FINANCE TIP OF THE DAY
Can you afford your loan?!
Know the quantity of loan you can afford. The banks may sanction loan based on your income but you should look at your monthly expenditure and see if you can afford the maximum that banks offer. As a thumb rule, remember not to let your credit exceed 40% of your income!
The benefits of going green!
The concept of green homes is a trend that is here to stay and is slowly but surely catching up in India. In the modern version of living, cities, towns and even villages are witnessing an increased preference towards building homes and creating an environment that contributes to the preservation of the ecosystem.
As far as application of this thought process to modern homes is concerned, the primary motivating factor that seems to help in making some positive progress in this direction, is the fact that going green can give home owners the ability to save on living expenses. Everybody who has lived in big towns and cities knows that life here can get overwhelmingly tough. It is not just the struggle to bring food to the table but also the desire to live comfortably. This is the reason why today every home has an AC, a refrigerator and so on. People don’t want to compromise on comfort but at the same time they don’t want to end up paying hefty energy consumption bills!
Green homes help such home owners get the best of both worlds by helping them cut down significantly on living expenses. By adopting green practices and by exercising the green philosophy, home owners can actually build on their goal to save.
Both builders and buyers are more aware of the benefits of going green, than ever before! Home owners in particular are seeing results in the form of reduced monthly expenses. So, everyone who is part of the equation is reaping benefits and this is reassuring to green enthusiasts who are trying their best to promote and sustain their efforts to build a greener planet.
As far as durability of home and home interiors go, the concept seems to play a big role. Homes that are built from green materials as part of building and furnishings tend to last longer and create significant real estate value. For instance, windows and walls that are designed and built to sustain this concept, don’t let outside temperature alter the conditions inside. For instance, one of the green concepts includes circulating water pipes sandwiched between two walls running all around the house. This keeps the interiors cool thus negating or limiting the need for an air conditioner. Also, the AC and appliances like the refrigerator function on optimum mode and expend less energy due to the cool environment, which shows up as significant savings on the bill!
When does a house become a green home?
When great care and attention is taken to optimally utilise energy and other natural resources for the healthy functioning of a house hold a house can qualify as a green home!
In India a building is certified as green when it is rated by Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, India advocated by Indian Green Building Council and The Energy and Resource Institute Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment. These systems have been created to award ratings based on the concept of design, construction and impact on the immediate environment. Accordingly a building can be certified with a gold, silver or platinum rating depending on how evolved it is on the green parameter.
Is going green more expensive?
Specially treated construction materials and innovative systems have to be painstakingly incorporated during the construction stages to help achieve the objective of optimal use of energy, managing waste, optimally utilising renewable resources like water. For instance green homes might use high performance glass among other innovations to keep the interiors cooler or LED lighting that is three times the cost of normal lighting might be used to create an energy-efficient environment. However take heart from the fact that even if initial costs seem high, you will start recovering it within a couple of years of usage due to the enormous amount of energy-saving and reduction. Remember that every green element need not be expensive, you can utilise a number of low-cost construction methods to enable significant energy-saving as well. An ideal green home should be a combination of various methods, both expensive and inexpensive!
Here is a sample of possible green elements that can be part of your house construction!
Solar heaters: These use solar panels to optimally make use of sun rays to heat the water collected in an insulated tank. Depending on the capacity of the tank and water usage, you can heat water if there is sufficient sunlight just twice a week for a week’s water supply!
Benefits: This directly reduces the consumption of electricity worth rupees 600- 800 a month and helps recover installation cost in the span of 3-5 years. The cost of installation can amount anywhere between 7,000-12,000 Indian rupees.
Photovoltaic Panels: These use the energy from the sun to store electricity! You can actually live off the grid without any power supply if you integrate these panels with your building structure and create sufficient back up.
Some low-cost construction methods that help keep interiors cool during summer:
Thick walls with cavity: Such walls use up less number of bricks and leave a cavity within the wall and help in keeping the interiors cool.
Another effective low-cost construction method involves usage of soil and cement instead of just bricks to ensure nearly 15-20% cost saving and a cooler home!
Filler slabs and pre-cast elements for roofing is yet another effective construction method utilised for building roofs, which also help in keeping the interiors cool and results in 25% cost saving!
Rain water harvesting is a key element in renewing a water resource and helps in reaping long-term rewards and significant cost savings! This is nothing but an effective way to collect rain water and utilise it. This can be added as a provision in already constructed homes or incorporated while construction happens.
Though the concept of green homes is still in its nascent stages, many real estate authorities and builders are utilising the concept to educate their customers and use the same as a promotional tool to up their sales!