, and also on greenhouse gas emissions.

“India has the highest growth rate of ‘building energy consumption’ in the world, so this concern is particularly pressing for corporates as well as for the government. To really tackle the challenge of making sustainable buildings, we need to rethink the way a building is designed and operated. Here, green buildings can surely offer a way to relieve the mounting pressure,” says Andrew Hines, co-founder, CleanMax Solar, a rooftop solar power development company.

See green, see life:

According to the Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report, India is expected to see strong growth in the green building sector with nearly 55 percent of all projects likely to pursue green by 2021.

So, what are the top triggers driving the green building activity? Firstly, the clients today (particularly the commercial tenants) are demanding green certified buildings, followed by increased awareness among homebuyers about the advantages green buildings have on the health of the occupants, and lastly, the governmental push and environmental regulations.

The choice is yours…

A green building stands on five main pillars – water, waste, energy, human experience and carbon footprint. So, in line with the growing trend of green building development, the focus on the usage of sustainable products during the construction stage is immense.

“Double-glazed glass is being extensively used by architects in the construction of buildings. So are water-efficient fixtures and energyefficient lighting. Components – free of toxic materials such as chlorine, lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium and cadmium – are also being frequently used by builders,” says GopalaKrishnan Padmanabhan, Managing Director –APAC and Middle East, Green Business Certificate Institute (GBCI).

Elaborating on the same line of thought, Harleen Oberoi, Senior Executive Director, Project Management India, Developer Projects Leader, South Asia, Colliers International, adds, “Blocks and concrete, which have a higher ratio of fly ash and blast furnace slag, are preferred by the developers.”

So, when it comes to finishes, “the objective is to use non-VOC emitting and anti-fungal alternatives in adhesives, paints, cladding, and carpets. With technology making big strides, light-weight precast concrete walls, fibre reinforced products as alternatives to conventional pipes, stray bales, compressed earth blocks, and other innovative building blocks for structural construct are also popular options.”

The way ahead:

According to the report (as mentioned earlier), 63 percent of Indian respondents said improved occupant health is the most important benefit of a green building. Additionally, respondents rated environmental reasons such as reducing energy and water consumption, and protecting resources. Therefore, experts believe that India is poised for an upward trajectory.

“Both developers and occupants have come to realise the benefits associated with green buildings. Sustainable products, which pass the acid test of having a positive impact on the environment, are being used in the construction of buildings. Not to forget, the demand by buyers for such buildings is high too,” concludes Padmanabhan.

Shehzin Shaikh, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Go green, be seen to address pollution and global warming

Today, there is an urgency to address issues such as pollution and global warming. And with developers of the residential market pledging to build environment-friendly spaces, green homes are within the reach of home-buyers.

Eco-friendly buildings invite a lot of hype but there are also concrete advantages to ‘going green’ when you build them. From improving indoor air quality to mitigating global climate change, these buildings help people live a more resource-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. Keeping these important factors in view, the developers of the residential market have pledged to build environment-friendly spaces.

The green building concept has always been around. Our ancestors had conventional homes with baked red roof tiles and walls made of clay; energy-efficient structures that used to keep the house cool during summers and warm during the winters. Today, we have advanced technologies that create smarter systems to control lighting systems, power, inside temperature, water supply and waste generation. C Shekar Reddy, Chairman, CII-IGBC Hyderabad, said, “In the current degrading environmental scenario, the need of the hour is to design and construct green buildings and communicate their benefits to various stakeholders. Developers are becoming increasingly conscious of the changing environmental conditions and thus working in their capacity to reduce the carbon footprint at every stage of construction.”

Follow the rules

Change starts with an individual, and especially in cities, it is time to act. Kalpana Ramesh, environmentalist, interior designer, director of Kaava, says, “The process should start from following zoning rules in construction to obtaining the necessary legal permissions for sewerage and building within the FSI. People should stop buying apartments, offices and homes built on illegal ground even if it means at lower costs. Directly or indirectly, we are responsible for diminishing natural resources.”

