People are gradually moving towards living in apartments. There are definite advantages of a life lived in apartments. When we think of building smart cities, the very first thought that we have is to build clusters of apartments where people can be gradually shifted. Apartment living definitely creates lesser carbon footprint than living in independent houses. Green apartment is nothing but an apartment either in a Green Building or an apartment where one has adopted a number of steps which are helping in resource conservation and energy savings. Our fathers have lived all their lives in independent houses and even, we have spent our childhood in those lovely houses with courtyards and lots of spaces in front and back.
In those days, even the technology was not that evolved and conservation of resources was the last thing on the minds of planners. If we visit Chandigarh or Bhubaneswar, we can very well see that though these cities are best planned in their times but the layout of these cities could have been improved a lot had the concepts of Green Buildings, smart cities and present technologies would have been accessible to the planners of that period. If present planners are given the option of redesigning these two well planned cities, I am pretty sure that they would create the equivalent sqft areas for dwellings, roads, landscaping with emphasis on community living in about half the land allocated for the purpose. With land cost touching the skies, the idea of going vertical has been well adopted by planners of yore today.
There is a strong misconception that once you start living in apartments, there is not much you can do for the environment. No doubt there are more avenues to work on in Independent Buildings but apartment dwellers can also chip in handsomely to contribute and do their bit for the environment.
Checking Rain Harvesting: A new apartment invariably handed over to residents presently has a well laid out Rain Harvesting setup. But while checking the handing over lists, make sure that your Welfare associations have thoroughly checked the network laid along the multi-storied buildings’ elevation and underneath the surface.
Roof Top Solar Power Plants: With many Indian states going in for Net Metering concepts, it will be a good idea to utilize the roof tops of multi-storied buildings for installation of Solar Panels. Roughly, 1 kw of solar photovoltaic power plant requires 100-130 sqft of area on the rooftop. The roof top area can be very well utilized for lighting the common areas through environment friendly solar pv plants.
Landscaping: With proper selection of plants, trees and shrubs, the landscaping architect can reduce the air conditioning loads of entire buildings.
Orientation: This factor though plays a very important role in determining annual energy bill but the dwellers can hardly do anything to alter or orientation of the building. Its decided by consideration like space utilization, movement of sun, road network and other factors which are generally beyond the control of apartment resident.
However there are some tips of living in Green Apartment
- installing LED bulbs,
- use of shades and two layers of curtains,
- limiting the use of potable water,
- separate outlets for gray and black water
- recycling RO waste
- pulling out chords from all charging stations/points when not in use
- running ACs at 25 deg centigrade
- Having at least one meal with all family members to avoid wasting energy/fuel
- Sealing the apartment windows and doors so as to limit the ingress of heat in to the conditioned area.