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ECOLOGICAL HOUSIN

The need for eco-housing


Civilizations are often known by their architectural legacy. We discover in them the accumulated wisdom of thousands of years, based on a deep understanding of sustainable patterns of living. These priceless legacies are vanishing under the assault of the technologies and fashions let loose by the Industrial Revolution. The rapid growth of the global economy and the rising trends in population and urbanization has raised concrete jungles over once verdant landscapes, threatening flora and fauna. Social changes that accompany affluence such as the splitting up of the extended families into nuclear families and the demand for larger houses, have added momentum to the increasing demand for housing. The informal sector is playing a major part in supplying the huge demand for housing. This often includes self built houses, many of them illegal and mostly lacking infrastructure (UNEP DTIE, 2003. p.5) A combination of increasing quantities and decreasing qualities is straining the carrying capacity of the global ecosystem. Taking into account its entire lifespan, the built environment worldwide is currently responsible for up to 25 to 40% of energy use, 30 to 40% of solid waste generation, and 30 to 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.(UNEP DTIE, 2006) On the positive side, the building and construction sector have become the engines of economic growth in the modern era. On an average, the sector provides 5 to 10% of Employment,

What is eco-housing?
What is ecological housing? Ecological housing is one of the most modern and popular ways to stay BETTER than just green. Ecological housing has the purpose of reducing negative effects on the environment, and going further than that into actually aiding the environment. Ecological houses are built with the goal of sustainable development, in other words using resources and technologies that focus on renewability. Ecology is defined as the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of life as well as the interactions between organisms and their natural environment. This is what we humans are trying to accomplish with ecological housing to find a more harmonious way to interact with our natural environment here on planet earth. If we lessen the damage now, there will be a greater opportunity for the human race to thrive in the future. Ecological housing, applied to the global housing market, concentrates on many technologies; a new one, for example, is 'energy conservation housing'. In energy conservation housing, the process called exterior surface cooling involves the heat flow on a building moving from hot to cold areas. This minimizes the energy that we use to heat the interiors of our buildings. It is a new development that is being worked on in order to create energy-efficient plans for our global housing market and to boost even more the efficiency of our ecological housing.

Ecological housing is smart housing, meant to use materials and processes that are easy on the environment and energy usage, and even contribute to a healthy environment. Source: www.ecologicalhousing.com

What are the approaches for achieving eco-housing?

While eco-housing affirms that the basic purpose of buildings is to ensure human comfort, health and survival at an affordable cost, it reminds us that this is best achieved by being in harmony with the ecosystem and the socio-economic system. The use of resources for ensuring human comfort and survival would be done efficiently and effectively, without crossing any thresholds Many specialized tools and techniques could be used for achieving the objectives of eco housing. Some of the cross-cutting approaches that underlie many of these tools and techniques are: Integrated Design Process; Life Cycle approaches; decreasing resource intensity; bio-climatic design; adopting traditional and local architectural practices; and the use of renewable resources. Integrated Design Process In a conventional design process, each one works within his area of expertise with minimum interaction. The Integrated Design Process is based on inter-disciplinary research and design. Rather than studying the individual building components, systems, or functions in isolation, experts from different disciplines collaborate to analyse the interrelated impacts on the economy, environment, society, building components and materials and find common solutions. Through their collaborative effort they try to integrate different objectives like economic efficiency, environment friendly site planning, appropriate choices of materials and products, sustainable use of energy and water, provision of clean water, indoor environment quality and sanitation, waste water and solid waste management, and proper operation and maintenance.

Life Cycle approaches The traditional compare metalized approach considered each stage of a products life cycle, separately. For example, the manufacturer was not much concerned much with what happened to the product after sales. The environmental manager was unaware of the design and manufacturing issues and used to be preoccupied with end of pipe solutions after the waste or pollution was generated. Eco-housing encourages the consideration of the entire life-cycle of the house: from design, through construction, use, maintenance and to end of life activities. Life Cycle thinking takes into account all stages of a buildings existence and considers all stakeholders.

