Sustainable Future Buildings : After the Post Covid Era

Buildings : After the Post Covid Era

Year 2020 will be the year called as the year for Phase Transition not only because of a fight from virus but also the Transition in various sectors and how it will be different with the future scenarios. Its impacts are felt in every facet of society, from an individual’s emotional and social health to the broader consequences felt in the built environment, i.e. in architecture.

(Source: The New Yorker)

The hygiene levels demanded by COVID-19 simultaneously require a cleaner, more pollution-free environment something that begins at home. Therefore, sustainable homes that promote environmental consciousness are on the rise as harbingers of clean air and lower environmental impacts.

The Current Scenario

As we shift to work-from-home environments (with many companies indicating a permanent shift), the importance of the home comes into focus. Working from home does not mean that we suddenly have more than 24 hours in a day. It simply means we spend more time within the four walls of our homes, hoping that we are safer from the virus.

Eco-friendly homes, in this regard, offer a double benefit: they clean and purify the air indoors, reducing the risk of airborne diseases, and they reduce the overall environmental impact. Architecture has long been a contributor to global warming, with Ed Mazria, the founder of Arch2030, saying that buildings will account for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Therefore, urban and architectural planning will undergo a radical shift post-COVID. The goal will continue being providing the safest possible spaces that protect humans from COVID and any potential future virus of this magnitude. The built environment was not previously concerned with social distancing, therefore not accounting for it during the planning process. COVID changed this and is now causing indoor gardens, more partitions, and fewer open-plan spaces. These are all indicative of green or healthy housing techniques by preventing high-density crowding and giving people the feel of the outdoors from their homes.

Therefore, several consequences may be here to stay in the post-COVID world of sustainable homes.

The Future of Eco-Friendly Homes

(Source: World Green Building Council)

Although we have already mentioned a few possibilities, these remain the tip of the iceberg. People are more vigilant about their homes while trying to create the feeling of being outdoors. Staying cooped up at home all day can take a toll on one’s mental health, otherwise. With this in mind, we want to present some predictions for the critical changes that will stay in a post-COVID world.

Open Spaces 

Open spaces allow for the 6-feet apart mandate that prevents the virus from spreading. However, they also make places look bigger and lessen crowding. Such positive factors are in line with the WHO’s 1988 report that spoke of urban centers being hotspots for infectious diseases – something we see now in 2020.

Therefore, open spaces are the first aspect that we believe is here to stay. In sustainable homes, open spaces in the form of verandas, porches, balconies, etc. will be covered by buyers more than floor space. Additionally, the comorbidities caused by a lack of Vitamin D can make individuals more susceptible to COVID-19. This additionally makes open spaces more desirable for homebuyers.

Natural Ventilation

Artificial ventilation can cause air staleness. If the temperature is not regulated adequately through this ventilation, it can also lead to condensation on calls, leading to mold and other such problems. Natural ventilation allows for a literal breath of fresh air to continually flow through the house.

Incorporating natural ventilation also reduces the need for air conditioners and other such mechanisms that adversely impact the environment. This automatically paves the way for eco-friendly homes.

Building Materials that Promote Health

The kind of building materials determines the home’s insulation ability and temperature regulation. Depending on the climate the house is built in, designers will have to choose materials that will not place the occupants at risk. All-natural alternatives are an excellent way to ensure this.

Using all-natural paint, for example, prevents the likelihood of toxic fumes being released into the environment, automatically erasing a chance of illness. Therefore, the occupant stays safe and, as long as the paint is a light color, stays cool in our tropical climate. Similarly, using clay bricks or terracotta tiles promotes cooler indoor environments – something particularly necessary during Indian summers – while ensuring sustainable homes.

Office Spaces

As we previously said, work-from-home is set to become a norm of the post-COVID era. Therefore, functional, stress-busting office spaces are necessary. Incorporating greenery and lighter paint tones create stress-busting, calmer environments while creating eco-friendly homes that keep the indoor air pure in a natural, healthy way.

Meanwhile, using studies instead of desks can create more functional spaces. Here, ensure that you purchase eco-friendly furniture since furniture glue can adversely affect the air quality.

AI and Touchless Technologies

(Source: Echelon | Ai)

Saying we entered a new digital era with COVID-19 would be an understatement. AI and touchless technologies prevent virus transmission by reducing contact. They also automate environments, introducing the idea of smart homes.

Smart homes are safer while being sustainable homes in their own right. Using motion detectors to turn on lights, automatically open doors at the touch of a button, etc. are ways in which homes can evolve to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world.

