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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

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

Alwarthirunagar – The residence of serenity

Chennai

With the best of social infrastructure and amenities, this area is the ideal destination for home-buyers.

Chennai has seen real estate boom that has resulted in the development of many areas. And Alwarthirunagar is one such place.

Located between two busy localities, Valasaravakkam and Virugambakkam, it is a quieter locality with developed social infrastructure and amenities.

Alwarthirunagar, in close proximity to these areas, too reaped the benefits of the development. It saw a lot of real estate growth in the 1990s.

Located between Valasaravakkam and Virugambakkam, many residents choose the area to escape the dense population of the adjoining areas, while simultaneously having access to good infrastructure.

Residents of Alwarthirunagar have access to all the facilities and developed parts. There are emerging high streets very close to the area with several prominent brands.

Also, it is in close proximity to the IT hub at Porur. With several employees from the place renting out in the area, Alwarthirunagar has proven to be a good investment for home-buyers.

Areas around Alwarthirunagar include Vadapalani, Valasaravakkam, Virugambakkam, Ashok Nagar, KK Nagar and Porur. It is easily connected to the rest of the city.

The neighbourhood has reputed English convent schools, private speciality hospitals and clinics, super market chains among other social infrastructure.

A few years ago, a huge mall opened nearby which has all the big retail brands besides having a huge multiplex and several restaurant joints.

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

Metro rail track-laying in North Chennai by end of year

Chennai

As the construction of the 9km metro rail corridor in North Chennai is progressing in full swing, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has started preliminary work to lay ballastless tracks required for the operation of metro trains. The 9km Phase 1 extension line between Washermenpet and Wimco Nagar is expected to be ready by March 2020.

“We have floated tenders for both MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) and for track work. We are expecting to start track work before the end of this year,” a metro rail official said.

The extension line in North Chennai includes a 2km underground section connected by two stations and a 7km elevated stretch linked through six stations. Once the line is ready, commuters from north Chennai can travel to several localities in the city that are connected by metro rail network.

Work for the extension line in north Chennai was launched in 2016. Towards the end of 2017, construction of two tunnels along a 2km stretch from Washermenpet to Korukkupet was completed. Soon after, work began for construction of the elevated corridor and is still under way.

CMRL is also constructing the elevated maintenance depot at Wimco Nagar. A tender was recently floated to find a company that can supply, install and commission electrical and mechanical systems at the depot. Metro rail is expecting to get these systems in place within a period of 18 months.

Source: The Times of India, Chennai

Tamil Nadu govt sets guidelines for officials in charge of property tax collection

Did you receive an SMS alert from Chennai corporation to make a self-declaration of your house/flat details for property tax purposes? This is part of a system put in place by the state to introduce a revised tax regime.

A detailed set of guidelines has been issued to commissioners of all local bodies on the preparation of a master list of properties and a time frame has been set to map them. At a meeting, officials were asked to first accumulate records of all properties available with housing society, housing board, slum clearance board, ration cards maintained by civil supplies department and other registers maintained by municipalities and corporations to verify omissions in assessment.

Officials are to cross-check records by going door-to-door and finally submit the verified data to seniors. Armed with this verified database, officials will ensure that residents file returns from October 20.

“Field staff will be deployed and 100% filing of returns must be ensured. The returns filed by the owners will be kept in safe custody with no room for tampering. Wherever returns could not be obtained before the due date, the property concerned should be inspected by the revenue staff and returns prepared and submitted to the office,” said a senior official.

Officials of the municipal administration department told TOI that all officials were informed of these guidelines and the deadline. “While everyone is aware that property tax has been revised, we wanted to create a system for officials to implement it which is why we came out with a set of guidelines for them,” said a senior official.

Source Komal Gautham, Economic Times, Chennai

At your service | Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai | July 31, 2018

At your service

Chennai

With a growing number of house owners not having the time to take care of their property, they are beginning to rely on professional property management services to take care of their needs.

House hunting can lead to having interesting experiences for each person. When Srividhya, a financial analyst, was scouring the city for a house to move into on rent, she contacted a person whose phone number was listed on a website. “I found myself speaking to a property manager who enquired about my requirements. He was managing the property that belonged to someone else. But what surprised me the most was that he wanted to interview me to see if I fit the bill of the property owner. I was not aware that the city had such services where an owner could hire such people so that they don’t have to micro-manage certain tasks,” she says.

Many from the earlier generation may have built houses to live in them. But today, buying a house is not merely to live in it, but it is also seen as an investment. Hence an owner, today, need not essentially live in the same house. And this is where home management services are sought.

How exactly is it relevant today? T Chockalingam, Managing Partner, 360 Property Management Services, says, “20 years back, if you owned a house in a city that you currently did not live in, you would take the help of a relative (family member) or a friend to help find a tenant, or to help with anything that was related to the property such as a repair or renovation work. Today, there are a lot of Indians who are settled abroad or live far away from the property, and they may be reluctant to ask a relative’s help in this regard. Simply because they may know that these people may not feel obliged to help them, or they may live far from the property themselves and may find it inconvenient to visit it often.” And that is how these services have become crucial to many Chennai residents.

These companies offer a range of solutions. They help in buying and selling houses, and finding tenants for the house. Tenants are often interviewed, the information is verified and that is shared with the house owner. Sometimes it is also their job to find tenants according to the demands of the owner. “Sometimes they will be particular about tenants having a small family, or belonging to a certain state or community. We have to find them accordingly. Then a rental agreement is drafted and the deal is finalised. We then become facilitators,” says a property manager.

Further, services pertaining to electrical, plumbing, carpentry, flooring, wood work and painting are taken care of by a team from property management service companies. Also, property tax, maintenance charges, water and sewer charges and other expenses are paid on time by these organisations. They visit the property from time to time to check if it has been well maintained by its occupants and even pictures and videos of the same are shared with the owners.

“The prices for the services depend on the size of the property, its location and the specific work that we need to do. Generally, people think it is only NRIs who look out for such help. But even those who have multiple assets, or own a small building with many apartments, take our help,” says Prabhu Shankar, Manager, Nimmadhi Property Management. He offers a word of advice, “Verify if such a company is registered. You can try and do that by checking if that company has a GST number. Also, read the reviews online, see the customer feedback and check if anyone you personally know has enlisted their help.”

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

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