Aavaas

A Platform for Indian Homemakers

Archive for August, 2007

A carbon negative home?

Posted by Williams on August 31, 2007

Thought I’ll list down all the ways in which one can reduce carbon emissions from a home. This is becoming a hot topic these days, especially with regard to companies trading in carbon credits and so forth. For the uninitiated, one carbon credit is equivalent to one ton of carbon emissions and the price I believe, ranges from around $15 to $20. ITC for one, has made a big brouhaha about becoming carbon negative. But that’s beside the point. The point being that even ordinary homes can try to become carbon negative if they care about global warming. I really don’t know the figures involved here (whether a carbon negative home is feasible or not) and will have to research this much more before giving a clear path for people to follow. Google actually gave me a result of exactly one when I searched ‘carbon negative home’. Amazing. Anyway, that has to wait. For now, am just making a list of the various ways in which carbon emissions can be reduced from our homes.

  • Plant trees if you have space. More the better. Needless, to say this is a good investment for the future, if you choose the right sapling (say like teak). Besides that it looks great in your garden apart from the shade.
  • Keep some plants indoor if you live in an apartment. When well done, it is quite charming.
  • Use a solar water heater. This will actually save you significant amount of money as well, and is fast becoming a mainstream option in the Indian climate.
  • Go in for solar lighting.
  • Use CFL instead of incandescent lamps.
  • Always buy energy efficient devices.
  • Get your car to run on LPG. This can also save you quite a bit of money.
  • Be kind on the air conditioner (and to yourself) by keeping it at moderate temperatures like 26 than the sub 24 ones. After all, there is no need to live in the Arctic even if it has become Sahara outside.
  • And finally the one you mother always told you to do, ‘switch off that light if you are not using it’.

As you might have noticed all the actions focus on one of three things:

  • Reducing your indirect emissions (reduce power consumption -> less power is generated -> less emissions)
  • Reducing your direct emissions (from your vehicle etc.)
  • Increasing carbon intake (growing our green cousins)
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Posted in Environment, Home, Tips | 2 Comments »

Pathway Flooring

Posted by sudarsan on August 30, 2007

If your house is under construction, a very valuable tip for saving costs.    Interlocking tiles are better than Eurocon/Ultra kind of concrete designer tiles for the following reasons,

1. Interlocking tiles can be laid on bare earth (no need for preparation using PCC foundation or masonry, which are required for concrete designer tiles)

2. Interlocking tiles can be relaid

If your house is just finished, and not your pathways, you can occupy the house the very next day using interlocking tiles.   Later on when the fresh ground settles, you may notice some interlocking tiles caving-in.   You can remove the individual tile and lay sand underneath or fill sand across the pathway and relay the interlocking tiles.    Also if you want water to drain off the interlocking tiles, you can simply fill some cement plaster at the joints.   Of course I have used both for my home, as Concrete designer tiles has  a great aesthetics, especially near the entrance.   

Cost of Economics:

Interlocking tiles:

Tile: Rs.15 – Rs.25 /sq foot

Ground preparation: Sand at Rs.30 cu/feet, approx. Rs.5-10/sq foot of tile.

Labor: < Rs.3 / sq foot

Concrete tiles:

Tile: Rs.35 – Rs.45 /sq foot

Ground preparation: Sand Rs 5-1o /sq foot, PCC Rs.25-30/sq foot, Plaster Rs15-20/ sq foot

Labor: Rs.12/sq foot

So we are looking at 3-4x savings using interlocking tiles, which have the added convenience that it can be relaid.
 

Posted in Floor, Home, House, Independent Home | 2 Comments »

Lighting

Posted by Vivek on August 29, 2007

I would like to introduce another topic for the benefit of our readers – Lighting.

Visual appeal is perhaps the strongest of all. One could spend a huge amount of money to buy the house, decorate it and flood it with gadgets, but unless there is a proportional lighting system used at home, most of the details go unnoticed.

There are two aspects to lighting at home , Natural and Artificial. Natural lighting is introduced by windows predominantly with doors and balconies adding their share to it. But as most of us know, this light fades away soon and in the evening we are bound to use artificial lighting at home.

Choice of lights is a very personal decision. While some love the bright, white light from fluorescent tube lights, some prefer the dim and moody electrical lamp finish.

