While we look up to a building and admire its presence, it is also important as to how it has been playing a part in terms of reducing its adverse impacts on the environment. Several procedures move us closer to sustainable construction practices during different phases. A few of them are mentioned below.
Site selection :
Try to find a site for your building that has easy access to basic amenities and services like school, hospital, market, etc. which will help avoid the use of vehicles for traveling.
The Right person for the right job :
Selection of architects, contractors, and vendors who possess prior ideas and understand the significance of sustainable buildings.
Incorporating arch, vaults, and domes that reduce the usage of shuttering and concrete. Windows and ventilators are positioned properly for sufficient daylight and cross ventilation.
Inclusion of courtyards, skylights, openings to integrate the transparency between indoor and outdoor which also improves indoor airflow.
Imbibing Vernacular architectural characteristics:
Opting local materials and labors to reduce the travel time and helps in empowering society.
Proper planning :
Planning and sequencing of procurement and activities to reduce rework and unnecessary storage, which in turn contributes to the completion of the project as per schedule.
Stacking of top organic soil and other excavated soil /rocks separately and the top fertile soil be can donated to the local nursery or can be used during landscaping. The other excavated soil/ rock can be used to refill or use as a construction material on-site or for other project sites. This will help in the reduction of landfills.
Use of natural materials:
Stabilized mud blocks are one of the best alternatives for burnt mud brick. When used with mud mortar, walls can be left exposed without plaster or paint.
Rammed earth walls are constructed by ramming mixtures of subsoil and a small portion of cement if required
Alternative construction methods/Techniques:
Filler slab roofing system is one of them where cheaper sustainable material is used in places where concrete is not necessary for the slabs. Usages of Mangalore tiles, clay pots, mud bricks, etc. also help in providing thermal insulation.
Products made of rapid renewable raw material, paints, and adhesives with low VOC will improve the indoor air quality, concrete made with partial replacement of OPC by cementitious materials like fly ash, GGBS, silica fume, etc. to attain desired strength.
Minimize the waste produced, segregate the waste and reuse the materials as much as possible.
Refurbished doors and windows from a demolished site or scrap yards can be used. Refurbished wood are well seasoned and affordable.
During the building life cycle
Solar, wind, and other sources can be harnessed to generate electricity on-site. The government policy also favors and promotes this.
Rainwater water harvesting:
Rainwater from terrace or surface runoff is collected to recharge the groundwater or it can be filtered and used for domestic use.
Water from the kitchen sink, washing machine and showers is filtered, collected, and used in gardening.
Vegetables or pulses that are grown in terrace, backyard, balconies, or any semi-outdoor spaces can be used for daily consumption and also act as a barrier from direct sunlight lowering the microclimate.
Energy and water-efficient products:
All the electrical fixtures and appliances used must have a high BEE star rating, non-ozone depleting substances.
Bathroom and kitchens should have low flow fixtures, this reduces the water consumption drastically.
These were some of the sustainable construction practices that would be playing a vital role in inculcating sustainability during construction. The upcoming blog will have an elaborate material scope regarding the same.