Glass curtain walls for office buildings are often self-defeating because they let in more light and heat than is required or comfortable, providing business to window-blind manufacturers, while inflating air-conditioning costs.
• It’s much smarter to place windows or glazing only above table level. You can thus reduce glass use and let in less heat even as you have light where it is needed most.
• If you are in a place which receives strong sunlight (such as Ahmedabad or New Delhi), glazed windows can be smaller than in places with cloudier skies (such as Bangalore).
Also Read Seeing through glass
• You might be better off with smaller windows to shut out the direct glare of the sun.
• Another way of cutting down on glass is to have openings for breeze that are separate from those for light. Light can be let in through fixed glass panels positioned so the summer sun does not enter at its hottest, but the winter sun does.
• Window shutters in openings for breeze can have wood or marine-ply panels to shut out light (it’s not the “hot sun” but the glass panes that cause the greenhouse effect).
• Old-fashioned moveable wooden louvres allow breeze to enter even when the shutter is closed, minimizing entry of light.
The not-so-stuffed wardrobe
For a wardrobe with longer life (and a healthier you), be careful about what you put in your closet:
• Unwashed clothes (even worn briefly) can attract moths that ruin your wardrobe.
• Clothing and shoes that involve adhesives (many leather products do) give off volatile pollutants. Put them where they’ll be well aired.
• Store well-aired shoes in louvred cabinets; not all over the floor, nor in closed boxes.
• Remove the plastic covers that dry-cleaners shroud garments in. Get rid of those toxic vapours from the cleaning chemicals by airing them before you hang them up in the closet.
• Switch to wooden or bamboo hangers. Unsealed wood (that means no varnish) is the safest material for hangers. Plastic is brittle and doesn’t last; metal ruins the shape of garments, setting you on the pricey path of shopping for replacements.
Building from scratch? Brick walls are cheaper than concrete. Even if they take a tad more time to put together, you’ll save on material costs. And if you can get mud bricks baked on site, you’ll save on transportation too.