A: The cost of a green building could be slightly higher than a conventional building. This extra cost is always relative and depends on the extent of eco-friendly features considered during the design process. However, during the time period when a building is put to use (this can range anywhere between 50 to 100 years or more), green buildings use a lot less energy and save more money. Moreover, studies have shown a decreasing trend in the incremental cost and payback time of green buildings in the country over the years.
Q2: Do green buildings have to be air conditioned?
A: Green building concepts can be applied for non-air conditioning buildings. It has been applied on few such buildings in India. While performing the energy analysis using software tools, measures are taken that such buildings are recognised for other energy efficiency measures incorporated. This kind of an approach ensures that an efficient comparison is made while evaluating two green buildings, whether conditioned or not.
Q3:Does it take longer to build a Green buildings?
A: There is a general perception that building a green building takes more time. There is however enough capability today that the time required for designing and constructing a green building there is not much different from that of a normal building.
A: Solar panels are best suited for places which have a clear sky for most of the year. In places where it is cloudy for most of the time, solar panels might not be really effective. In such places, a solar water heater can prove more effective.
A: The temperature around 4 to 5 metres below the earth is constant and is generally around the mean temperature of the specific place. Earth air tunnels draw air from the outside which is cooled at such a depth and is then used to ventilate the interiors. The amount of cooling also depends on the distance the air has travelled below the ground.
A: Day lighting refers to the use of natural light to illuminate the interior spaces in a building. However, care must be taken while designing so that it does lead to glare or cause excessive heating.
A: Different types of waste need to be treated differently to generate or conserve energy. This also reduces pollution. Water from bathrooms and kitchen can be treated and used for landscaping and for flushing bathrooms. Organic solid waste can be converted into fertilisers in compost pits. In residential complexes, organic wastes can also be converted into gassifiers to produce biofuels.
A: Vegetation plays a major role in green buildings. Trees and plants cut down a lot of heat gained from the sun. Deciduous trees on the south side stop heat gain in the summers but allow heat to come inside in the winters. Using plants and trees local to the area cut on water needed for landscaping.
A lot of energy is consumed by different appliances are used in a building. It thus
becomes important to use appliances that consume less energy. CFLs and T5 tubelights
can be used instead of incandescent lamps and conventional tubelights. Washing machines
are most energy efficient when they are fulloy loaded. Food items should be kept
in the refrigerator when they reach room temperature and not when they are hot.
LCD screens are more energy efficient than conventional monitors for PCs. Switching
off or putting computers on hibernation mode when not in use saves a lot of energy.
All appliances used in a building should be star-rated.
A Trombe all is a sun-facing wall built with materials like stone, metal, concrete, adobe, or water tanks material that can store heat and is combined with an air space, insulated glazing, and vents to form a large solar heat collector.
During the day, sunlight passes through the insulated glazing and warms the surface of the wall. The glazing prevents loss of heat from the wall to the outside at night. The wall and the air gap in between thus remain at a higher temperature than the outside. Heated air flows via convection into the building through vents at the top and bottom of the wall. These vents can be closed in the summer when heating is not necessary.
Energy Performance Index, also called EPI, is used to determine the specific energy consumption of a building. It is the ratio of total energy used in the building to its total built-up area. This total energy used includes electricity purchased from the grid as well as that generated on-site. However, renewable sources of energy like solar photo-voltaics are not considered while calculating the total energy. The total built-up area excludes basement and parking areas.