Thursday, August 02, 2007
I have been learning to "Build" ecologically. And its high time that I
share some of what I've learnt so far.
The question: How does one go about building a house Ecologically?
To understand that its important to know:
What is it that one does to harm the Ecology/Environment?
High energy consuming materials are not suited to Ecology.
Production of Energy e.g. Electricity consumes a lot of resources. e.g.
Wood, Coal and such materials.
Also the process of burning these materials in large quantities
produces a lot of Carbon and carbon based gases that are now being
absorbed by the atmosphere and leading to the Green house effect.
Hence, one's continuous trial should be to reduce this burden on
environment as much as possible.
William Rees coined this concept of Ecological Footprint. Which is an analysis of how much demand a structure makes on
nature in terms of natural resources, energy, biomass, food, building
material, water etc.
It isnt always necessary to calculate the exact footprint, but
understanding of the basics makes it much easier to build so.
Building construction is one of the industries that has harmed
Ecology most. We've therefore begun to now experience all the harm
that Green house gases could create.
What are the aspects that lead to a larger Ecological footprint? :
1. Usage of materials that are manufactured at large levels, in ways
that consume a lot of energy/fossil fuels.
2. Usage of materials that are dependant on Petroleum products.
Petroleum industry being one of the largest energy consuming
3. Use of materials that have run a long distance to reach the place of
use. Local materials on the other hand make the footprint smaller.
4. the amount of Ecology in terms of trees and water destroyed in the
process of construction.
5. The amount of material wasted in the process of construction.
The conclusion being that Cement - though a natural material we
should discourage using in high quantities because of its
check the "Cement Making Processes" section here
Aluminum being the highest energy consuming material and Steel a
little distant from it. The attempt should be to reduce the usage of
How can the building structure be suited to the Ecology?
1. By building the structure to suit its immediate environment
2. By designing the structure to use as many locally available
materials as possible.
3. By reducing the use of steel and cement and such high energy
4. By making terrace gardens and green spaces in every space possible
around and in the structure.
5. By using as many alternative sources of energy possible and being
less dependant on the conventional form of energy.
6. By re using and recycling all the waste produced.
7. By harvesting rain water (which is the purest form of water
available to us) and recycling and using all waste water produced in
It will take a whole new stream of thinking to be able to adapt such a
lifestyle, but sooner or later it'll be become an absolute necessity that
each and every individual think of their immediate environment.