Achieving Greener House Through These Easy Tips

Green is in – not just in the sole sense of its color, tones, and hues but also due to its association to efforts done to help preserve Earth and its resources. If you are a homeowner who is concerned of helping in the large-scale conservation efforts, making your house greener and more at tone with nature through the following easy tips can be your right start.

Cut down on what you consume.

Consumption reduction is probably one of the easiest ways to make your house greener. Cutting down on what you use and consume will reduce your household waste production. According to available stats, the United States generates an annual municipal solid waste of 208 million tons – and the figure has your waste contributions. By reducing your consumption of every thing such as toilet paper, bottled water, and other packed things- you are actually contributing not only in lessening waste production but also in reducing energy consumption needed to manufacture those things.

Replace old appliances with those bearing the Energy Star logo.

The use of appliances contributes to about 20% of a household's electric bill. Of this 20%, a large segment comes from your old appliances. Replacing them with Energy Star compliant matches would cut down on your energy consumption. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the energy-efficient appliances utilize up to 50% less of what the standard models use. This is a huge slice on your average electricity usage.

Change your water usage behavior.

While a lot of water can be saved with the use of water-efficient fixtures like shower heads and toilet flushes – a lot more can be saved if you would change your water usage behavior. Simple things like turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth can save up to 4.5 gallons of water. Bigger volume of water can be saved if you will use a broom to drive away the dirt and sand particles on your driveway. This act alone is estimated to save up to 80 gallons of water.

Choose bamboo over wood.

If you are into replacing your floor for a groner feel, the use of bamboo is better than using hardwood. By using bamboo, you are actually contributing to hardwood resources conservation. You are also directly contributing towards lessening operating energy used when cutting the hardwood into standard dimensions. Although bamboo comes from nature, it is a fast-replenishing resource that just takes a maximum of six years to mature as compared to hardwood which normally takes 5 to 10 decades to grow mature enough.

Use compost instead of synthetic fertilizers.

Tune up your garden greener with the use of compost rather the commercially available synthetic fertilizers. Compost supplies your plants with all of the essential microorganisms needed to help the plants absorb the rich nutrients within the soil. Compost will not damage the soil's pH as compared to the synthetic counterparts which have been demonstrated to degenerate the soil's nutrient content through repeated use. Also, the use of compost as natural fertilizer can be your way to garden-to-table produces which are healthy options for your daily cooking.

Being green does not mean you always have to go to the streets and bring a placard to join demonstrations. Action is greater than speaking loudly without actions at all. Be green now and start it right in your doorstep!

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Is There Really A Need for Sustainable Green Housing?

Anchored on the growing issues of climate change and global warming, sustainable green housing plans and developments have been at the forefront of many real estate company ports. The reasons that green housing are more sustainable than the traditional or conventional houses become a primary key point in lobbying these types of homes to modern-day home buyers. The demand for more eco-friendly homes is seen to be doubling incredibly. But sans its purchasing price, is there really a need for sustainable green housing. The rest of the article attempts to explain.


One of the main thrusts of sustainable green housing is to provide home owners with homes that are energy-efficient. This means that the entire household, through various means, can cut down its power-related expenses. Aside from the use of construction materials that facilitate natural movement of cool and hot air when needed, energy efficiency also lies on the use of appliances that are certified Energy Star compliant. With its logo printed in a household appliance, expect to cut down on your electric bill to as much as 50% compared to non-compliant models.

Resource conservation

A new construction home uses a lot of materials that required raw ingredients to be used during their manufacture. Wall, floor, and roofing materials all consume some of the earth's natural resources. If you are going to use new materials each time – you become liable for the depletion of natural resources. For instance, materials made of wood directly increase the number of trees being cut down. And for every tree being cut down, an area of ​​the forest becomes depleted. In green housing, the use of fully-recycled or partially-recycled construction materials is promoted. This is a great answer towards resource conservation.

Healthier indoor and outdoor setting

Green housing also aims to provide home owners with homes that maintain healthier indoor and outdoor setting. By standards, the use of construction materials that emit harmful components like gases is avoided. This means that green houses are to be free of paints with VOCs, asbestos, and other materials which are hazardous to the health. Do not you want a healthier indoor air that is free of these respiratory hazards?