Conclusion

Architecture and house planning will be different in a post-COVID world. The advantages of smart housing and sustainable living are here to stay. They offer a higher level of safety against diseases like COVID-19 while also presenting more aesthetic and less stressful spaces for occupants to use.

Methods for Natural lighting in our buildings!

Lighting Natural Sustainable Buildings

Natural lighting, also known as daylighting, is a technique that efficiently brings natural light into your home using exterior glazing (windows, skylights, etc.), thereby reducing artificial lighting requirements and saving energy. Natural lighting has been proven to increase health and comfort levels for building occupants.  

Daylight is the source of beneficial vitamin D which our body needs to stay healthy. A building could be designed in such a way that there is maximum natural light inside the house. Some of the fundamental benefits of daylight are:

  • Sunlight during the day helps in healing the body
  • It’s good for strong bones as it contains vitamin D
  • Keeps the environment inside the house clean and pleasant.
  • Builds good immune system of the members of the family
  • Daylight also keeps the happy mode on inside the house for every member of the family

There can be various ways of modeling a  house with a  good amount of natural light and ventilation. Discussed below are the sources that could be used to do so-

1. Design of the house

The house could be designed by the architect in such a way that the shape and size of the windows can be defined clearly. The shading and glazing styles must be in such a way that it suits the building. The windows must be planned in such a way that there is maximum daylight inside the house.

Daylight 1

Image Source: cloudfront.net/

2. Directions of the Windows

The placement of the windows in the house must be in such a way that natural light could comfort the house throughout the day. Windows facing north can give maximum daylight. However, the thermal heat is lost during the winters. South facing well-glazed windows can bring in a good amount of heat and be beneficial during summers and winters.

Daylight windows

Image Source: kechdesignstudio.com/

3. Use of Glazing 

Glazing is the most effective way of getting maximum natural light inside the house. Few small strip windows in the ceiling could be designed which will increase the natural light and give a trendy look to your house. Around 30 percent of the ceiling can be used for glazed windows.

Skylights natural light

Image Source: techomecontractor.com

4. Roofing Techniques

Solar panels could be installed on the roofs to generate electricity to reduce the consumption of electricity in the house. The monthly electricity bills reduce because of such panels and it is a good option to pledge for green living. These panels absorb heat during the sun hours and store it in such a way which can be used during the night. The solar panels can also be used to generate electricity in case of power shutdowns. There could be the use of tubular Skylights. These natural light saves lots of electricity as they are installed on the roof. It absorbs the natural light and then flows in a tube and brings in natural light inside the house.

daylight solar panels natural light

Image Source: logic-sk.com/

5. Use of Sober Colours

While getting your house painted use of sober colours helps in giving a bright look to the house. Light colours could be helpful in keeping the house cool. The trim of the windows can be painted in white which can help in giving an elegant look to the house.

Daylight windows 1natural light

Image Source: remcuaminhdang.vn/

6. Jali wall design for your home

A jali is a commonly used element of Indian architecture. Jali walls have numerous advantages over a solid wall since jali walls can be used in places where there is no need of a solid wall. From providing privacy to cooling the indoors, jalis make for a sensible design element particularly suited for our climatic conditions. And also saves materials and increase the speed of construction.

Image Source: architecturaldigest.in

Natural light is an essential and free resource. This resource is given less importance. However, it has maximum advantages if the house is well planned with lots of sunlight helps to keep the home environment fresh, clean and keeps the members of the family healthy.

source – Go Smart Bricks

Understand all about Disinfection and its properties

“DISINFECTION” has proved it’s importance in the current world scenario. Almost everyone has a good understanding of disinfection Disinfection Hygiene Covid and it’s mechanisms due to the plethora of information floating around on the social media.

There are two basic methods of disinfection-

1.    Dissolving the pathogenic micro-organism using strong solvents like alcohol or soap

2.    Oxidising (much-localised burning / disintegrating) the pathogenic micro-organism.

The first method of dissolving the outer walls of the pathogenic micro-organisms is well applicable and can be put to use by application of hand sanitizers, soaps, etc. However, this method is not useful on surfaces prone to frequent contamination. As the soap needs water flush after dissolving the pathogen or a sanitizer will / may need a wipe to remove the remains of the disintegrated leftovers on the surfaces which may not be always possible.

To resolve this for disinfection of surfaces and contact points like handles etc. It is recommended to use oxidisers as disinfectants.

