Green Housing

A green house is an eco friendly building that is made up of various covering materials like glass, plastic, earth bags, etc. It is often used to grow plants, but there are also instances in which there are schools and other buildings based on the concept of a green house.

Although the size of the building might vary, the basic phenomenon remains the same and that is based on incoming solar radiation. Glass or plastic walls of the building heats up because incoming visible solar radiation (for which the glass is transparent) from the sun is absorbed by plants, soil, and other things inside the building. Air warmed by the heat from hot interior surfaces is retained in the building by the roof and wall. In addition, the warmed structures and plants inside the greenhouse re-radiate some of their thermal energy in the infrared spectrum, to which glass is partly opaque, so some of this energy is also trapped inside the glasshouse. However, this latter process is a minor player compared with the former (convective) process. Thus, the primary heating mechanism of a greenhouse is convection. The glass used for a greenhouse works as a barrier to air flow, and its effect is to trap energy within the greenhouse. The air that is warmed near the ground is prevented from rising indefinitely and flowing away.

The history of green housing dates back to the Roman times when cucumber-like vegetables had to be artificially grown as Tiberius, a Roman emperor, ate it every day. Later in the 13th century the first modern green house was built in Italy and soon the concept spread to the Netherlands, England and all along that way.

Here is a classic example of a green house built with bottles. Edouard Arsenault, a lighthouse-keeper in Prince Edward Island, started collecting bottles in 1979. In the spring of 1980, at the age of 66, he began his construction, as a mere hobby. As his six-gabled structure was taking form, visitors started coming in. Impressed by his work, they encouraged him to continue and to advertise it as a tourist attraction. And so, in 1981, the first Bottle House was open to the public. He cleverly cemented over 25,000 bottles of various shapes, sizes and colours, into three fantasy-like buildings.

In the recent years, Green Housing has become quite common in India also and Christopher Charles Benninger, is known for his extra ordinary work. Amongst many others one of his projects includes ‘Suzlon One Earth’ in Pune. This structure is based on passive cooling and it generates 154 KW of energy on site through a combination of windmills (80%) and photovoltiac panels (20%). All water heating is accomplished through solar heating. Aluminum louvers shade the glass walled interiors from direct sun light while providing natural illumination within, saving on lighting energy. Low energy LED luminaries further reduce illumination energy consumption. Conceived as a spread out garden campus, Suzlon One Earth is a counterblast to the “glass box” corporate business park typology that is populating the urban landscape. It employs glass ventilating tubes, invented by Benninger, that heat up in the sun’s light and as the air begins to rise, the tubes suck air out of the basement and the upper floors. Low-E Glass is employed to reflect heat when glass is rarely directly exposed to direct sunlight.

Another man called Sourabh Phadke with the help of his colleague has designed a play station for children at the Aman Setu School near Pune. This play station is housed in a stone farmhouse, a round kaleidoscope made from bamboo and earth bags. It is designed to accommodate 200 children up to Standard V. For the architects who worked on the project, this was no ordinary design. Nor was it contemporary with a glass-and-chrome approach. Rather, the play station is made out of earth, bags, discarded barbed wire and bamboo sheets in a way that not only made the entire structure absolutely eco-friendly but also brought the cost down from its original estimate of Rs 4 lakhs to only Rs 90,000.

These are just few examples of Green houses that are eco-friendly and yet designed in a beautiful and majestic manner. There are many more such examples all around the world that are helping in controlling global warming and further harm to the environment.

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About Shreya Arora

Media Trainee at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, final year. Aspiring to be a Journalist.

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