Green homes within reach

Due to slightly higher cost, green homes are generally targeted at the upper middle class and luxury home-buyers. Property consultant Shridhar Rao says, “Among such buyers, awareness about the benefits of green buildings tends to be quite high, so acceptance of a sustainable way of life is also high. However, one cannot ignore the fact that there is still a lack of awareness about green building practices and its long-term benefits among a large section of Indian users. A majority of users are under the impression that green building practices are expensive and not financially-feasible. But even middle-class buyers are now environment-conscious and would not mind paying a higher price if the project’s benefits are explained. At present, amenities that are being offered by developers have been made mandatory under government regulations.”

Cost of a green home versus a normal home

Green buildings provide financial benefits that conventional buildings do not. Mayank Saksena, MD – land services and head – South India, ANAROCK Property Consultants, explains, “Green building practices can improve the environment’s ecology in numerous ways. They reduce energy consumption by 20-30 percent and water usage by 30-50 percent as well as significantly reduce waste generation by extensive recycling. Apart from the obvious protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity, the use of green building practices leads to better air quality, enhanced daylight (leading to lower electricity consumption), superior health and overall well-being.”

Industry experts are of the view that although the initial costs of a green building may be higher (up to 15 percent depending on various factors) than conventional buildings, there are many long-term benefits. Reddy explains, “Anyone buying a house should keep in mind that it will stand for at least 50 years or so. And even if, for a moment, we agree that the cost of the house increases, it doesn’t matter if you invest an additional amount because in the coming years, you would be able to enjoy benefits such reduced electricity bills, better comfort, and good health at lower operating cost. And the payback period is hardly two years. Also the incremental cost of these buildings has come down to about two to three per cent over a conventional building at present.”

Vibha Singh, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Every breath you take

Every breath you take may not be cleaner than the air outside. With the issue of air pollution making the news every day, are we really safe in the confines of our homes?

As you step out in the morning on your way to work, you can’t help, but notice the thick blanket of smog over the city. You rush to work so you can get into the safety of your air-conditioned office. But is the air in your office any better?

According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Delhi and Cairo have the worst PM10 pollution levels out of the world’s megacities. The study further reveals that indoor air pollution contributes between 22 and 52 percent to the overall pollution levels.

Barun Aggarwal, CEO, Breathe Easy Consultants, opines that while the composition of indoor air is different from outside air quality, it can be equally harmful. “Air pollution is dynamic. In India, Particulate Matter (PM) is extremely high in most cities. And since most of us spend almost 90 percent of our time indoors (office, schools, home), the risk of getting exposed to it is high.”

A WHO study states that air pollution is responsible for the deaths of seven million people worldwide each year; most of them residing in Asia and Africa. Of the seven million, 3.8 million were from indoor air pollution ( due to cook stoves), which is a huge problem in India.

Indoor quality is determined by Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), bio-aerosols and nitrous oxides (cooking gas), and is also influenced by pollution caused by vehicles and industrial plants. Anumita Roychowdhury, head of the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) air pollution programme explains, “The main culprits are VOCs that may be released by various sources including paints, glues, resins, polishing materials, and furnishings as well as a lack of proper ventilation and breeding of moulds. Hence, it is important to pay attention to the materials we use indoors since the ability to avoid pollution here is in our hands.”

The Centre introduced several measures and programmes to improve air quality indoors.

One such initiative was providing around 37 million poor women with free gas connections to encourage them to switch from coal/dung-fired clay ovens to cooking gas. However, in an urban setting, it is not just cooking that we need to worry about.

Rajat Malhotra, COO for IFM in West Asia and head of JLL points out, “CO2 levels in our bedrooms are more than six times the CO2 levels outside. Air quality within our office/ workspaces and rooms is much unhealthier. Till the WHO report was published, we were kept blinkered and blindfolded for so many years. Today, people want to know what is happening.” However, Roychowdhury asserts that built-in design intervention in buildings is a critical aspect.

“It is essential to pay a lot more attention to the architectural and building design, and it should become a part of the building by-laws to ensure that they meet the health indicators associated with the indoor air quality,” she explains, adding that despite guidelines by the Central Pollution Control Board, there is still no active implementation.

On the same note, Sujatha Ganapathy, VC – WELL AP, Knight Frank India, concludes, “At the government level, better transportation and construction methods will help control pollution levels. That means using low VOC content in buildings, and reducing the creation of dust in constructions, which is classified as PM10 and can cause a wide range of health problems including respiratory illnesses.”

