While much is said about ecologically sensitive building materials and construction technologies there is so much you can do within your home as well that makes environmental sense. The depletion of natural resources and rise environmental alarms have been prevalent not only in India, but around the world. Every aspect of your home can be done up to ensure that it can be organic and ecological. We tell you how you can your green thumbs working.
Furniture is an element of interiors that strikes you first and when you choose, it is vital to consider the impact of material and processes on the environment while buying them. Furniture made with recycled wood, cultivated wood, cane and natural materials are good green choices. The idea of sustainable furniture is about reducing the demand on natural resources by ensuring that it is replaced by environmentally friendly alternatives that are sustainable. “Manufacturers of furniture like us have to be careful, to ensure that the finished products do not damage the environment. Measures to be undertaken by furniture makers in support of the environment and society, include designing fewer environment burdening products, using eco-friendly materials packaging/ transportation and recycling/reusing used furniture and scrap. We ensure all these measures are carried out at our manufacturing units. Using recyclable material in India is not easy. At our facilities we use chip and particle board – instead of solid wood – in our products. Also, the solid wood we use is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. We use bonded foam instead of virgin foam and where there is no structural demand, recycled boards are used in chairs,” says Anil Mathur, Chief Operating Officer, Godrej Interio.
While choosing flooring options there are many organic/sustainable options available. Consumers are looking for modern interior options that are eco – friendly, offer elegance as well as provide traditional home comfort. “Natural material finishes like wood, stones and marble and look of these tile designs are modern trends that create the look and feel of traditional homes. Ceramic tiles are all about bold colours and patterns and wood-inspired tiles are the perfect way to be ecologically sensitive. Tile manufacturers are now making tiles that look exactly like all kinds of different stones at more affordable prices and the manufacturing of these tiles is easier on the environment than the quarrying of real stone,” says Ajith Babu, CEO NITCO Limited. Organic flooring variants include bamboo flooring that is fully non-toxic and formaldehyde free, with no volatile organic compounds. Even hardwood flooring is going green as it is now being made with wood that has been sustainably harvested. Cork Flooring is also an ecologically sensitive option being moisture-resistant, thermal insulated and made from renewable sources. In fact using recycled materials like glass and clay and even rubber is trending as far as organic flooring is concerned.
The concept of live walls have been around for a while and if you want to bring a miniature forest home, ‘Moss Tiles’ are one of the best options available. The tiles help give your walls an eco-friendly look and a fresh ambience to your space. “Moss Tiles are made of a natural preserved lichen and can easily be shaped according to choice. The maintenance required is almost zero. Easy to be installed and leaving a strong, natural impact on the eyes, these tiles can be used at home spaces, wellness areas, hotels, office areas, commercial centers,” says Parushni Aggarwal, Studio Creo. This apart you can have walls with planters so that you can have plants on your walls as well and this can ensure that you can create your very own green patch right on the wall of your living room! Also choose paints with a low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) so that the walls breathe!
Your bathroom is one area of a home where the water consumption is very heavy. Hence it is vital that you choose products that help reduce and control its usage. Rajesh Mehra, Director & Promoter, Jaquar Group says, “water saving products such as flow restrictors (that controls the amount of water that flows to the drain), air showers (that sucks air into the water when you shower reducing the quantity of the water), sensor faucets (that activates only when it senses your hands). With all such eco-friendly offerings, customers now have a choice to make a smart purchase. These can be fitted in all the interior spaces from homes to malls, workplaces, public places, etc. With the dawn of energy efficient technology, it is possible to move forward binding rapid development keeping the environment in mind.”
Furnishings are an important part of going organic and natural organic cottons are a great choice. Since the beginning of time, these materials have made their way to our homes from the kitchen to bed linen, to clothing, to décor. Mrinmayee Kundalia, Founder and Director at TUNI Tales avers, “I believe it is important to have breathable material such as wood and cottons around the home. Their breathability and natural aura help maintaining a sense of calm. While choosing furnishings for your home, it is important to find colours that are expressive but at the same time sustainable. It allows you to appreciate the handmade connect by reconnecting you with the ecological surroundings. Organic materials such as fruit and vegetable dyes, wood, stone, cotton etc coexist with nature and are available in beautiful home decor; all there is left to do is to make that conscious choice of choosing the organic over inorganic. Hence we have been mentally conditioned to accept these materials both physically and psychologically. This kind of familiarity and acceptance of the body to these materials, I believe creates a soothing effect”
Gypsum based plasterboards in wet area surfaces used in the core and surface of ceilings and drywall separations of kitchens, bathrooms prevents high consumption of water, resulting in cost-cutting and eco-friendly solutions. Materials that provide innovative solutions to the challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection must be chosen. “We have always believed that Gyproc India has the potential to play a noteworthy role in shaping the future of the Indian construction landscape. We, at Gyproc India, aim to further strengthen our India footprint by spearheading our experience and capacity to continuously innovate for eco-friendly solutions as well as to become the reference for sustainable habitat in India. We strive to ensure the environmental impact of a new product is considered at the very beginning of the innovation process,” says Venkat Subramanian, Regional CEO – Construction Products India & Managing Director – Gyproc India.
An important element of decor is lighting and consumption of energy can be controlled by choosing the right kinds of lighting solutions in a home. Again with lights, you can make the best use of natural lights by having sky lights and windows that are placed in the east so you can get a lot of sunlight. For artificial lighting by far the most energy efficient solution comes from LED lights. These lights not just consume 70 percent less energy as compared to halogen lights but last for years so even though they are expensive, they work out very economical in the long run.
One of the best ways to get nature inside your home is to add plants inside the home. This will work well especially when you choose plants you can grow indoors. “Areca palm is a leafy plant that can be grown anywhere in the house in indirect sunlight. Aloe vera is best kept near a sunny window. Indian basil or Tulsi has several medicinal properties and helps in purifying the air and improves air quality. Dracaena is a plant does not require direct sunlight. You can place it near a sheer curtain or a window and the Weeping fig, a leafy plant helps against emissions from curtains, carpets and furniture. Keep it away from direct cold or hot air from doorways as this also causes leaves to fall. The Snake plant is best suited for bathrooms since it filters out formaldehyde, which is commonly found in personal-care products and is easy to maintain,” says Sagar Datta from Casa interio.
This story appeared in the July issue of Smartlife here: SL_0717_80-83_Green homes