Decreasing resource intensity Eco-housing emphasizes the rational use of materials, energy and water. To reduce resource use, the approach discourages use of materials with high resource intensity like concrete and steel. It encourages the use of materials and products with longer lives and needing lesser maintenance. The concept of multifunctional design helps in extending the lifetime of a building, by converting or modifying it. Recycling is enabled by deconstruction friendly design and manufacturing. Energy efficiency and load management helps in reducing the energy intensity. Technologies and techniques are available for reducing water use. Bioclimatic design What is Bioclimatic design A building provides a passive control over the climate, by separating the interior from the exterior. Additional controls, called active controls, can be provided by energy consuming heating, cooling and humidity control systems. One of the aims in eco housing is to optimize the passive control strategies to achieve comfort conditions and use active controls only if essential. This approach is emphasized in bioclimatic architecture. The main elements in a bioclimatic design are passive. In contrast, in conventional design the designers do not give much consideration to freely available environmental resources. Instead they rely on active controls to create comfort conditions. Using renewable resources

The use of renewable materials and energy helps in reducing the use of non-renewable resources. This is sustainable as long as the rate of extraction of the renewable resource does not exceed its rate of regeneration and does not cause adverse effects, such as environmental impacts or shortages in food production. Site Development Site Layout Ensure that basic amenities such as bank, child care, post office, park, library, convenience grocery, primary school, and clinic and community hall are near to or within the site premises. Make a comprehensive transportation plan for the site, taking into consideration cleaner transportation options, parking capacity and conveniences for pedestrians and cyclists. All external traffic and pollution should end at the entrance of the site or the parking space. Discourage use of fossil fuel-based vehicles, on site. Plan pedestrian access ways and bicycle tracks within site premises. Analyze the existing roads and pathways on site, to reduce the length of roads and Utility lines. The site layout should allow for wind protection and solar access in winter and adequate sun protection and ventilation in summer. Having a mix of building types could help achieve this. Row buildings can be used as wind breakers. High-rise can increase ventilation in a dense development. Low-rise buildings should be sited so that they avoid excessive heat exchange with the environment and utilize their link with open spaces. Wherever possible, open spaces and the funnel effect should be used to increase airflow within buildings. The ratio of street width to building height determines the altitude up to which solar radiation can be cut off. Similarly, street orientation determines the azimuth up to which solar radiation can be cut off. These two factors should be optimized on large sites. But for warm humid climates, the main aim is to have air movement. Hence the streets should be oriented to utilise the natural wind patterns. Site should be properly planned to mitigate the heat island effect by reducing the total paved area allowed on site. The paved areas should be made pervious or open grid. Shading should be provided for the paved surfaces. Use gravity systems for water supply and sewerage, wherever possible, to avoid pumping. Try to locate all utility lines near already disturbed areas, like roads. Use concealed or shielded conduits for utility lines. Optimize the layout, to save land and natural resources, without affecting the quality of life. The layout should be flexible to accommodate future changes that could arise from the users needs or from other perspectives. The layout should use innovative ways to facilitate social networks among the residents.

Landscaping Selection of plant species should be based on its water requirements and the micro climatic benefits that would result from it. Deciduous trees provide s shade in summer and allow sunlight in summers. Evergreen trees provide shade and wind control throughout the year. Preserve existing vegetation on site. Mark all the existing vegetation in a tree survey plan. e Evolve tree preservation guidelines. Replant within the site premises any mature trees that have been removed, in the ratio of 1:5. At the ed, same time, care needs to be taken to avoid undesirable increase in humidity levels, by excessive plantations. Composting and plant wastes should be preferred to chemical fertilisers. They would also reduce fertilisers. the need for pesticides. Do not alter the existing drainage pattern on site. Existing grades should be maintained around existing vegetation. Ensure that the vegetation remains healthy. Use of organic mulches has to be done to enhance soil stabilization. Organic mulch include mulches shredded bark, wood chips, straw, composted leaves, etc. Inorganic mulches such as pea gravel, crushed granite, or pebbles can be used in unplanted areas. Stone mulches should not be used adjacent to the building as they can easily get heated an cause glare. Mulching is good for and stabilizing soil temperature also. The coarser the material, the deeper should it be applied. mperature Sedimentation basins, and contour trenching, also helps top reduce soil erosion. Some methods for altering the air flow pa patterns by landscaping are shown in the Figures 3.1 and 3.2 below

Building material and products objectives?


Eco-friendly materials are characterized by low-embodied energies, low emissions and are convenient for recycling and reuse. Building materials are mostly made from naturally available materials like clay, stone, sand or biomass. Proper selection of building materials would help to conserve these natural resources. Wastes and by products generated from various manufacturing processes could form secondary resources for production of building materials. This would allow savings in consumption of primary grade raw materials, energy, labour, and capital investments in plants. Using local materials could minimise emissions from transport, strengthen the local industries, increases employment for locals, helps avoid taxes on imported material and help in preserving the culture. The selection of appropriate materials is driven by local/ regional considerations. A material that is suitable for one place may not be suitable elsewhere. We also need to understand that the building styles and design are heavily influenced by prevailing fashions, especially the fashions in the developed world. This was one of the reasons why many modern construction materials could ease out more durable, climate responsive traditional building materials in the developing world.

