How good are sustainable homes for owners and nature.

Benefits Of Sustainable Homes

Benefits Of Sustainable Homes

A sustainable home is the one that is simple on both the environment and the pocket. A “green” or “sustainable” home is not only natural and environment-friendly but also durable and healthy. They may look similar to regular homes from outside but has a lot more difference in their construction and functioning. While they are nature-friendly, they offer numerous benefits to the home owners as well. It can also be an investment and end up saving you money in the long run.

Benefit to nature:

The sustainable or green homes are build up using fewer natural resources in the construction of a green home. Numerous green building materials are made of a lot of reused substance which leaves less destructive impact in the earth. The use of less polluting materials and minimum landfills minimizes the waste and saves the land.

The green homes make use of renewable energy like solar energy for meeting its demand for power supply. The use of solar panels, solar heaters, energy star rated appliances leads to minimum carbon emission and saving of fuel.

Also, efficient plumbing and bathing fixtures, waste water management, drought-tolerant landscaping, rainwater harvesting and water-conserving irrigation systems helps in minimum use of fresh water as compared to standard homes.

Benefits to the owners:

The green homes are cost effective. The high-quality building material and advanced construction methods leads to reduction in monthly maintenance costs. The use of energy saving appliances, natural solar panels and solar heaters low flow fixtures and water saving techniques minimizes the burden on the utility bill without compromising on the luxury of the home owners.

These offer a higher resale value as compared to the standard homes while it gives a natural and healthy environment to the residents

The use of Toxin-free building materials, paints and other products will give healthy and pure environment and fight air pollution. The natural ventilation mechanism channelize and bring natural air inside and vent stale air outside to keep germs and moisture away that cause respiratory diseases linked with molds and stale air.

A sustainable home is intended to fit the residents’ necessities and adjust to their evolving prerequisites. The green homes of today are smart, perfectly completed, perpetually with warm and light spaces for living – and by and large they look simply like a standard house with added benefits.

 

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Indore jails go for solar energy to cut electricity bills

Indore jails go for solar energy to cut electricity bills

We are focusing on two ways of conservation for saving planet. Saving energy- making use of solar energy and conserving water- by rainwater harvesting and greywater management. Indore jail inmates are all set to set an example in bothe the fields by implementing all the conservation methods.

Credits: http://www.hindustantimes.com/indore/indore-jails-go-for-solar-energy-
to-cut-bills-reuse-water-to-tackle-shortage/story-RspXzs3oLD8iDZewb2x7tM.html

5 Ways the Indian Railways Is Adopting Renewable Energy to Reduce Its Carbon Footprint

In an effort to feed at least 10% of its energy requirements, the Indian Railways has been vigorously changing its policies since 2010. With its power consumption growing by 5% every year, as it adds more trains and routes, it is the highest single consumer of electricity in the country. Recognising how deep an impact it can make on the environment (and also counting its rising costs on electricity and fuel), the Indian Railways commenced its journey towards a sustainable and economical change.

It plans to reduce at least Rs 3000 to 4000 crores of its power consumption in the coming years.

Indian railways

Railway Stations That Run on the Power of Wind and Sun
About 50 stations in the country are completely dependent on solar power, while 300 have solar or wind harnessing systems. Jaipur, the latest railway station to harness the power of solar energy, will save Rs 7.2 lakh annually on electricity bills. The water supply for the Perugamani station and its adjacent railways quarters is driven by solar powered water pumps since April 2015. In Thiruvananthapuram, railway gate signals are run on solar power. At Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, a solar plant was built to feed electricity for the station. In Birur, Karnataka, a 15kW wind and solar harnessing plant was set up in 2015, which produces about 20,000 units of electricity. Similarly, a 26 MW windmill in Jaisalmer was inaugurated in December 2015.

Trains That Light up without Electricity
To power up trains, the Railways installed solar panels on the top of coaches. Estimates state that installing solar panels on its 63,511 coaches could save the Railways Rs 10.8 crores worth of diesel. In June 2015, the first solar powered coaches ran on the Rewarri-Sitapur, Pathankot-Jogindernagar and Kalka-Shimla lines. The panels powered the lighting requirements of the train.

When the test runs bore good results, in September 2015, the government announced that it would provide subsidies to promote the installation of solar panels on 500 train rooftops.