For a healthier outdoor setting, sustainable home gardening is encouraged. Not only ornamental plants are advised for planting, but also those which are herbal, and those which yield fruits and vegetables. Is not this healthy? To make it healthy, make it organic by avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers. You'll have a lovely garden fresh ingredients for use in your already-appetizing recipes. How's that for sumptuous meals?

Green housing aims to make lives comfortable not only with the appeal and design of the house, but also of its healthier approach to functionality.

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Environmentally Friendly Construction Materials

The use of environment-friendly construction materials is becoming more popular these days. Partly, because of the louder calls for sustainable living; and large, because of the immediate need to improve earth's health. The acceleration of environmental problems such as resource depletion and climate change has strong association with the real estate industry – specifically with new construction.

If you are buying a new home, you could already be thinking of purchasing one that is more conscious of the environment. Here are some of the construction materials that befriend nature, describing your attention of probable choices for the house you are going to buy.


This material has been used in buildings since the ancient times probably dating back to some 5000 years ago. Evidences point to its usage because of its resilient, durable, and water resistant properties. Contrary to modern coatings, lime in its original state which is calcium carbonate, has the ability to release the moisture from the surfaces – rather than trap it. This material has been rediscovered by construction engineers and applied today as one of the eco-friendly materials in green home sand buildings.

Cob or Mud

Have you ever read history books with sections dealing with homes made of mud or clay? These houses are called cob homes. Many of them are located in Asia and in some parts of Africa and Europe. Cob made use of clay-based soil, water and straw – mixing them together until desired thickness and ladling them into the stone foundation to trod them them into place. Modern construction got inspiration from this and basically employers the same materials and principles. But with the use of mud loaves, the cob can get thicker up to 300 to 500 mm. Rubble trenches, earth bags, and rammed tires can be used as cheap foundations.

Flax and hemp

These materials are eyed as natural alternatives to expensive insulation materials like fiberglass, mineral wool, and multi-foils. Flax and hemp are natural plant fibers which are made available to the construction industry in batts and rolls. These plant fibers contain borates which have fungi and pest-killing properties along with its fire-retardant capabilities. To bind them together, starch is added. The eco-friendly property of these materials relations on their low embodied energy.

These are just some of the environment-friendly materials which you may want to consider for use on your new construction house. For other eco-friendly construction materials, you can talk to your local real estate agent who has the freshest information about green building and green real estate.

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The Advantages of Green Building

Green building is not a new trend in architecture and housing. It is existent for several decades but only these past few years that the call for building homes and establishments according to the idea of ​​a harmless, energy-efficient and environment-friendly setting has become louder. If you are thinking what it is and what it can bring to property owners, here are its advantages.


Many home buyers, especially those who are just delving into family life, are concerned about the slightly higher price of green homes and buildings than regular types. Special requirements to secure permits contribute to this. However, what some people do not understand is its long-term cost-efficiency. As time pass by, much energy will be saved and this will be returned to as much as ten times in terms of money savings. When taken into consideration, the savings given by green building and the expenses that can be incurred with regular houses – will break even in several years. There will be no significant difference at all in terms of total expenses.

Energy efficiency

The use of wood on green homes contributes to reduced embodied energy. This type of material which is normally used on walls and floors can also reduce the operating energy consumed in each day. However, more modern green homes capitalize on utilizing sustainable and renewable energy sources to run lights and other electricity-using appliances in the house. If you are to look into newer designs, there are green homes that have solar panels, biomass systems, and hydroelectric-generating features. Expensive as they may seem but you'll be surprised that the federal government as well as some private groups and NGOs are actually giving grants and assistance to fund such alternative electricity-generating systems to be installed in green homes. On designs – insulations and high-performance windows are increasingly becoming popular choices too.

Water efficiency

The earth is being depleted of its water resources. High volume of water goes into waste each day because of inefficient water systems in regular homes. Leaking faucets, toilet flushes, pools, and shower heads all contribute to the wastey waste of water. Green homes eliminate these problems by imposing water-efficient and water-saving systems such as the installation of rainwater recycling facility which can be connected into gardens and even in the toilet's flush system. The use of water-friendly bathroom fixtures is also part of this implementation.

Lesser maintenance

Green buildings require less maintenance efforts. You will not be repainting exterior surfaces so often because materials are better left in their natural forms and colors. Beside, paint can contribute to indoor air pollution.

The advantages of green homes speak as to why many new home buyers are looking for such types of home. The discussed advantages are just several of the multiple benefits associated with green homes. Improved temperature regulation and better indoor air quality are also added benefits which can be explained to you in detail by your friendly local real estate agent.

