Using eco-ideas effectively
Just what is it that double-height spaces speak of? How does one get them and why?
High expectations: Home owners should not assume that high ceilings will keep the place cool
The old-world wisdom stating how one action leads to another has proven true for the recent write-ups of this column, where the last two essays were prompted due to reader reactions of the previous write-ups. The present one follows suit, after dozens of mails in reaction – both agreeing and arguing with the earlier contents!
There apparently are houses with double-height spaces which are not so cool. Why is the factory with high roofs warm inside, though it has no heat-generating production inside? There is this master bedroom in the vaasthu-specific south-west corner. It has a high ceiling and ventilating windows up to the 0roof, still the room is hot at nights. Can we introduce a double-height space in a four-storeyed public building? In an existing building how can we introduce these ideas?
How do we react to such comments and contexts?
Idea vs application
An idea like height, however great it is, cannot succeed by itself. Building design and construction demands clear knowledge of the concept, careful application and appropriate locations. In case the applied idea is not so effective, maybe the reason lies in the context than the idea itself.
If the first floor master bedroom has walls exposed to both south and west, with no shading at all, it is bound to face the wrath of the sun. Additionally, the cement plastering and chemical-based paints contribute to heat absorption. However, maximum heat gain comes from the roof, receiving direct solar radiation whole day long. Vented roof with higher ceiling may help, yet to keep bedrooms in the south-west corner stay cool, we need to combine and apply many rigorous modes of passive cooling together. Alternately, we can try choosing between vaasthu-friendly home and eco-friendly design!
A mere tall space with no option for the hot air to escape will only result in increased quantity of hot air warming up the building. The case of the factory quoted above possibly suffers from this syndrome! Double-height spaces need to be strategically located to get the best out of them.
Often, staircase areas go high up with closed flat roof above, trapping heat, which then moves down into the house! Anyway, we need to discuss double-height spaces in more detail, especially as an integral part of the related design elements and concepts.
While many such common eco-mistakes occur, we also need to remind ourselves that not always do we need an eco-friendly idea. Not all of our homes exhibit eco-friendly ideas, but they could be cool and nice!
Most new buildings being built nowadays have low roofs with no ventilation, which does not necessarily make them hot boxes!
The answer to the puzzle lies in the specificity and context of building. Anyway, we know that ideas like shaded walls, insulated roofs, vented ceilings, cross ventilations, shorter spans, heat-reflective surfaces, proper orientations and many such small ideas together can make a difference.