Mysore Shatabdi Indian Railways

Managing Human Waste, Naturally
The Indian Railways plans to phase out conventional toilets on all of its train coaches by 2020, and replace them with eco-friendly biodegradable toilet systems. These innovative systems ensure no human waste pollutes the railway tracks. With the help of a certain kind of bacteria, human waste is converted into non-corrosive water and gas, and is released through outlets. As of 2015, nearly 17,000 coaches were fitted with these toilets, and all newly built coaches will have this system integrated into its design. On the Mangalore Express and the Pune-Jammu Tawi Jhelum Express, the Central Railways has also introduced biodegradable waste bags for long distance journeys in its A/C coaches. In his Railway Budget speech this year, Suresh Prabhu said that Railways plan to set up ‘waste to energy’ conversion plants near major coaching terminals to dispose waste in an environment-friendly manner.

No More Chug-Chugging on Diesel
In 2013, the Railways announced that it had started developing designs for trains that run on LNG, a move that was said to bring about 50% reduction in operating costs.

India has come a long way from steam engines to diesel engines, and on to trains that run on renewable energy.

Steam engine Indian railways

Currently, there are about 5000 diesel and 4500 electric engines, annually costing about Rs 16,000 crores and Rs 9000 crores respectively. Besides this, the first locomotive to run on dual CNG and diesel was launched in 2015 between Rewari and Rohtak. Later this year, Railways will roll out LNG-based locomotives, and is currently collaborating with foreign firms for its research and design. Bio-diesel, known to be cleaner for the environment, has also been in use since 2014, attributing to 5% of the diesel requirement.

Water, Water, Everywhere
Taking water conservation seriously, the Railways installed rainwater harvesting systems at nearly 50 stations, as a start. These systems are low maintenance, at a nominal cost. In the 2016 Railway Budget speech, Suresh Prabhu said, “We have launched a mission for water conservation. Water recycling plants will be set up at major water consumption centres after conducting water audit. Expansion of water harvesting systems will also continue.” In Mumbai’s Lokmaniya Tilak Terminus, rainwater harvesting yields up to 40% of its water requirement.

Besides these major structural changes, the Railways has also worked on growing plants along railway routes and introducing e-ticketing to save paper. That’s a lot being done to reduce its Rs 13,000 crore power bill!

Credits : http://www.thebetterindia.com/49266/indian-railways-renewable-energy/

Getting tired of power bills? Use sun for your daily hot water needs

Getting tired of power bills use sun for your daily hot water needs

We are dependent of power supply for meeting our hot water demands. This also causes the inflated bills which one way or the other becomes a cause of our stress. The advancement in technology has brought the solution to this issue. We can use sun for this. So far we use sun for drying clothes, preparing pickles, cooking food and so on. But with the introduction of solar water heaters, we can now a continuous flow of hot water without depending totally on power supply. Sanicon energy solutions bring to your Rheem water heaters. These not only require very less maintenance, and when installed properly, they prove to be an asset to the owners who enjoy hot water supply round the year.

Something magical is happening with renewable energy in India

Across India, 300 million people aren’t connected to the electrical grid.
Even for many who are, transmission can be spotty, resulting in frequent brown outs or complete power outages.

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Because of this lack of electricity, many Indians are turning to solar power as a way to get their own energy off the grid. That means that in some areas, people adopt renewables before they ever start using fossil fuels like coal.
Kartikeya Singh, a doctoral candidate at Tufts University, has been researching India’s energy poverty for nearly a decade. He shared his photos, his findings, and his stories about this grass roots solar energy movement with Teach Insider.

When you live without power, “there’s so much that you miss out on,” Singh said. “As a child, [you’re] not able to study at night. Basically your day ends when the sun goes down.”

When you live without power, "there's so much that you miss out on," Singh said. "As a child, [you're] not able to study at night. Basically your day ends when the sun goes down."

“Economic opportunities are also limited,” he said. “Small shop owners have to shut shop. And in many cases, when they’re using kerosene after the sun goes down, their business is not as robust as say if they had electricity.”

The Indian government has pledged to connect the last household to the electrical grid by 2019.

The Indian government has pledged to connect the last household to the electrical grid by 2019.

But expanding the grid can take a long time. This is Singh’s ancestral home in the village of Jakhan, where his grandfather applied for grid access in the 1970s. They just got electricity a few years ago.

But expanding the grid can take a long time. This is Singh's ancestral home in the village of Jakhan, where his grandfather applied for grid access in the 1970s. They just got electricity a few years ago.

Until universal access to the grid becomes a reality, the Indian people are taking power into their own hands — and adopting solar energy at a remarkable rate.

Until universal access to the grid becomes a reality, the Indian people are taking power into their own hands — and adopting solar energy at a remarkable rate.

Back in 2007, Singh (far right) surveyed people about their solar energy use. “I literally went into the villages door-to-door, had a million cups of chai, basically sitting down, talking to people,” he said.