Sustainable use of energy


The primary function of a building envelope is to protect its occupants from heat, cold, rain, and to provide thermal and visual comfort for work and leisure. In order to achieve comfort conditions, it is almost always essential to provide energy-consuming space conditioning and lighting devices. Due to the long lives of the structures being built, the operating phase will consume the largest proportion of the energy resources compared to the overall life cycle. (UNEP-IETC, 2004). Therefore optimising the use of energy is crucial to reach the goal of a sustainable building. An eco-building should have an optimum energy performance and yet provide the desirable thermal and visual comfort. The energy usage of a building can be improved by: a) energy demand reduction; b) energy efficiency; c) use of renewable sources of energy. Building form The compactness of a building could be measured by the ratio of surface area tovolume(S/V ratio). The S/V ratio should be as low as possible in hot-dry and cold-dryclimates, to minimise the rate of heat transfer. For hot, humid, tropical climate, themain aim should be to have a higher air flow inside the building, for which a low S/Vratio is not essential. (Krishan, A. et al., 2001). The perimeter to area ratioshould be kept to the minimum,to reduce heat gains. The roof gets the maximum amount of direct solar radiation and hence its shape is important. As shown below, the higher the roof angle, the lesser the amount of direct radiation. Landscaping The figures below shows how proper landscaping, could reduce the ambient temperature and thereby the cooling load of the house. The first figure shows the conventional design and the second one, the design that has made use of landscaping.

ECO HOUSING ASSESSMENT CRITERIA,pune municipal corporation ECO-HOUSING ASSESSMENT CRITERIA DEVELOPMENT TEAM The Eco-Housing Assessment criteria has been developed by the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC), The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) and the Science and Technology Park (STP), University of Pune under the USAID-GDA sponsored eco-housing initiative.

ECO-HOUSING ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 1. SCOPE The Eco-Housing Assessment Criteria are applicable to all residential building/building complexes, and single family residences. The Eco-Housing assessment criteria are divided into the following eight broad categories, with each individual category describes a set of measures that need to be fulfilled. Every measure has been assigned points depending on its impact on environment, and its relevance to local conditions. Wherever possible, the objective (intent), submittal requirements, financial implications and the impact of each measure across the value chain, are summarized. Focus areas Site Planning Environment Architecture Efficient Building Materials Energy Efficient Lighting Solar Water Heaters Water Conservation Segregation of Waste Other Innovative Technologies Total number of points Points 260 80 200 50 50 200 80 80 1000

All projects > 1 hectare are considered as large projects in the criteria. SITE PLANNING 1.1 MANDATORY: Do not select public parkland, land within 30m or 100 feet of wetland, forest 5land/ heritage belt, hills and hill slopes as site for housing as mentioned in Development Plan Rules Site plan showing site and its surrounding areas upto 2 Km radius To protect parkland, forestland/heritage belt from disturbance due to construction; to protect biodiversity. Locate eco-housing site so that basic amenities namely i) bank/ATM 5 ii) childcare iii) post office, park iv) library v) convenience grocery are within km of housing Submittal Requirement: Intent: Site plan showing site and the facilities within 1/2 Km radius To discourage use of vehicles for common chores

Submittal Requirement: Intent:

Locate basic amenities namely i) convenience grocery ii) healthcare facility 5(with provisions for first aid, doctor with scheduled timing), iii) communityhall within site premises Submittal Requirement: Intent: Site plan with location of these facilities on site -Convenience Ensure emergency healthcare Dissuade use of personalized transport * Applicable for large sites only (those larger than or equal to 1.0 hectare) Landscape design should promote and create habitats conducive to 5 native fauna in the form of urban niches. Refer to Appendix Native Fauna of Pune- Section 4, for suggested measures. Submittal Requirement: Intent: 1.6 MANDATORY Landscape drawings showing the measures implemented Biodiversity conservation and preservation For projects larger than 1.0 hectare, remove topsoil, other than black cotton soil that is not suitable to landscaping, and preserve for reuse onsite or send to Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) designated sites. Method to be followed in removing and laying back topsoil: - Topsoil shall be stripped to a depth of 200 mm from areas proposed to be occupied by buildings, roads, paved areas and external services - Stockpile topsoil to a height of 400 mm in designated areas and reapply topsoil to site during plantations - Separate topsoil from subsoil debris and stones larger than 50 mm diameter - A pH of 6.0 to 7.5 and organic content of not less than 1.5% by mass be maintained; add lime where pH < 6.0 to adjust to 6.5 or higher up to 7.5. Any soil having soluble salt content > 500 parts/million shall not be used for purpose of landscaping - Topsoil should be spread uniformly at minimum compacted depth of 50 mm on grade of 1:3 or steeper slopes; minimum depth of 100 mm for shallower slopes or 300 mm for flatter land Submittal Requirement: Site plan (1 no. CAD drawing) along with a narrative to demarcate areas on site from which topsoil has to be gathered

