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Can we build energy-efficient houses?

Before we know it, it is winter again! Almost! 

And like all winters this winter will be unforgivingly cold. Of course, some people think winter cold is far less severe than the extreme summer heat the likes of which you experience in Phuentsholing or Gelephu. The reason they give is that while you can dress in cool and warm clothes in winter to beat the cold, the summer heat has almost no solution. Being naked does not help. Fair argument, I must say, but some people who can afford air conditioners in their homes might argue that the answer to the summer heat is in installing the equipment. 

But I think the answers to both the extreme summer heat and unbearable winter cold rest with the energy efficiency of the buildings we live in. 

Rooms in some of our apartments are unusually tall that in order to change a fused electric bulb requires you to literally climb onto two or three tall tables stacked onto each other. It takes three to four solid men or women to hold these tables in place; otherwise, the one who is changing the bulbs will stumble down. I don't understand why would anyone build such a high storeyed building. But more than anything, in winters it requires so much more heat to warm up our rooms.Then there are cracks and holes (new buildings included) of various sizes and shapes. Beneath the doors and in between the windows. These gaps allow free flow of air simply defeating the purpose of using heaters.  

But come on, winter days are not as cold as we claim as the sun matures and rises higher in the sky. That is, if we go outside there is so much warmth. Yet it is as if our offices and houses are laid with thick sheets of ice; therefore, the need to turn on our heaters full on. That costs us money. The sad story is we fail to tap sun's free and generous heat. If we take the advantage of the warmth outside do we need to fear the cold? 

Why do house owners rush and gather tenants before their buildings are completed? Can they take some time and ensure there are no cracks in their buildings? Is it possible to build energy efficient apartments in Thimphu? This is where residents are able to adjust room temperatures on their own. This would mean bigger investments on the house owners but the tenants would be willing to pay propertionate rent. After all, it means an end to all the hassles like buying heaters, applying for kerosene coupons at the trade offices and collecting oil from the depots. 

Only if our apartments are carefully built and built well. Only if these buildings are energy efficient and equipped with the abilties to tap sun's heat especially in cold winter months! 

NB: 
1. First two pictures are from http://www.ihavethewanders.com 
2. The third one is from http://www.building.co.uk/ 

Comments

  1. This is an interesting article you have just shared. Having traveled across China many times, I witnessed many remote areas in that country where all the homes in the villages had solar energy plates on their roofs. Now they have plans to buy the disused lands at the Chernobyl disaster to farm all the solar energy technology there to tap from the sun. This is wise and saves money without having to burn oil or coal to generate. Hope this will materialize in your country soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for dropping by and leaving me a comment. Appreciate that. Yes, I hope one day we have the required resources and technologies (including innovative people) to make this dream come true.

      Delete
  2. I have thoroughly enjoyed this article and felt the same...thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sancha. Only if our people go beyond business and innovate these solutions.

      Delete
  3. My house owner does not supply water even if it is abundant. Every time I see them with rosary beads basking sun outside, I feel I am a better human being even without reciting prayers. It is winter and have asked them to allow me use Bukhari where they have the provision of chimney. They don't allow. This kind mentality with the building owners make us secondary citizens in the end.

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    Replies
    1. Sad, but quite true, Boss. They have the upper hand because they own the buildings.

      Delete
  4. I agree that there should be more buildings made that are able to deal with the heat or cold... I lived in one place many years ago that it was cool in summer and warm in the winter... more places need to be like that... I am putting in my two cents here, I would much prefer heat over cold... I love not having to wear a jacket/scarf/mittens/boots... I don't like ice and bitter cold. With summer I could have my air conditioner, go swimming... I have lots of ideas to stay cool xox

    ReplyDelete

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