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Things You Need To Know About Log Homes

We all think from time to time about having a log house, and this article wants to show that this dream can become a reality very easily. In today's fast-moving world, building companies offer a wide choice of beautiful log houses. Wood as the main building material has been used ever since human started building a home for itself. Log houses have been widely used and built in the Northern part of the United States and have been developed and brought into practice by other regions in Europe. People started to build wooden houses in the areas where there were plenty of trees. Most of the time, log cabin becomes a perfect place to keep various gardening tools and other equipment to be used on the farm or ranch. Most wooden homes were very simple one room homes. Nowadays, charming and durable wooden homes seem to be making a comeback, with modern features such as skylight windows and heated terraces.

There are many benefits of owning a wooden house. Log homes need less energy to build and they need less energy for cooling and heating compared to traditional brick houses. For most thermal efficiency logs walls should be at least 6 to 8 inches thick. Log walls are natural sound insulators too. Today, wooden houses are created with all the conveniences that you would want from a regular house and much more. Log cabins are available in many structures, sizes, and configurations. Trees such as pine, spruce, cypress, and cedar are always used to build wooden houses, so these log cabins are sturdy and durable. Garden buildings such as log cabins, garden offices or wooden gazebos are very popular in many countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, and France.

Log homes are usually made of logs or timbers, its creation depends upon a number of things to consider. If you want to have your own house, take a look for companies that specialize in constructing wooden houses. Not everyone knows what they are doing on this, so make sure that you go with the company that knows exactly how to build a high-quality wooden house that you will love. Frankly speaking, no special experience or equipment is required to assemble one of these wooden houses because logs are numbered and are simply bolted together but it is necessary to do as much research as possible before choosing from which company to order your wooden house. There are a few things to consider before making a choice which log house building company to go with. Remember that you can never go wrong with dealing with a company directly instead of buying building materials through a dealer. It is worth the time and effort to select a reputable wooden house manufacturer, buy direct from them with confidence, and to assemble log cabin yourself with care and pride in the result.

If you want to have a really sturdy and durable house, you have to search for those builders who have a lot of experience in this area. Some log home builders may use old building methods. There is a big difference constructing a regular duplex in the town and a log house the middle of the woods. It is better to deal with the companies that will give you plans and a detailed layout of each wall which shows the location of each numbered log and where the bolts should be located. What is more, they have to give you a list of materials, a description of each material. They should also give you a list of equipment and tools you will need. It is also good to have a guide of useful tips and some extra logs.

The log cabin is a sturdy, durable, and inexpensive house which can meet all your needs. And I believe that this is true because log house meets your budget, increases in value, and provides monetary security. Many people actually choose wooden houses solely for the great look that they have. Furthermore, wooden house gives you a lifestyle that saves the planet and gives you more relaxing living environment. As the natural and renewable building materials have come back into modern building processes, wooden homes become more and more popular worldwide. Do not miss a chance to have a home which makes you feel comfortable.

There is no place in the world where a log cabin is a bad idea. You can build your log cabin far from the heavy traffic, noisy neighbors, and other irritating things. Today, log homes are often built in the gardens to be used as garden offices, summer homes or residential log cabins. Finding an ideal log house is well worth the time and research and with so much choice available there will certainly be something that meets your needs. The building standards that are used for wooden houses are really high today. This means you get a high-quality house and it also means that you have great value in your house as well. Most often, log cabins appraise out higher than regular homes that are about the same size. Therefore, you will end up with more equity in your house and if you have to sell it, you will be able to make a good profit. Once you see all the advantages of a wooden house, you may choose this dream house for yourself. You will not be alone – the number of log houses is growing every year.

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What Are The Benefits Of Green Building Designs?

The benefits that accrue as a result of green building technology are many and varied. To permit an elaborate discussion, the benefits can be divided into three major branches; environmental, economic and social.

Environmental Benefits

Green buildings have specific advantages that they confer upon the environment. These benefits are critical because they affect the overall conditions in which we operate.

Water Conservation

Green buildings maximize on the concept of water recycling to sustain their operations. For instance, graywater and rainwater are recycled and used in areas such as irrigation and urinal flow. These results into huge water savings for the occupants and the environment as a whole.