Designate area where it will be stored Indicate areas where it will be reapplied after construction is complete Narrative explaining the methods of soil stabilization used; wherever required accompanied by photographs with brief description Certificate by the landscape architect on topsoil laying, soil stabilization, adequate primary soil nutrient and pH Intent: To preserve and reuse nutrient rich topsoil for landscaping

MANDATORY

Prevent soil erosion for large sites during construction by providing sedimentation basin, contour trenching, mulching, as required. Provide plans to show erosion control measures taken.

Submittal Requirement: CAD drawing showing site plan details of Existing buildings Existing slopes Site drainage pattern Erosion and sedimentation control measures Intent: Prevent soil erosion by proper storm water management Preserve existing vegetation on site; preserve land that is rich in bio 15 diversity; mark all existing vegetation in tree survey plan; follow detailed guidelines of tree preservation as per draft National Building Code; Part 10:Landscaping, signs, and outdoor display structures (under revision) Submittal Requirement: 1 no. CAD drawing showing proposed landscape plan with identification of trees (different colour coding for trees to be used for protected, preserved, transplanted, removed trees) corresponding to a tabular tree survey (to be included in the drawing) Explain in brief measures adopted for protecting existing landscape (limit to 250 words) Certificate of landscape architect confirming proper protection and preservation of existing trees during construction process Intent: To protect vegetation; carbon sequestration; reduce soil erosion. Do compensatory depository forestation in ratio of 1:5 within site premises for all mature trees removed

Submittal Requirement: Landscape plan, with photographs, clearly highlighting the trees removed (Indicating the number of trees), if applicable, with the number of replanted trees in the proportion of 1:5 in the proposed landscape design List details about species, which existed, and the species that have been replanted on site To be validated/cross checked during plinth checking and completion checking Intent: To compensate for the removed vegetation. RELEVANCE TO ECOHOUSING Just as housing is a essential human need so is biodiversity conservation the need for sustainable development. It may be discovered that those places with gentle topography, water, mild climates and other features so attractive to people are also important for wildlife. Construction, especially through the building of structures, impervious surfaces and roads, destroys and fragments habitat and disrupts ecological processes. Invasive species thrive and pollution increases in these disturbed environments, causing numerous additional problems for native species and their habitat. A building can be truly eco- friendly only when constructed with the least impact on the biodiversity. The impacts of construction activity are not restricted only to the actual building site but it also impacts the biodiversity at the site of disposal of construction waste, site of disposal of excavated material, at the burrowing sites for aggregate, sand, soil for bricks etc. Most of these areas are within the fringes of a city and therefore these secondary impacts need consideration. Ecological needs are most appropriately addressed at broad scales, like at regional or state levels. At this scale, it may be possible to identify large blocks of relatively undisturbed land that provide good habitat for a broad range of species and allow natural disturbances like floods, fire, and hurricanes to shape the landscapes as they would under more natural conditions. At the macro level to address biodiversity in relevance to eco-housing, we consider it at two levels the city level and at the site level SITE SPECIFIC CONSERVATION Changes of land use from non-residential to a residential use or even a low-density use to a highdensity use impacts the ecology of the area. Biodiversity conservation is site specific and the needs for conservation on each site would be different. Biodiversity conservation for eco-housing has to be done before the site is built upon and not as a remedial action after the natural system has been destroyed. Thus site-specific conservation should be considered in a two-prong method, a) conservation of the existing natural habitats b) Remedial measures to restore and promote the natural biodiversity of the area. a) Conservation of the existing natural habitats 1. The first step is to inventories the naturally occurring flora and fauna on the site with the involvement of taxonomy experts and other experts. Conduct a detailed ecological survey of the site to identify floral species of trees, shrubs and even weeds. Identify the faunal species present and survey their habits in the area.