Solutions:Use a dehumidifier and/ or air conditioner to reduce moisture;

Keep trash covered to avoid attracting pests;

Minimise air freshener use;

Ensure that exhaust fans are functional in your bathrooms andkitchen;

Avoid scented candles;

Keep plants indoors, which can significantly reduce indoor air pollution;

Using LPG instead of biomass fuel for cooking can significantly reduce the level of indoor
pollution.

Deborah Pereira, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Five décor mistakes to avoid – 360 Property Management

Five décor mistakes to avoid

Chennai

1. Matching-matching

Matching your décor with your accessories gives it a well-rounded look, but do not go overboard. Break the pattern or add an accent colour. If you are planning to opt for a nude colour palette, add colours that pop by incorporating colourful cushions or a solid colour carpet or even a few vases.

2. Over accessorising

Do not go overboard with the accessories and use only those you need. Too many elements in the house can make it look cluttered and eat into your space.

3. Fake greenery

Fake flowers and plants don’t add much to the room. They accumulate dust and aren’t as aesthetically-pleasing as real flowers. Instead, opt for real flowers and plants as they make your space look alive, provide a lingering fragrance and help purify the air. You can also incorporate a fruit bowl as the center-piece on your table. The natural colours add life to the table and you will always have a healthy snack at hand at all times.

4. Lacking personality

Not adding enough elements to personalise your home may end up making it look like an apartment. The home may also lack the welcoming and homely vibe. Add a few pictures, display your awards, paintings or wall hangings that you may have taken up as a hobby, or show off your guitar in a corner. The point here is to not be perfect, but make your imperfections a part of your home.

5. Pushed to the wall

This is a common setup that can be observed in an ideal Indian home. Give that a break; arrange the furniture in a different way; move your couch and chair to the centre and add a rug beneath it, thus creating a seating area for conversations. Opt for a table, which is the same height as your couch and place it behind the couch; now you have an additional table-top, which also hides the back of your couch.

Pooja Mahimkar, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Space for festive cheer

Space for festive cheer

Chennai

On occasions, have you ever felt like you are being held back by something and do not have the energy to succeed in what you wish to pursue? There could be many reasons for such a feeling to exist in a home, but from the Feng Shui point of view, the primary cause could be clutter. Clutter is stagnant and confusing energy that drains you out. The area where the clutter exists in your home is said to have a negative influence and blocks the flow of events pertaining to specific areas in your life.

Most people hate to accept that they have accumulated clutter, while some avoid clearing it up because it calls for effort and time. But the real reason is that clearing clutter is an emotional process and requires a lot of emotional stamina too;

The benefits of clearing clutter, both, of the living space and mental clutter by adapting Feng Shui ensures that you don’t get burdened in the long-run;

Most often, the areas which are prone to stagnation and clutter are the main door or entrance area, kitchen and bedroom;

The entrance of your house gets most of the energy nourishment, and in Feng Shui, it is called the mouth of Chi (energy). Hence, provide a visual relief to your main entry. Discard or move any objects such as the recycle bins from full view, old, unused or broken pots, dust bins, etc;

In the kitchen, clear out the refrigerator, clean the stove and all the pots and pans. Clean out all the drawers and wipe the light fixtures clean. In Feng Shui, the state of your kitchen is the state of your health, especially the liver. So do your health a favour and clean up that kitchen;

Next look at your bedroom; clear the clutter under the bed. Thoroughly clear and clean your closets. Let go of as many items as possible that you have not used in a long time and give away to charity;

Once you have been able to identify and de-clutter your space, you can bring in a spot of freshness and a breath of life by adding lush green plants or a water feature in the east sector of your living room or entrance. Alternatively, if you cannot have plants or a water feature in your space, bring the energy of the certain Feng Shui elements with the colour green or brown or with artwork depicting either a body of water or lush greenery;

Remember, no amount of wind chimes, good Feng Shui colours, water features or Feng Shui plants will negate the depressing energy of clutter in a home. So, focus on decluttering and you will surely see positive changes soon.

SBS Surendran, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Plot summary: Constructing your own house

Plot summary: Constructing your own house

Chennai

V S Rajasekaran talks about how buying a plot near Medavakkam in 1994 and building a house on it, has benefitted him.

While buyers today mostly have the option of apartments or villa to choose from, not many will have the luxury of choosing a plot to build their house upon. But for those who bought homes in Chennai a few decades back, they had the option of buying an empty land and constructing their house on it.

