ibnlive » India

Apr 11, 2010 at 11:08pm IST

Eco-friendly houses to counter power cuts

Mumbai: As Mumbai gears up for another rough summer the state government is discussing a proposal that could provide some respite from incessant power and water cuts in the future. The proposal is to make eco-friendly norms mandatory for all new buildings in the city.

"A draft proposal has been formulated, and that is being discussed. We are expecting it will be part of building by-laws very soon," says Maharashtra Energy Development Agency Director-General Anand Limaye.

The proposal to make the buildings more energy efficient is now being discussed in Maharashtra Assembly.

But exactly what does it mean to make a building energy efficient?

The Dolat Bungalow in Juhu is a perfect example. The owners made it energy efficient back in 2002, when power and water cuts were unheard of in Mumbai. Today, with these problems plaguing the city, this building is reaping the benefits.

Solar panels, charged in the sun, generate enough power so that electricity bills of this seven-storied building remain consistently at zero.

A windmill too generates electricity, especially during the monsoon when sunlight is less. Rainwater harvesting, through a borewell, takes care of all secondary water requirements. Inside the building, big windows provide cooling air circulation. In the evenings LED lights instead of halogens that ensure 80 per cent less power usage.

"In five years, Mumbai is going to face a huge problem, and this is the only solution, and everyone should adopt it," says Dolat Bungalow owner Rajendra Shah.

The initial cost of constructing an energy-efficient building is 7-10 per cent more, and that may prove to be a challenge for low-cost housing. But with the country estimated to have only enough coal to last the next 40 years, even builders in the city are now not averse to going green.

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