Emissions Reductions and Energy Savings

Modern techniques like day lighting and solar powering sit at the center of the green building technologies. These natural means of energy generation are eco-friendly unlike the fossil fuels that release toxic gaseous emissions into the environment. In addition, they contribute to off-grid power consumption which saves on energy.

Waste Reduction

Unlike in conventional building practices, building contractors in green technology make use of building deconstruction as a way of renovating and revamping old concessions. This results in waste reduction because it does not include full-scale demolition which gives rise to huge piles of solid waste.

Economic Benefits

To the economy, the following benefits can be realized.

Increased Marketability and Property Value

With escalating energy costs, demand for green buildings has increased because of their low operating and maintenance costs. This has made their value to increase considering within a short period of time as corporate bodies and government agencies continuously searching for these concessions to house their staffs and operations.

Enhanced Employee Productivity

Green buildings avail an enabling indoor environment that has an enhanced air quality. Research done by Fisk from July to August 2002 and published in the Wall street Journal revealed that employees who operate under such conditions are more productive than their peers.

Social Benefits

Improved Health

Green building technology gives room for adequate air circulation, excellent day lighting, temperature stability and an overall enhanced indoor environmental quality (IEQ). The combined effect of all these elements result in improved health through the elimination of problems such as allergies, headaches, nausea, respiratory difficulties and many others.

The concept of green building needs to be supported through legal and economic frameworks. This is because green technology has a potential and sustainable impact. In the long term, the positive attributes of this green technology will spill over through the enhancement of the quality of life and preservation of natural resources.

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Elevate Your Lifestyle – Live in a Gated Community

The Pros and Cons of living in a Community

Did you know that Gated communities are fast becoming an attractive alternative living compared to conventional real estate? Living within a protected and controlled environment has multiple benefits as well as a few draw backs. Therefore, it is essential to consider the pros and cons of living in a Community.


A lifestyle of luxury and exclusivity

Living within a Private Gated Community, is sure to transform and upgrade your lifestyle significantly. Exposure to many luxurious amenities and scenic landscapes is enough to convince you of this change. There is also the added benefit of being able to access these particular facilities at your own time and leisure, giving you a sense of exclusivity.

Standards of security and privacy

One of the most valuable benefits that it offers to you and your family is the assurance of a safe and secure environment, 24 X 7.

A healthy and clean environment

Guarded against pollution and noise from the outside, your environment remains clean and healthy. A plethora of greenery also adds to keeping the air you breathe pure and fresh.

A feeling of belonging

An extremely important aspect of living amongst people in a gated community is the sense of community you develop, with one another. When you stay in a gated community, you will be not only the owner of your plot, but also the owner of an entire layout, the amenities it has. Here, you will treat each of the amenity as your own and take good care of the same. Here, the entire community will have best standards in maintenance and will be well kept.


Maintenance Costs

Facilities such as swimming pool, gymnasium, health center and sports fields are added benefits and therefore a tad bit higher than regular living.

Accessibility and Commuting

These are often located protected from the city's hustle and bustle. Also, there would be little reason for you to travel such a distance as most of facilities will be available within the community.

Each individual's requirements are different. Therefore taking a closer look at the requirements best suited for you, could make it easier for you to choose the ideal home.

The best part of living in a gated community is to live the High Standard Life. It elevates your lifestyle. You will have likeminded neighbors and friends.

The kids will enjoy living in it as they will have every facility for playing, cycling, running etc. The club house in the major layouts developed by the developers will have all the facility for Indoor Games and Party hall etc.

These will have huge open spaces and will be helpful for children to play. Also, you can have fresh air every day. The hustle bustle of the city life can be avoided by making your abode in it.

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Energy Efficient Buildings With Glazed Aluminium Windows and Doors

Energy efficient buildings have been seen as a luxury rather than a necessity in some countries. With many countries worldwide introducing new legislation to improve on the total building energy-efficiency footprint, it has prompted for an essential holistic look at building processes. Leading aluminum extrusion manufacturers have taken this environmental requirement to heart and have introduced thermally efficient window systems which, along with their other products, comply with national standards.

Conservation of energy is of serious concern in building design as a large amount of energy is expended in the heating or cooling of interior spaces. One of the priorities is to cut down on the internal illumination by increasing glazing to allow for increases in ambient light. This however increases the heat loss or gain to these spaces as windows and doors can notoriously be bad insulators.