V S Rajasekaran, a government employee, is one among those who bought a plot. “I bought a 2,178 square feet of land near Medavakkam, in 1994. And in 1995, we constructed a 2-BHK house there and moved into it. We have been living there ever since,” he says. The fear of buying a plot or its encroachment always existed. Recounting this struggle, he further adds, “We ensured that the land came with proper patta (legal document for land ownership). Besides, we immediately started construction, which also helped. So, there was no fear.”

Having lived in Chintadripet, as a tenant in a rented house, he was glad to have moved into his own independent house. Medavakkam was far away from the bustle of the city. “It was considered a back of beyond area. There was just one bus-51H, which would ply between Saidapet and Tambaram, which would stop at a bus stop in Medavakkam. Travelling to other parts of the city was difficult. Thankfully, there are innumerable buses today, which help the residents here commute to many parts of Chennai. Also, there are good amenities that have come up in the area, like good hospitals, schools and shopping malls,” he says.

The plot and the construction together did not exceed Rs 3 lakh. Overall, he is glad to have made the investment.

Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Property tax in Coimbatore higher than in Chennai

 

With the revision of property tax in the state, tax payers in Coimbatore corporation will be paying higher tax for their buildings than those in Chennai.

“The revised property tax might be appropriate for buildings in Chennai corporation, but it definitely is not appropriate for those in Coimbatore,” said K Kathirmathiyon of Coimbatore Consumer Forum.

During 2008, civic bodies other than Chennai corporation revised property tax not extending up to 25% of the existing slab for residential buildings, up to 100% for industrial buildings and up to 150% for commercial buildings, he said, explaining that Chennai corporation last revised property tax during 1998.

Though the land value is higher in Chennai, building owners from other parts of the state are paying higher tax than those in Chennai, he said.

“For instance, if a building owner in Chennai is paying Rs 2,000 as property tax until revision, we have been paying Rs 2,500.” He explained that now the tax amount has been increased to Rs 3,000 for the building owner in Chennai and to Rs 3,750 for people elsewhere.

“Why should we pay a higher amount,” Kathirmathiyon asked.

Former counsellors said that if the local body council had been in place, such a thing would not have happened.

The hike is exorbitant, C Padmanabhan, a former counsellor, said. The civic body, without knowing how to manage funds, has spent lavishly. “How will the civic body have funds if they privatise all projects?” he said.

The state government in general recommends that the civic body hike the tax up to a certain point and during the discussion at the council meet the exact hike percentage per building type would be decided, said S M Samy, former counsellor.

Since there is no council this year, civic body officials had accepted the government recommendations without any discussion, he added.

Source: Economic Times, Chennai

Happy New Year | தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Happy New Year | தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Happy New Year | தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Chennai tops in broadband speed

 

Records download speed of over 32.67 Mbps, finds study

At 32.67 Megabits per second (Mbps), Chennai clocks the highest fixed broadband download speed among cities, according to a study titled ‘India’s digital divide: how broadband speed splits the nation’ by Seattle-headquartered firm Ookla. Globally, India is ranked 67th with an average speed of 20.72 Mbps.

“Of the 20 largest cities in India, Chennai’s download speed of over 32.67 Mbps for fixed broadband is 57.7% faster than the average for the rest of the country,” the analysis said. The analysis is based on February 2018 data from real consumer-initiated tests taken using Speedtest.

Speedtest by Ookla provides independent insight into the speed and quality of mobile and fixed broadband connections.

Fixed broadband speeds in metros including Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam were also higher than the country’s average of 20.72 Mbps.

Bengaluru follows Chennai in terms of fixed broadband speed with reported average speeds of 27.2 Mbps, while Delhi ranked fifth with average speeds of 18.16 Mbps. Mumbai was the lowest among the four big metros with an overall ranking of eight and broadband speeds averaging 12.06 Mbps.

The study also revealed that Patna is by far the slowest city compared to the rest of the country, with average speeds 62.4% slower than the country’s average.

Top States

A quick scan of the States shows that residents of Karnataka enjoyed the fastest broadband in India, with a mean download speed of 28.46 Mbps during the month of February, which is 37.4% faster than the rest of the country.

Tamil Nadu is a close second at 27.94 Mbps. Mizoram is the slowest with a mean download speed of 3.62 Mbps.

The Hindu