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Fresh interiors with natural lighting

India has a tropical climate. Many places in the country have a moderate temperature throughout the year. With cross-ventilation and lighting systems that suit the climate, architects can take advantage of these moderate conditions to reduce the energy consumption and increase comfort in the living spaces.

In the past, homes used to have higher ceilings with all rooms arranged around a central court-yard. This kind of planning is wellsuited for the climate here as it creates a pressure differential between the surrounding rooms and the courtyard, which maintains a continuous flow of air within the house. In today's conditions with high real estate prices, large homes typically have a vertical rather than horizontal spread, eliminating the courtyard concept.

In this scenario, it has become even more crucial for homes to be designed keeping in mind the geographical wind direction and sun path. Good cross-ventilation within a large home can be achieved by designing spaces to have openings on opposite sides, creating a natural draft of air through rooms within the house. One of the openings should preferably be to the southwest corner of the building. Homes with different volumes, split levels and double height spaces are also essential as this increases the volume of air within the house. The same air has a larger volume of space for circulation with even a slight movement initiated by a fan.

Dependence on artificial lighting can be reduced considerably with larger windows, sky-lights glass partitions and French windows. Large openings and glass walls need to be carefully designed to allow maximum light within the home but at the same time not increase the inside temperature due to the radiated sun light. Larger openings should be planned in the north and east sides of the house as this will allow ample light to enter. For larger openings and glass walls planned on the other sides, care should be taken to ensure proper shading is provided to cast shadows and reduce the direct heat.

Natural light plays a very important role and can be used in a number of ways within homes. For instance, it can be used to keep toilets fresh, odour-less and bacteria-free. This can be achieved with a skylight to allow sunlight through the day, in turn keeping the toilets fresh and well-illuminated. Light can also be used to create interesting interior and exterior patterns and effects within homes and on the facade, with exterior shading and appropriate slits within the roof slabs.
 


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