Energy-efficiency in building and in particular glazing systems has been reserved mainly for cold climate zones and this has been the obvious costs involved in heating buildings. Now, the costs involved in cooling buildings are becoming just as apparent. As important as it has been to keep heat from going out of a building, it is becoming as important to ensure that heat coming into a building is limited.

The U-Value Measurement is used to evaluate the thermal performance of building material. Simply put: U-Value is the measure of the rate of heat loss through a material. Thus in all aspects of home design, the lowest U-Values ​​should be aimed for where possible because the lower the U-value, the less heat that is unnecessarily escaping or entering.

Energy (temperature) flows through glazed windows and doors through a combination of four main factors namely: air leakage, conduction, convection and radiation.

• Air Leakage
The flow of temperature through (in or out) the product through unsealed opening frames. Some windows do not have any seals, making them non-compliant to building regulation and extremely inefficient altogether.

• Conduction
The process by which heat is directly transmitted through a substance where there is a difference of temperature.

• Convection
The movement caused within a fluid or air by the tension of hotter and therefore less substance material to rise, and colder, denser material to sink under the influence of gravity, which consequentially results in the transfer of heat.

• Radiation
Heat transferred in the form of light energy through glass (including non-visible spectra).

Both clear float glass and aluminum are reliably poor insulators of heat. In buildings, they equate to a large portion of the energy required to maintain optimal environmental conditions. Designing an Aluminum Glazed System to overcome all four heat transfer conditions is paramount to enhancing the saving of energy which can be achieved all year around.

Aluminum: Aluminum being non-transparent is affected by radiant energy by absorbing it and converting it into both conductive and convectional heat. Aluminum is one of the best heat conductors and because of these properties it is used as a heat sink in computer thermal applications. Controlling the conductive and convection properties is important and possible when designing thermally efficient systems.

Glass: Glass being transparent is not greatly affected by radiant heat as it allows heat in the form of infrared radiation to pass directly through it, heating a room directly. It is also a poor insulator from both conductive and convection properties.

Glazed systems are a major building cost. Thermally-efficient glazed aluminum systems have the benefit of paying for itself. As energy costs increase, the energy saved though efficient building practices actually put money back in your pocket in the long-term, effectively paying for themselves.

Building designs in certain countries are starting to feel the effect of inefficient building energy design due to increases in energy costs. By changing the design configurations of both aluminum and glass and adding insulating weather seals, it is possible to substantially modify and convert these materials into an effective energy-efficient system. On their own they remain inefficient, but in a system designed to isolate and modify the energy flows, they become highly energy-efficient fenestration systems.

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Southern Chennai: A Realtor’s Hotspot and a Buyer’s Favorite

Chennai is known for its scenic beauty and temple. However, the times have changed and the city is recognized on the global landscape. The recent time is seeing Chennai as a developing locality and a realtor's hotspot. People are steadily moving towards South these days for work and this one fact has led to a surge in the real estate activities.

Just like other regions, the southern part of Chennai has a lot to offer to its clients and home buyers based in the city.

Chennai: Eyeing Upon its Southern Expanse

The southern part of Chennai is one of the most favored destinations for the realtors and real estate enthusiasts. This has attracted expatriates as well as a lot of builders belonging to other cities and states. Talking about the southern point, you can not miss Perungudi. Here's a snapshot:

Perungudi: Location Advantages One Can Reap

Perungudi is one of the most illuminated cities located a few kilometers away from Chennai. Developed this big from a small village, the locality is still a perfect mixture of livability and development.

Here are some of the ambitious projects in the region:

Residential Projects in South Chennai

1. BBCL Nakshatra

BBCL Nakshatra is one of the most awaited residential projects in the locality. The project will be offering beautifully designed 2 and 3 BHK apartments. If you choose to stay in here, you can have the luxury to reap a number of location benefits, such as:

  • Proximity to hospitals
  • Closeness to malls and city centers
  • Proximity to schools and universities
  • Banks and ATMs nearby

Avail the homes at BBCL Nakshatra within a price range of Rs 70 Lakhs to Rs. 99 Lakhs.

2. Maples Park

The residential township is offering 2 BHK apartments that are spread across a total of 100 units. Apartments at Maples Park will have been offering modern homes fitted with world-class amenities and offered with facilities to meet the exigencies of life. The apartments at Maple can be booked within a cost range of Rs 59.99 Lakhs – Rs. 86.99 Lakhs.