There are many known oxidisers been used for the disinfection processes depending on applications. Chlorine, Ozone, Sodium hypochlorite, Chlorine Di-Oxide, even non-chemical methods of disintegrating the pathogens like UV and IR also used many times, especially for water purification.

While having a cup of tea with a teabag type process Harshad Bhide and Vaibhav Raut, enthusiastic entrepreneurs, struck with an idea of creating something very unique in the present pandemic situations which will be easy to transport, making it very easily ready to use a product from the least nature harming disinfectant.

  1. The solution made as shown above is meant for surface disinfection only and not for human body disinfection.
  2. The concentration in 500 ml water when freshly made will be about 1000ppm
  3. A good range for disinfection is said to be 250ppm to 1000ppm
  4. The CLO2 is sensitive to UV, Hence keep it away from direct sunlight otherwise, the concentration depletes rapidly.
  5. You can use the mixture for up to 4-5 days from the day of preparation as the concentration will drop at about 50 ppm per 24 hours.
  6. Do not allow children to handle it though it is not toxic, can cause irritation to eyes and nose.

Ooops, least nature harming disinfectant???

I am not an expert in the chemistry of it so tried searching through the “Google world” to know more about it before we offer it to customers. And the following is what I came across in different knowledge bases-

“When compared with other oxidising biocides, Chlorine Dioxide has a significantly lower oxidation strength – this means that it reacts with fewer compounds, such as organic compounds and ammonia, yet is strong enough to attack the disulphide bonds found in the membranes of bacteria and other biological material. Chlorine dioxide will not react with many organic compounds, and as a result ClO2 does not produce environmentally dangerous chlorinated organics such as THMs and HAAs are not produced as a result of disinfection using chlorine dioxide. This process of “selective oxidation” allows the Chlorine Dioxide biocide to be targeted where it is needed most, disinfecting areas quickly”

It is important to note that the disinfection by-products’ of chlorine dioxide are easily manageable and do not present nearly the same scale of the problem as found with other biocides with a higher oxidation potential.

So we decided to use the Chlorine di-oxide as disinfectant agent. WHY?

How Chlorine Di-Oxide acts? Getting a bit technical…

Compounds within the cells and on the surface of cell membranes that contain oxidisable material react with chlorine dioxide, causing cell metabolism to be disrupted. Chlorine dioxide also reacts directly with disulphide bonds in the amino acids and the RNA in the cell. Unlike non-oxidizing disinfectants, chlorine dioxide kills microorganisms even when they are inactive. The oxidative load placed on the cells by the action of chlorine dioxide mean that most microorganisms are unable to build up resistance to chlorine dioxide.

How Chlorine Di-Oxide is made?

NaClo2+Acid = CLO2

While chlorine dioxide has “chlorine” in its name, its chemistry is radically different from that of chlorineChlorine and chlorine dioxide are both oxidising agents (electron receivers). However, chlorine has the capacity to take in two electrons, whereas chlorine dioxide can absorb five.

Chlorine dioxide can be used as oxidizer or disinfectant. It is a very strong oxidizer and it effectively kills pathogenic microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria and viruses.

Chlorine dioxide is a chemical compound with the formula ClO2 that exists as yellowish-green gas above 11 °C, a reddish-brown liquid between −59 °C and 11 °C, and as bright orange crystals when colder. It is an oxidizing agent, able to transfer oxygen to a variety of substrates, while gaining one or more electrons via oxidation-reduction.

ClO2 has been approved in most countries for use in drinking water and in large industrial processes is rapidly replacing chlorine. The generation of gaseous chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is one of several techniques available for the remediation of structures impacted by microbial growth (US EPA 2007). ClO2 can destroy all manner of microorganisms, including bacteria, spores, fungi, viruses, and even protozoan’s (Taylor and Butler 1982; Chen and Vaughn 1990; Sivaganesan et al. 2003; Loret et al. 2005). Gaseous ClO2 has been approved by the US EPA as a disinfectant, sanitizer and sterilant for the paper, fruit, vegetable, dairy, poultry, and beef processing industries (US EPA 2000), and for the processing of industrial wastewater (Lee et al. 2006).

Various experimental studies have confirmed the efficiency of ClO2 in deactivating Bacillus endospores. (surrogates for B. anthracis spores) (Buttner et al. 2001; Young and Setlow 2003; Cortezzo et al. 2004).

Reference Wikipedia: Chlorine dioxide has many applications as an oxidizer or disinfectant. Chlorine dioxide can be used for air disinfection and was the principal agent used in the decontamination of buildings in the United States after the 2001 anthrax attacks. After the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the surrounding Gulf Coast, chlorine dioxide was used to eradicate dangerous mold from houses inundated by the floodwater.

In addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has posted a list of many disinfectants that meet its criteria for use in environmental measures against the causative corona virus. Some are based on sodium chlorite that is activated into chlorine dioxide.”

In practical terms however, few bacteria live alone, and they are most often found in water and on surfaces in the form of a “biofilm” which is a close association of many millions of bacteria. Many biocides have particular problems in penetrating this biofilm, due to the polysaccharide “glue” that is secreted by bacteria such as Pseudomonas to hold the biofilm together. Unlike most biocides, chlorine dioxide can effectively penetrate the polysaccharide layer of biofilm without being used up in reacting with the inert sugars. This allows the ClO2 to act on the bacteria themselves, destroying the biofilm.

“Science Direct Paper: Chlorine dioxide was found to increase the permeability of outer and cytoplasmic cell membranes and consequently resulting in the release of vital nuclear materials which strongly correlated with loss of cell activity or death.”

For more information or queries explore more here

Reference:

https://www.scotmas.com/chlorine-dioxide/how-does-clo2-kill-bacteria.aspx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine_dioxide

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214714418302836

Eco-Friendly Products in Window and Door Segments

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Design trends in nonresidential buildings are increasingly making energy efficiency and eco-friendliness a priority. In few markets is this more evident than in the commercial window and door market. 

How is the commercial market different from the residential market?

The residential market is more directly impacted by building standards, such as those of the IGBC, GRIHA & LEED program. These are regularly updated and often come with some incentives by various state government. Additionally, homeowners immediately benefit from the energy bill savings and more comfortable indoor environments associated with efficient windows and doors

In the commercial market for windows and doors, the adaption of energy-efficient products has been slower — building owners typically pay for window and door replacements or upgrades, while building tenants reap the benefits of lower energy costs. However, environmental friendliness is becoming a greater priority, and products available for the commercial market come with a wide variety of technologies and certification programs.

How does the commercial window and door market go green?

  • Installing curtainwall can make buildings attractive and energy efficient. Glass building fronts with well-sealed panes and frames allow natural light to penetrate buildings, reducing the need for indoor lighting and creating a sense of the outdoors.
  • Tinting glass products, such as the electrochromic glass and the thermochromic RavenWindow allow daylight to come in while reducing glare and solar heat gain.
  • Energy efficient and uPVC windows and doors have become increasingly available in stronger, more durable designs that can be used in many light commercial settings.

Why do commercial building owners choose energy efficient products?  

Commercial building owners and tenants increasingly want to be perceived as environmentally friendly companies. Energy conservation is important, particularly when it can also save costs. Energy efficient window and door products can pay for themselves in utility bill savings. Additionally, the number of commercial buildings that boast LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) qualification, a well-known standard for environmentally friendly buildings, or meet the standards of other green building programs is on the rise.

The United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) recently developed LEED v4 rating system will become the only set of standards used by LEED. The new standards revised existing LEED standards and expanded ways for buildings to earn credit toward green practices. In the window and door market, the new standards allow for a wide variety of products to be used to qualify for LEED points in various categories. 

For example, windows and doors can earn points toward LEED certification via the Energy and Atmosphere category by being well-insulated, limiting the energy consumption of a structure. Additionally, windows and skylights that provide daylight — reducing the need for artificial lighting — can help earn Indoor Environmental Quality LEED points. Window and door products can also earn points under LEED v4 by being manufactured close to the construction site and by offering a sustainable product lifecycle.

For more information about glasses visit Lingel Windows Store

Earth Day 22nd April – Importance of protecting our nature amid the Virus spread!

22 April is Earth Day. While the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading infection around the world and dominating news headlines, thoughts and attention, the need to take climate action has remained as urgent as ever. By the end of 2020, global CO2 emissions need to have dropped by 7.6% and continue to fall by 7.6% each year for us to have keep global heating under 1.5oC, according to the United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP)Emission Gap Report 2019.

Earth day 2020 is not just the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but also the anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement to take climate action. The pandemic is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of humans and the planet in the face of global scale threats. Unchecked damage to our environment must be addressed. In his response to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres noted that, “Had we been further advanced in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, we could better face this challenge.”

Background on Earth Day

The first Earth Day took place in 1970. Outraged by oil spills, smog and polluted rivers, 20 million people took to the streets, protesting what they recognized as an environmental crisis. It was the planet’s largest civic event at the time and compelled governments to take concrete actions, including passing environmental laws and establishing environmental agencies. In addition to these practical outcomes, the event demonstrated just how much can be achieved when people come together and demand action.

The day continues to hold great significance. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution formally recognizing the day as International Mother Earth Day. On Earth Day 2016, the United Nations formally adopted the Paris Agreement, articulating the commitment of nations to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celcius over pre-industrial levels; and to strengthen the ability of countries to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

Earth Day in 2020

Marking its half-century anniversary, and selecting climate action as its theme, Earth Day 2020 was already poised to be a historic event. An occasion planned to bring people physically together across a series of events, COVID-19 has now prompted a dramatic shift to completely digital and virtual platforms. Earth Day 2020 calls for 24 hours of actions, big and small, for people and the planet. On this 50th anniversary, civil society organizers hope to fill the world’s digital landscape with global conversations, positive acts, performances, webinars and events supporting urgent action on climate change.

As the world rushes to plan for a post-pandemic recovery, UNEP and other parts of the United Nations system see this as opportunity to call attention to the need to “build back better.” The risks faced by ignoring the threats of environmental destruction must be understood and addressed with protections and policies. April 22 is a timely reminder to embrace the opportunities of the natural world for green jobs, sustainable economic stimulus, for urgently taking action to protect ourselves against unsurvivable global heating and for securing healthy, dignified futures.

What can you do?
On April 22, join earthday.org livestreamed discussions, events and actions you can take from wherever you are. Explore the many virtual Earth Day events via this directory to online events across global time zones. There are new tools for volunteering and advocacy and opportunities to participate as citizen scientists–using the Earth Challenge 2020 app to measure data such as air quality and plastic pollution, right where you are.  There are challenges for daily action; graphics for sharing on social media; tips for making your own Earth Day window sign; and a place to tell others about your own personal “act of green.”

Front-line community leaders will observe the occasion with a webinar on 21 April, including Earth Day blessings from leaders around the world; a message from youth climate activists; and conversations with religious and indigenous leaders. Just like on the first Earth Day, 50 years ago, it is time to demonstrate solidarity, take action and send a clear message to world leaders to act on climate change, halt biodiversity and habitat loss, and make certain environmental protection is a fundamental foundation of building back better.  

Looking ahead to the next 50 years, and in the lead up to World Environment Day on 5 June, UNEP will be sharing information on actions that can be taken to protect biodiversity, to contribute reforestation efforts of degraded landscapes and to commit to the overall sustainable management of natural resources.   

Nature is in crisis, threatened by biodiversity and habitat loss, global heating and toxic pollution. Failure to act is failing humanity. Addressing the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and protecting ourselves against future global threats requires sound management of hazardous medical and chemical waste; strong and global stewardship of nature and biodiversity; and a clear commitment to “building back better”, creating green jobs and facilitating the transition to carbon neutral economies. Humanity depends on action now for a resilient and sustainable future.

Impact of the Chemical Colors used during Holi !

It is ironic that Holi which is a festival which celebrates nature in all its hues and finery, and also the triumph of good over evil, is today largely celebrated with toxic, unhealthy and deadly chemicals.

Industrial dyes are largely used as Holi colours since they are cheaper and often gaudier. The price they extract however on human health and environmental well-being is tremendous. These chemicals were never developed for human use, including Holi colours. Synthetic Holi colours contain cheap, toxic substances which affect human health including mica, acids, alkalis, pieces of glass, etc. The mildest forms of adverse health effects include hair and skin problems like abrasions, irritation, itching, rashes, allergies, eye infections, hair roughness, etc. whilst the more serious forms include poisoning, impaired vision, respiratory problems and cancer. The risks increase when these colours are mixed with oils and fluids and applied to the skin.

Holi colours are commonly available in three forms – Pastes, dry colours and wet colours.

Pastes

The metallic pastes which impart the glistening silver or black or white are tremendously toxic. Here are some of the chemicals one finds in pastes and their effects on human health:

ColourChemicalHealth Effects
BlackLead oxideRenal Failure
GreenCopper SulphateEye Allergy, Puffiness and Temporary blindness
SilverAluminium BromideCarcinogenic
BluePrussian BlueContract Dermatitis
RedMercury SulphiteHighly toxic can cause skin cancer

Dry Colours (Gulal)

Dry colours are typically a colourant mixed with a filler base. In chemical colours, these are usually a deadly combination of toxic heavy metals and asbestos or silica. Heavy metals are known to be systemic toxins which disrupt the body’s metabolic functions, and also build up in the body’s vital organs such as the kidneys, liver and bones. Asbestos and silica are also extremely dangerous. Here are some of the chemicals and metals one comes across in dry colours, and the effects they have on health :

LeadLearning disability, highly toxic for children, affects vital organs, affects unborn children
ChromiumBronchial asthma, Allergies
CadmiumItai Ita disease (fragile bones)
NickelDermatitis pneumonia
CopperAffects eyes, skin, respiratory system, liver and kidneys
MercuryAffects kidney, liver, nervous system, unborn children.
ZincFever
IronSkin becomes sensitive to light
SilicaSkin dries and chaps
AsbestosCarcinogenic, even in small quantities, Builds up in the body.

Water Colours

One common and easily available water colourant used during Holi is Gentian violet, a highly toxic and hazardous chemical. Exposure to Gentian violet leads to severe skin ailments and eye problems.

The environmental impact of a toxic, chemical-laced Holi is rarely mentioned. Imagine the damage that tons of heavy metals and toxic chemicals can inflict upon the Earth, polluting our soil and water, and most importantly contaminating it forever.

And now exploiting the fear some people have about using these toxic colours, a new trend of late is to market relatively non-toxic chemical dyes as eco-friendly Holi colours. Whilst these may be safer than the regular chemical colours, they are by no means natural or 100% safe or biodegradable, even when mixed to edible fillers like flours or starch.

If you are now aghast at the idea of playing Holi, there are alternatives. You can make natural Holi colours at home. You can also use completely natural Holi colours such as the ones made at our homes.

Types of Sustainable Sanitation Systems

In developing countries, sanitation is a growing problem. Lack of basic necessities, poverty, and the growing scarcity of resources, especially water, are concerns that need immediate attention.

With India and its program, Swachh Bharat, to build toilets all across the country, we ought to educate ourselves about Sustainable Sanitation programs that might also benefit our ever-growing population.

Sustainable Solutions by Ekam Eco

What exactly is Sustainable Sanitation?

As defined by Sustainable Sanitation Alliance, SuSanA 2008,

The main objective of any sanitation system is to protect and promote human health by providing a clean environment and breaking the cycle of disease. In order to be sustainable, a sanitation system has to do this, and additionally be economically viable, socially acceptable, and technically and institutionally appropriate, and it should also protect the environment and the natural resource.

Technologies that would challenge the conventional toilet systems around the world which is actually responsible for many waterborne diseases. Understanding that excreta are not a waste, but actually valuable resource is the first step in understanding sustainable sanitation. Significant of amount of energy, and plant nutrients can be obtained if this “waste” is processed right. In fact, the water can be recycled and reused too, which would help in sustaining natural resources.

What are some of the technologies that have helped keep Sanitation Sustainable?

1. Water-less toilets

A poverty struck continent that is struggling to keep hold of resources for the coming generation, the idea of water-less loo works fabulously. It is the perfect cost-effective solution considering the local circumstances.

The technology is used in East-Africa’s urban slums, with an incentive that invites more and more civilians to use it. The toilet collects the waste, which is converted into nutrient rich organic fertilizer, which is then sold to the local farmers. Completing the loop of sustainable activity.       

                                           

Water less Toilets in Action. See More

2. Energy Generating Toilets

The waste is collected in a biodegradable film by a simple and efficient sealing technology. Exploiting the simple biological process of Anaerobic Digestion, which is basically the process of organic waste consumed by microorganisms in an oxygen-free environment, the toilet ends producing energy in the form of biogas.

The waste is also used to produce fertilizer for plants. The Anaerobic Digestion leaves the waste in a semi-liquid form, which is then used as manure for planted crops.

This was a technology that was experimented with in Madagascar. It turned out to be efficient, convenient, odorless, clean, and produced by-products that would give the locals an opportunity to earn profits.

A Similar Nano Membrane Toilet Designed in UK, backed by Gates Foundation (Read More)

3. Dehydrating Toilets

Dehydrating toilets are those that separate the liquid and solid waste. How it works?

The container is primed with coconut husk which absorbs any liquid that falls in it. This allows the solid matter to remain dry and odorless. To help the decomposition process, the matter is stirred briskly. To keep the smell out, the unit has an integral fan that pulls the moisture out of the space, keeping it dry and odor-free. Such systems are mainly suitable for regions with higher average temperatures, long dry and short rainy seasons or arid climatic conditions with high evaporation rates.

When human waste is dehydrated, the mass and volume are greatly reduced and the pathogens are starved of moisture. Urine source separation combined with dehydration of the solids can reduce the amount of waste by 90%.

A Dry Toilet, Courtesy SSWM

4. The Humanure

Inspired by Joseph Jenkins book, The Humanure Handbook, this toilet isn’t technologically advanced, but instead depends on individual effort.

It is essentially a wooden box, with a plastic bucket within, and a toilet seat on top. There is also a bag of sawdust that is kept next to the unit. After you do your business, scoop the sawdust and cover the matter completely with it to avoid the foul smell.

The plastic bucket is replaced every few days, whenever required and the matter is taken to the on-site composting station where it is dumped in composting bins covered with more sawdust. The decomposition process takes its time to form the manure that can now be used in agricultural fields.

While this process is not technologically modern, it educates the people about the step-by-step process of re-use and recycle that would be beneficial to them and the environment.

Sustainable sanitation is an approach that will keep the environment clean, leading to hygienic living conditions in the community. With every region, the challenges would be different, and therefore various technologies help in curbing those hurdles and offering incentives to the local population to use these toilets instead of defecating openly.

How Econaur is contributing to making Sustainable Buildings

What we do and how we do it? How Econaur the only green building platform works ?

If you still don’t know what exactly we do, well don’t worry here you will understand what we are doing here and how we do it.

What we do?

Econaur is India’s first online aggregator platform that provides one-stop solutions for green and energy-efficient buildings by providing the materials, products, technology, and expert guidance. Econaur is the only green buildings platform.

It has made an easy online green building platform for everyone who needs to know about sustainable and green construction and also can contribute their ideas, projects, and vision about what further can be done in sustainable construction.

Sustainable Product Companies now have an easy online platform where they can not only showcase their products but also find out that about the new sustainable technology & projects undergoing in the market by connecting with community of green building professionals can find out what the user needs for a sustainable construction.

Our vision is simple, we know that tons of resources are getting wasted in construction everyday and if we go wasting the resources at the same speed than sooner we are going to extinct our resources and become endangered. So our efforts are towards raising the awareness about sustainability and green construction, which is an alternative solution for using resources in the most efficient manner.

Our intention of having a community of stakeholders, architects, consultants, and manufacturing companies is this only, so under a single Econaur’s green buildings platform anybody can communicate with anyone and know what more can be achieved in sustainable construction. We believe in working together, and no better way can be there to connect every member from the building industry at a single platform.

How we do it?

The major thing we keep in mind before showcasing any information or product on our platform is that, the product doesn’t have any harmful impact on the environment. As long as the product is sustainable and minimize the harmful effects on the environment, we are always whole-heartedly open to showcase the product.

Even if you want to share any information or post anything related to green building, new sustainable products or about environment then also we give you a community article section where you can share anything related. Not only you can share but come to know about more sustainable innovations going on all around the world.

We personally too share regular content in our blog section about new technologies, construction products and news about the green building.

Perhaps you ask, ‘How can I afford green building materials?’Although you may be on a tight budget, there are creative ways to build a green home or office without compromising quality. We’re aware of the challenges and invite you to take advantage of our expertise in order to get the look and quality you want, at a price you can afford. We’ve done it with our own home and with hundreds of others — and we’re confident we can help you, too.

How do eco-friendly and sustainable products compare in cost to toxic products?

As a rule, natural and non-toxic products (e.g. wood, bamboo, cork, wool carpet, natural linoleum, marble/granite/limestone/porcelain, natural finishes, etc.) tend to be our favorites. They are sometimes more expensive than other products initially, but that’s not the whole story.

Sustainable products tend to:

  • last longer
  • wear better
  • clean easier
  • smell better
  • create a pleasing, healthier environment for residents
  • be biodegradable

Non-sustainable products, on the other hand, tend to:

  • be short-lived
  • require more maintenance
  • exhibit toxic and foul smells for many months, with some out-gassing undetected for years
  • compromise the health of individuals and the environment
  • provide only short-term pleasure
  • sit in landfills almost forever

In the long run, the life-cycle costs of sustainable products are usually less expensive. Plus they bring greater satisfaction during installation and for generations of use.

Many of our clients forced us to find natural products that would compete in price with cheaper, unnatural products. This was a challenge, but we did it.

A new trend

Non-toxic products used to be more expensive to manufacture than their toxic counterparts. This was due, in part, to the newness of the products and the small numbers of people using them. This trend has changed in the last few years; prices have fallen due to the widening market and the improvement of manufacturing techniques.

Demand for environmentally-friendly products is at an all-time high, not only in the building market but in the clothing and food markets as well. As the world wakes up to the lasting value and joy of using healthy building materials, we fully expect this trend to continue for a long time to come.

In addition to understanding the nature of eco-products, we’re also involved on the local level in using these products to help build a sustainable future. We promote healthy building environments in several ways including belonging to trade and environmental associations, sponsoring conferences, earth days and eco-fairs, donating a portion of our earnings to non-profit organizations that create peace and better the environment, and consulting with clients nationwide who personally test and use green building products.

Comments and Suggestions 

If you still have any question or query about anything which is troubling you then you let us know. Also if you have any suggestions about any new sustainable product or new technology then also let us know. We appreciate your feedback.

Econaur listed as Best Sustainability Blog on feedspot.

Tools To Tackle the Waste -“Solution To Farm Fires”

According to the United Nations definition, agricultural wastes are waste produced as a result of various agricultural operations. It includes manure, wastes from poultry houses and slaughterhouses; harvest waste; fertilizer run-off from fields; pesticides that enter into water, air or soils; and salt and silt drained from fields.Also, the quantity and composition of agricultural waste are dictated by the geographical and cultural aspects of a country or a region and also the extent of land used for agriculture. Regions into organic farming may produce less of water-polluting chemicals. Animal manure is mostly used up. Highly populated developing regions are bound to produce more of harvest waste due to lack of infrastructure, need for multiple planting of crops and lack of awareness.The economic aspect of waste management is the biggest spoilsport in our land. Pollution of the Northern part of India is mainly due to farm-fires. Farmers in many states don’t have any option but to burn crop waste leading to heavy pollution. It seems that there is no incentive to save this green-gold but to burn it.A Nov. 08 NASA satellite image captured the farm fires in red dots:

Stubble burning is practiced by Indian farmers to easily get rid of the leftover crop following the harvest and ahead of the next sowing season.Several solutions to use crop wastes exist but none of them are actually linked to the starting point. For example, agricultural wastes can be used to make alcohol using a patented technology by an Indian company but neither the company has any enthusiasm to go to the farmer nor does the farmer have economic resources to take his waste to the plants. Some farmers have come out with innovative solutions like watering the fields and then using rotavator, zero drill or happy seeder which can take out the stubble and mix it with soil or seed along with stubble.If the huge quantities of crop waste was somehow quickly taken out compacted and stored manually by farmers away from the fields it would give them time to plan, use and sell this very important resource. Only Monetary gains by selling this waste will motivate farmers not to burn it.Waste coming from agricultural and industrial areas is one of the major environmental problems that leave an adverse effect on the environment. This waste either dumped into the sea or burnt openly in the air which spreading harmful gases and pollution.  Briquette and Baling is the first step towards saving this resource which takes care of convenience and time factor both. Bailing means to compress the waste that occupies excess space and becomes difficult to handle.

Manual version of these machines can be used by anyone, are lightweight and economical and do not require electricity. Waste processed in bales or briquettes need less storage land and are easier to handle. Bales and briquettes can be used for fire or sold off easily giving a source of extra income for rural families especially women.

B-JACK
BRIQUETTING LEVER PRESS

There are numerous sources to produce renewable energy but this the best source to produce energy in an economic and biodegradable way. Briquetting machine gives biomass in a log that is cylindrical in form through the usage of high pressure. Biomass briquettes produce are an alternate source of fuels in comparison to orthodox sources of fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, wood, diesel, etc. In this low energy, fuel can be transformed into high-density fuel at a briquette machine. It is a method of converting waste material into the best product without creating any environmental problem. Bio fuel briquettes are a cheaper source of energy and used in various industries for their different purposes.According to environmentalists, the biofuel generated from agro-waste material is a great source of income for poor farmers in India. Making farmers aware of the existence of such simple machines and the monetary gains from waste is needed.(Author-Darshil is marketing head  SK engineers one of the leading companies in the engineering industry. S.K. Engineers works with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Foundations and various social organizations that work for the cause of rural upbringing and SDGs. The company provides solutions for the proper management of various types of waste including Agro/Forest Waste, Paper/Plastic/Cardboard Waste, Food Waste, etc.

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