For cool summers and warmer winters, knock at TERI doors
Abhishek Behl, www.merinews.com
In the age when we have severed all our ties with Mother Nature and packed ourselves in the glass and chrome structures, TERI Retreat presents an example of how we can use natural resources to make our life comfortable.
IN HIS OBSESSION with glass and chrome structures, man has entirely disconnected himself from nature. Rather than finding the natural methods to beat the searing summer heat and an equally excruciating chill in the winters, we are relying more on artificial resources.
In the rat race of building skyscrapers, we have never given thought on how can we leverage on the assets which nature has endowed upon us to build comfortable dwellings at a reasonable cost both to the pocket and Mother Nature. Still we cannot find the techniques to reduce the effect of heat in summers and chilly winters by using natural assets.
No one seems to be bothered about lowering the energy consumption and utilizing the waste produced in our houses and factories, which incidentally is a major source of power. When it seemed that solutions to these problems will remain unanswered, a chance visit to The Energy and Research Institute (TERI)
Retreat situated on the outskirts of Gurgaon, ended the quest for a solution. Surrounded by acres of greenery made resplendent by beautiful landscaping, the TERI Retreat at Gual Pahari is an oasis amidst the barren landscape.
After driving for half an hour through dust and grime of Gurgaon and daring the mad traffic on the Gurgaon-Faridabad road, the retreat offers a refreshing break and the chance to lose oneself in the magic of nature.
Trees of all hues and bushes of all varieties are pruned to perfection and grass in the lawns appears as if it was sheared by a barber. With TERI Retreat being one of the most environmental friendly buildings in the country,
TERI has been able to create a habitat, which is totally in conjunction with the ecology and uses natural resources to create a comfortable living space. An effective use has been made of the five elements—earth, water, fire, space and air— to build a dwelling, which remains cool in the summers and maintains an ambient temperature when Gurgaon witnesses zero degrees.
To protect the building from getting direct sunlight, deciduous trees have been planted on one side. Since they shed the leaves in winter, ample sunlight remains available for those inside the glass rooms.
In order to ensure that the rooms maintain a normal temperature and hot air gets out of the building, an ingenious yet simple technology has been devised and used in the Retreat in the form of solar chimney. An iron plate has been mounted on the top of a duct, which passes through various rooms.
When the blazing sun heats this plate, the warm air rises and escapes through the chimney, which creates an air current. The cooler air from the tunnels, which is another interesting technology incorporated in the TERI building, rushes in to replace the warm air. This solar chimney can be easily installed into any Indian home and it does not cost much.
But it is very difficult to make the modern architects, who are more interested in building glass and chrome buildings, understand the importance of these small add-ons, which can really change the way we live. Underground air tunneling is another innovation, which is simple but a sophisticated solution devised to keep the building cool.
The cost of the tunneling and the fans required to push the underground air, however, can be a constraint for the common man, building a normal home. But experts opine that depending upon the area, which one wants to keep cool, the cost of the system can be brought down to an extent.
This concept is based on the observation that underground cellars usually remain cooler in summers and warmer in winters. Moreover, the surrounding earth also keeps them cool and this air is pumped into the rooms with the help of powerful fans. So effective is this system that in summer when the temperature outside rises to 45 degrees, the temperature inside remains constant at a comfortable 28degrees.
Besides this number of other eco-friendly and green technologies has been incorporated in this building to save the energy and prevent resource wastage. A visit to Retreat no doubt proved to be an eye-opener and to do justice to all the features incorporated in the Retreat, it is necessary that each and every aspect should be discussed in more detail.
Tags: Green Building , Ecological Living , Air , Retreat
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.