Why Invest in Chennai

Chennai's southern part is developing and is also witnessing a rise in affordable housing section. Moreover, the locality seems to have gained a lot of exposure and attention of builders across the country. Southern Chennai has become a favorite place for both buyers and realtors. Since, the area is developing so there are chances of booking a home at a cheaper rate.

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Things to Consider While Hiring a Green Builder

As an environmentally conscious person are you passionate about implementing green building design for your next project? Then you need to look for a reputed and experienced green builder who's equally passionate and motivated in coming up with energy efficiency designs. Consider the following points while hiring one:

1. Whether it's a commercial or residential project, you can hire a well committed architect who treats on the latest technology and is capable of coming up with customized solutions for any project category.

2. The green architect you choose to work with should be able to come up with practical net zero design for your project. He / she must be able to communicate every aspect of construction with clarity and care. You need to hire an individual who can reason well and think independently to give you the desired end result.

3. It's better to talk with the references that they provide to really understand and see for yourself how well the builder executes green building solutions on large or small scale projects.

4. More importantly, the builder must be capable in carefully monitoring the budget and communicate at regular intervals about the project status.

5. It's good to choose an architect who's certified by LEED program as their designs and practices are well approved and recognized by the Green Building Council.

A green building approach can turn out to be not just Eco-friendly, but also helps in preserving and producing energy while saving you considering money on your monthly power bills. On the other hand, a green building will decrease waste production and cut down on pollution. In short, the design will be environmentally efficient and responsible all through the building's life-cycle. So the right green architect should be able to help you right from sitting the right place to designing and construction or renovation of the project. You can choose a company that specializes in offering green building design that smartly addresses any energy consumption issues. A well experienced firm will provide you with a wide range of options to help you in assessing all the available options and choose the best for energy conservation for your industrial or residential projects. They will help you with designing a building that makes effective use of water, energy and various other important resources, while protecting the health of people who live within its concessions. The sustainable building design principles can be effectively applied for new construction projects as well as renovation work, so its time you considered it by choosing the right people.

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Combatting Water Pollution Via Inlet Filters

There is an old adage that says, “If it is not broken, why fix it?” This can be applied to many areas of life, including today where we are going to apply it to the use of water filtration systems to prevent pollution from entering the waterways via curb inlet filters. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, several engineers determined that there was a need to prevent debris from running off and entering streams and surrounding water ways. They were less concerned with chemical contaminants than we are today, but the need was there and the issue was present.

These engineers came up with several designs to be used in the cities of the day. These had various features which injected debris from entering the waterways. Some of them involved using gravity to prevent water from running uphill (such as building a barrier around the inlet) while other depended on a collection area or used drop sacks, etc. to collect debris.

These filters were used successfully for several decades, however, they were not perfect and there were problems associated with their use. One of the reasons that city managers did not like to use these inlet filtering methods was the additional cost associated with their installation and maintenance. (Times and people do not really change, do they?) Another issue which discouraged the use of these early inlet filters was that they often caused street flooding.

Since most cities do not experience rain on a daily basis, the argument for constant inlet protection was set that it was not needed. Flood prevention trumped inlet protection and the use of an inlet filter . This mindset prevailed for many years and began to switch over when petrochemicals began to wash into our water ways.

One of the problems with the using the early designs of inlet filters present is that the contamination of chemical agents is not easily addressed. After all, when something dissolves in water, it is difficult to filter it back out of the water in an efficient, effective and timely fashion. This is obviously easier with solid debris than liquid waste products. Many modern inlet filter designs address the need for chemical absorption by adding an absorbent pack to the filter itself to absorb chemical runoff in the water.

As one studies the early patent drawings of inlet filtration systems, it is clear that the engineers who developed these products were on the right track. Again, as the saying goes, “If it is not broken, do not fix it.”

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Six Ways to Enhance Stormwater Management

A rain garden or a bioretention cell is a depressed area containing a backfill that is porous under a vegetated surface. Often, these areas have an underdrain to encourage infiltration as well as filtration, especially in soils that are clayey. Bioretention cells provide pollutant removal, groundwater recharge, and runoff detention. They are an effective solution in urban areas or parking lots, where green space is limited.