In upcoming posts we would touch upon the lighting schemes in detail, but for the moment we just graze the surface.

Make sure that the lights chosen can meet tasks carried out in the room. For example in a living room, having a reading lamp in addition to usual light bulbs or chandiliers may be of great help as it reduces strain on eyes.

Similarly reading lamps by study tables for children ( I personally think tubelight like cold illuminating device is better) are of great importance.

Kitchens are another place where lights are of paramount importance. Bad lighting can lead to accidents and also mishaps in the dish itself.

Recently energy saving lamps are very popular among people. But what we dont realize is that , one of these lamps is just not enough for the whole room.

They go by the name of “CFL”. More on this can be found at:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp

For special occasions, candles also are used [ romantic or in the event of a power faiure 🙂 ]

 more on these lines coming at htoh…..

happy reading

Vivek

Posted in Home, House, Lighting | 1 Comment »

Independent home or an Apartment

Posted by Vivek on August 29, 2007

After a series of articles on home appliances (which probably got a little monotonous 🙂 ), I decided to write a few general articles while retaining the overall theme of “house to home”.

Today, I am touching upon the topic, “independent home/Apartment”.

I know that given a choice, anybody would go for an independent home, well almost. But the shooting real estate prices and lack of security have caused many to consider the apartment option.

Typically, an apartment offers the home owner a space with essential rooms in it.

  • A Hall/dining room
  • A kitchen
  • A bedroom (possibly with attached bathroom)
  • A bathroom

Bedrooms offered depend on the package and can range from 1 to even 4 with choice of individual attached bathrooms.

The number of bedrooms determines the price of the apartment and you can chose based on your budget limits.

Apartments also offer an option of a car park for which the users need to pay extra money. The car park can be an open, or a covered car park and this depends on the builder/promoter of the apartment.

Apartments also are usually housed in multi-storey buildings. So an elevator is pretty much a given. These facilities like elevators, common area cleaning, security guard and so on, attract monthly maintenance charges which the apartment association collects from home owners. This can vary between 500 rupees a month to even 2000 rupees a month.

An apartment offers convenience to its owners because lots of common facilities tend to open up nearby like supermarkets, vegetable markets etc. Also service providers like cable operators, newspaper agents, milk vendors, cloth ironing services all are easily accessible.

What apartments lack and usually independent homes tend to offer is privacy. For people who want a serene atmosphere with not much of distraction from neighbours, an individual house is a good option. Of-course the price is a considerable deciding factor here.

What individual homes lack the most is perhaps security. The uber rich Indian families deploy home security guards and gadgets which give them some peace of mind. But this only further adds to the cost.

Common payments such as property tax, water tax, electricity bills etc., are easily paid out if one is living in a community. For individual home owners this is something of a bother.

To summarize, if you are a privacy lover and feel that no builder can give you interiors which matches your requirements, and of-course you have some money to buy a piece of land to construct your dream home – Individual home is the way to go.

Else there is an apartment out there waiting for you to purchase it 🙂

 Comments on this article are most welcome.

ciao

Vivek

Posted in Apartment, Home, Independent Home, Spaces | Leave a Comment »

Carpets & ceilings

Posted by Williams on August 29, 2007

This one has bugged me for some time and I thought it best to invite comments on it. Why do people use carpets in modern homes? Answer may be obvious to you but to me it has always been bit of a mystery. Is it just for the decorative purpose, or is there some other reason as well.

Carpets arose as an industry mostly in Asia, and Turkey in particular. Central Asia had widely diverging climates year round and perhaps even during day/night. They probably needed to cover the floor for preserving the internal temperature at desired levels. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpets seems to agree with me on this. However, this is hardly true in the modern home with the advent of central air conditioning. Besides in coastal regions of India, there is hardly a change in temperature year round. So we come back to the original question, why do we use carpets?

If the answer is just for decoration, I have another query. Why don’t we decorate our ceilings with something similar? Seems to me it is a whole area that could be used creatively. After all, it is the first sight we see in the morning. Somehow, I have never seen ceilings in any homes used creatively. Perhaps, it is because we don’t have an industry supporting that like we do for floor carpeting.

Posted in Carpets, Home, Interior decoration, User Queries | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »