The column reflects the view of the writer.
By Tharmini Kenas email@example.com
Lately, plastic straws are being abandoned all across the globe. Many eateries and cafes in Malaysia have started putting up signs that read ‘No straws’ and many people are opting for steel or bamboo straws. This move is a result of earth consciousness that brewed from the wretch plastic is causing to the ocean and the animals.
This move is highly relevant and much needed to reduce the speed at which the Earth is being polluted, and the animals harmed. Do you also know that apart from making the switch from plastic to steel straws, green home also helps to save the environment?
What are green buildings?
According to Shafiei and Samari (2013), a green building is known as a building located in the appropriate site and designed, constructed and operated for improving the health as well as the well-being of the occupants by minimising environmental impacts.
The term “green” in construction refers to environmentally friendly practices from the early design stage to the end of the building and operation period.
According to the US Green Building Council (2009), green building is “the practice of increasing the efficiency of new buildings, and reducing their impact on human health and the environment through better site location, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.”
Green buildings in Malaysia
In 2009, the Malaysian government launched the Green Building Index as a support to the sustainable approach for construction and the natural environment.
It is a rating system used for both residential and non-residential buildings where six criteria are taken into account, namely energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, sustainable site and management, material and resources, water efficiency and innovation.
Why should you make your home a green home?
There are obvious reasons as to why taking a small step towards a green home will significantly benefit you.
Firstly, a green home consumes less energy. Reduced energy consumption will result in a reduced effect to the environment and will cut down energy costs.
Secondly, green buildings make use of safe materials. These materials do not harm the health of occupants and create an indoor pollution-free environment.
How to make your home a green home?
- Set up a rain harvesting system. A rain harvesting system will provide you with the necessary water supply to take on tasks such as washing the car, cleaning the porch and others. It is not necessary to use pipe water for such activities.
- Go solar. Solar panels have proven to be sustainable and affordable. You would be doing the earth and your bank account great favour by converting to solar energy.
- Choose energy-efficient light sources and electrical fixtures. LED lights and solar-powered lights cost less than the usual one, not considering the fact that it is environmentally friendly. You could also make the most of natural lighting to reduce the need for artificial lighting in the first place. Switching on light bulbs each time you enter a space during daytime will not fare well in the long run.
- Manage your waste mindfully. Practice waste segregation and recycling. Separate the wet waste from the dry waste and the recyclables from the non-recyclables. Food waste can be used for compost while recyclables can be sent to a recycling centre. As a result, landfills would not be filling up at a dramatic rate.
- Create a mini garden. If you have limited land for a big garden, you can always set up a mini terrace or vertical garden. The air quality will significantly improve as will your health and the environment.
- Choose sustainable materials for your interior features. Substitute conventional flooring with cork, bamboo or reclaimed wood. Investing in toxin-free paints will also reward your health in the long run.