Gutter and curve elimination

Gutters and curbs transport flow really fast to a stormwater drain without allowing for pollutant removal or infiltration using an inlet filter. Eliminating gutters and curbs can reduce runoff volumes and increase sheet flow. Maintaining sheet flow by removing gutters and curbs that direct runoff into bioretention basins and swales that are vegetated helps to prevent soil erosion by stormwater also helps retain hydraulic conditions (pre-development). A level spreader, which is a channel designed to transform concentrates runoff into sheet flow and distribute it uniformly across a slope, may also be included in order to prevent soil erosion.

Grassed swales

They are shallow envelopes covered with grass that help to slow down runoff while facilitating infiltration. The sustainability of grassed swales depends on soil type, land use, imperviousness of the watershed that is contributing, and the slopes and the dimensions system of grassed swale. Grassed swales can be used to manage runoff from the drainage areas that are less than four hectares in size. It is encouraged that you use natural areas that are low-lying and drain courses that are natural should be utilized.

Green parking design

These, when applied together, reduce the contribution of the parking lots to total cover that is impervious. Green parking lot design techniques include minimizing the dimensions of parking lot spaces, setting a maximum number for parking lots of spaces, utilizing alternative pavers in overcrowded parking areas, making use of bioretention areas to treat stormwater and incentives for structured parking.

Infiltration trenches

They are rock-filled trenches without any channels. These trenches collect runoff when there is a storm and release it into the soil through infiltration. These trenches may used in conjunction with the other devices mean for infiltration of storm water using an inlet filter . This will provide peak flow attenuation as well as the quality control of water. Runoff that contains high levels of hydrocarbons or sediments that may clog the outlets may need to be pre-treated using other techniques such as water quality inlets.

Inlet protection devices

These are also known as hydrodynamic separators and are flow-through structures with a separation or a settling unit to remove oil, trash, grease, etc. You can use this technology for the pre-treatment of the other inlet protection devices. They are commonly used in the potential stormwater areas, where there is a high concentration of pollutants.

Permeable pavement

They promote the recharge of groundwater. Some pavements are used to create voids on the corners of the pavers. Concrete grid paver systems are made of concrete blocks, which are used to create voids inside the blocks, by clearing the finer particles inside them.

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The Rising Trend of Green Buildings in Kolkata

The latest development in the real estate industry in Kolkata has been the rise in the construction of 'Green' buildings. These buildings optimize energy efficiently, produce less waste, use water conservatively, preserve the environment and provide healthier living spaces for occupants.

There are many reasons for going 'green' in the real estate market, one being the reduction of energy usage within the concessions. Green buildings often feature special windows and insulation in the walls which help to reduce overall energy consumption. Solar design is another feature incorporated by architects which provides shade to porches and windows during summer and enhancements solar lighting and heating during the winter months. This is optimizing the use of solar power in the building.

Constructing a green building does come at a higher cost compared to conventional buildings. Experts believe that this higher one-time cost is deferred by savings provided in the operating and maintenance costs during the life cycle of the building.

Green buildings for a greener future

According to the IGBC (Indian Green Building Council), there are more than 260 green certified buildings in India with a major of them being developed in Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurgaon and Pune. The number of green buildings in Kolkata are lower compared to the other cities but several real estate developers plan to construct more green buildings in the city and its outskirts.

These buildings would cater to both residential and commercial buyers. Studies have found that productivity levels of staff working in a green building / office is 12-15% higher when compared to the productivity of staff in conventional office buildings. The attrition rate for workers in a green office has been found to be 20-25% lower compared to conventional office spaces.

Residential projects attract buyers through a host of features, the most marketed feature is the open space in a green complex. These regions are landscaped with various plants and trees which provide residents with an area to relax in. Most complexes in the city feature 2 and 3 bedroom flats while some of the projects go the extra mile by providing the option of duplex flats, which are usually located on the top two floors of a building.

Facilities like jogging tracks, recreational clubs, swimming pools, parking spaces and community halls are provided in most residential complexes being built in Kolkata. Green buildings although have an added advantage of lower operation costs for the developers and lower energy bills for the residents.

The savings provided to residents and real estate developers coupled with the marketability of a project being termed as 'Green', is the way forward for the city of Kolkata. Currently the number of green buildings might be on the lower side, but this scenario is expected to change in the near future.

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Various Opinions on Log Homes

You're looking for a unique home, one that is not a cookie cutter replica of every other home. Much has been written about log homes and sometimes you are wondering if one might be the answer to your desire for a “something different” kind of home.

In your quest to learn about this type of lodging, you'll find a number of differenting opinions. It is sometimes challenging to separate myths from opinions or determine if one bad experience represents log home living all around.

Keep in mind that log homes are in one respect no different from other types of homes. They are only as good as the materials used, the quality of construction, and maintenance that sustains them post-construction.

What's Old is New

These types of homes are hardly a new form of housing. They have sentered humans for hundreds of years. And they keep gaining popularity in today's housing market. Check out local newsstands and see how many log home consumer magazines are in the racks.

Myths / Opinions

Rarely is there a universal experience or opinion for anything, including homes made of logs. Some people have lived in them and swear they never will do so again; others would not live in any type of home. Consider some of these more common myths / opinions:

• Energy Efficiency: you may read that these homes are not energy efficient. This may be true – depending. A well-designed log home, built to modern standards by knowledgeable and skilled craftsmen, can be as (or more) energy-efficient than a well-insulated frame house.

• Upkeep: according to opinion, this type of home either requires or does not require extensive upkeep. No home is completely maintenance-free. It is unrealistic to build such a home, let it weather with time, and expect that it requires not upkeep. Every log home needs periodic cleaning, preserving, and coating to protect the structure against moisture, weather, fungi, and insects.

• Settling and Rotting: all houses – no matter what type of construction – settle because land is constantly shifting and settling. Home designers have developed techniques to address this settling issue. Be sure to ask each manufacturer about settling systems when you are considering these homes.

• Fire Hazards: These homes may withstand the destruction of fire more readily because of their thicker walls. The current exterior wall code mandates that materials used must have a minimum of “one hour-rated fire-resistant construction on the outer side.” The typical 6-inch (or greater) log walls have a significantly longer fire resistant level than one hour because logs do not easily burn; they will smolder for a long time before they actually ignite. Consider that 26 forest firefighters who survived the Topanga Canyon firestorm of 1998 by seeking shelter in a log home!

• Cost / Financing: rumors seem to persist that these homes are costly to finance and insure. Neither of these claims seems to have much credibility these days. Such claims may have been more likely when log homes were less common but should not be stumbling blocks today.

If you have never lived or vacationed in such type of home or cabin, consider giving it a try before you plunge into buying one. Some owners discovered they quickly tired of “so much wood” inside and out. Others found the experience unsatisfactory because they purchased a log home that had not been well designed, constructed, or maintained.

You can find both positive and negative opinions on almost anything when searching the Internet. Take time to research their design and manufacture companies that interest you and (if possible) view some of their existing homes before you make your decision.

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A Green Home Buyer’s Guide On Choosing An Eco-Friendly Home

Eco-friendly living is the way forward, and it is currently the best time for you to follow this trend. So go ahead and own a green abode that reflects your personality. Below, are a few points that you should consider on your pursuit to acquiring a green home.

Building A Home Vs. Buying One: How Do They Compare?

Every house is energy efficient and eco-friendly one way or the other, which usually saves a reasonable amount of money. But buying a home does not give you the freedom to use your own ideas on the house from the ground up, as opposed to building a house according to your plan.

Renovation Can Do The Trick

If you have a non eco-friendly house and you want to convert it into an eco-friendly unit, you can spend money on modifying the house based on your ideas. For instance, you could replace an old light bulb with the latest LED ones, which are proven to consume less energy. Note that reworking on your house could cost a significant hole in your bank account, but in the long run, it is definitely worth it.

Other Important Priorities

Living green will likely be next to impossible, if you are on a budget and looking to stay close to popular hubs. The same could be said, if you want to have restaurants and other recreational facilities around your neighborhood.

Be Ready To Relocate If Necessary

Is living in an eco-friendly house a top priority for you? If the answer is yes, then you need to consider relocating to a location where it is possible, Ie, a place where there's plenty of sunlight and a place that suits your budget. But most times, this would mean that you would have to relocate to another region. You would have to settle in an entirely new location, where you will need start all over again, which is a bad idea if you are not looking forward to change.

Get Hold Of A Green Agent

Now that green living is becoming more and more popular, there is a rise in the number of real estate agents specializing in the scouting process of such houses. Get in touch with one of them to get a tour of affordable alternatives that are available.

Although eco-friendly living is a great step towards a self-sustaining life, it also requires you to invest a lot of time, effort, and money that is usually not a sound alternative for working-class families. You should go for this lifestyle, only if you are absolutely sure it is a serious decision, and not just a hobby.

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