2. The natural drainage pattern on the site, its topography and slopes are also a important component of its biodiversity. These should be studied and taken into consideration during design stage. The first, second and third order streams should be maintained and not filled for leveling. 3. Based on the site inventory report identify pockets of microhabitats that need to be left undisturbed. The building layout should be designed with the aim of conserving these areas. 4. It is important to do a study of the movements of fauna in the area. A corridor study of the site and immediate surrounding area to understand the movements of fauna and the impact of construction activity on the path should be conducted, especially for those sites closer to hills forest patches. 5. The destruction of natural habitat could be because of absence of co-ordination between the various activities in the construction process. Developing a logical framework that provides a sequence of activities that ensures protection of the biodiversity of the area should be prepared. Measures should be identified to conserve the biodiversity at every stage of the design and construction activity. 6. Transplantation of trees Not all trees require to be transplanted. Sometimes the cost of transplantation may be exorbitant, compared to the cost of planting a sapling of that species. 7. Based on the site inventory trees that need to be conserved at its present location, and trees that can be transplanted should be prioritized. 8. It should be noted that although the emphasis is on conserving and developing native vegetation trees. If existing non-native trees/exotic species exist on the site, these should not be cut to be replaced by native vegetation. b) Remedial measures to restore and promote the natural biodiversity of the area. 1. Plant only native species in the landscaped area. Plant trees of species that existed naturally on the site before development. Once the site has altered it is impossible to regain the original natural biodiversity of the area. Remedial actions are therefore focused towards creating a conducive urban niche for the flora and fauna that have been displaced from the site. 2. Alternate paths should be identified and developed for the fauna movement wherever old paths have been altered. 3. Landscape for the building should be designed to integrate the conserved pockets of microhabitats. 4. Create urban niches to form environments conducive for fauna. 5. Landscape of the building should be designed to recreate the natural connections of the site with the surrounding area and not in isolation. 6. Provide for areas of natural growth in the landscape design that would allow weeds and seasonal plants to grow, as these would attract insects and consequently other fauna. 7. Buildings should not only have landscaped areas but also provide for children playgrounds where games such as cricket can be played

FUTURE MEASURES To promote biodiversity conservation for eco eco-housing there are various measure that need to be taken. These measures would create a resource base that can assist individual builders to access the impacts of the project on the biodiversity of the region. 1. Damage to biodiversity and impacts from construction are many a times mainly because of absence of knowledge and awareness. Builders, civil engineers and architects need to be educated on ways to conserve the biodiversity during development stages. 2. A training Programme for Architects, Landscape architects and civil engin engineers. 3. There exists a need to generate a larger awareness regarding the impacts of the construction activity on the environment. Public awareness needs to be created to educate the buyer of residential properties of the importance of eco-friendly constru friendly construction. 4. Need to prepare a detailed study of movements of fauna in Pune city from surrounding areas. 5. Need to prepare a GIS based biodiversity map of Pune, which displays the various Biodiversity habitats and sensitive microhabitats of Pune. 6. Prepare Gardens of Pune GIS based database, with information about the various species of flora and fauna present in each garden. 7. PMC should develop a list of trees that are recommended for transplantation. This list should be flexible enough, to permit changes depending upon the site inventory for selecting trees for transplantation. 8. One exercise that requires to be undertaken would be for experts to visit four sites that are under construction and record the various activities undertaken that are changing/d changing/destroying the biodiversity of the area. Technology for ecological housing

Different ground materials reflect, store and absorb heat to different.

Integration of vegetation in the building to minimize heat gain gain,

Wind catchers

Minimizing the surface area to volume ratio minimizes heat transfer

Various roof forms and their areas of exposure Basic roof forms and their effect on ventilation

Makes saving on cost of this slab compared to the traditional slab by about 23%. Reduces use of concrete and saves cement and steel by about 40%.

According to survey conducted by Global Market Institute -a Seattle-based groupIndians are most concerned for climate change

India is planning to invest over Rs 74,000 crore (Rs 740 billion) within the next five years to improve energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions from its power sector. Coal Coal-based power generation plants account for around 60 per cent of India's total car carbon emissions. Source:http://www.business-standard.com/2009 standard.com/2009

Our Planet has got Fever: Earths Surface temperature continuously

Source: http://renewableindia.com/

Sources: 1. Advanced building technologies and practices http://www.advancedbuildings.org 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Green Buildings BC http://www.greenbuildingsbc.com Alliance to Save Energy http://www.ase.org Ecosustainable http://www.ecosustainable.com.au/links.htm urban ecology Edited by kevin j. gaston ,university of Sheffield kevin Source: http://renewableindia.com/ Source:http://www.business-standard.com/2009 standard.com/2009