Back in 2007, Singh (far right) surveyed people about their solar energy use. "I literally went into the villages door-to-door, had a million cups of chai, basically sitting down, talking to people," he said.

Singh found that many local entrepreneurs see solar as a viable business, like this man who bought his own micro grid.

Singh found that many local entrepreneurs see solar as a viable business, like this man who bought his own microgrid.

He sells electricity to his neighbour — who can plug into his solar-powered micro grid — and powers the many batteries you can see here.

He sells electricity to his neighbors — who can plug into his solar-powered microgrid — and powers the many batteries you can see here.

Solar-powered lanterns are also increasingly popular. Here, a family showed Singh all six that they own to light up their home at night.

Solar-powered lanterns are also increasingly popular. Here, a family showed Singh all six that they own to light up their home at night.

This woman ran a business in the state of UttarPradesh renting solar-charged lanterns for 2 Rupees a day. If a customer didn’t bring it back on time, they got a fine.

This woman ran a business in the state of Uttar Pradesh renting solar-charged lanterns for 2 Rupees a day. If a customer didn't bring it back on time, they got a fine.

She charged the lanterns from solar panels on her roof. You can see her husband here posing with them.

She charged the lanterns from solar panels on her roof. You can see her husband here posing with them.

This is a franchise of Orb Energy, where a local man has bought the rights to sell Orb solar products. The advertisement reads, “Now our children can study without power cuts.”

This is a franchise of Orb Energy, where a local man has bought the rights to sell Orb solar products. The advertisement reads, "Now our children can study without power cuts."

“You won’t find many solar products that don’t charge cell phones,” Singh said. In 2010, a report found that more Indians had access to cellphones than toilets.

"You won't find many solar products that don't charge cell phones," Singh said. In 2010, a <a href="http://unu.edu/media-relations/releases/greater-access-to-cell-phones-than-toilets-in-india.html">report</a> found that more Indians had access to cellphones than toilets.

Renewable energy also changes the game for Indian farmers. Half of their incomes can go into paying for diesel pumps to get water for irrigation, Singh said. So installing solar-powered irrigation pumps, like this one, can help cut both costs and carbon emissions.

Renewable energy also changes the game for Indian farmers. Half of their incomes can go into paying for diesel pumps to get water for irrigation, Singh said. So installing solar-powered irrigation pumps, like this one, can help cut both costs and carbon emissions.

Even this gas station is powered by solar, in a somewhat ironic twist.

Even this gas station is powered by solar, in a somewhat ironic twist.

One particularly inspirational story of solar adoption comes from a place called Barefoot College. Women from villages across India and around the world get grants to come learn how to build solar lighting systems.

One particularly inspirational story of solar adoption comes from a place called <a href="http://www.barefootcollege.org/">Barefoot College</a>. Women from villages across India and around the world get grants to come learn how to build solar lighting systems.

When Singh visited, they were making circuit boards. Though many are illiterate, “they can tell you what all the components are in English,” he said.

When Singh visited, they were making circuit boards. Though many are illiterate, "they can tell you what all the components are in English," he said.

The women, who are mostly grandmothers, build other solar-powered items, too, like this cooker. Since 2008, the program has brought electricity to over 450,000 people in 40,000 households.

The women, who are mostly grandmothers, build other solar-powered items, too, like this cooker. Since 2008, the program has brought electricity to over 450,000 people in 40,000 households.

At night, children can come to the solar-powered school at Barefoot College to learn.

At night, children can come to the solar-powered school at Barefoot College to learn.

This movement to provide power, while unfortunately borne out of necessity because of the lack of access to formal electricity, is incredible. “It’s democratized power for the people,” Singh said.

This movement to provide power, while unfortunately borne out of necessity because of the lack of access to formal electricity, is incredible. "It's democratized power for the people," Singh said.

Credits : http://www.techinsider.io/india-solar-energy-revolution-2016-3

Light for Life: Rebuilding with Solar Energy in Nepal

2.3 billion people worldwide lack access to reliable electricity. In Nepal roughly 80% of the population live in rural mountainous regions that have little to no access to electricity. With the devastating earthquakes last year (April 25th and May 12th 2015) the citizens of Nepal were left with a broken country, 9,000 people killed, tens of thousands of people injured and over 2.5 million homeless.

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In Nepal, rooftop solar panels are being used in households to provide power for daily electrical appliances and activities; at schools to power computers, laptops and cellphones; and at hospitals and health posts to power patient needs in the rural mountainous communities. Solar integration for agricultural purposes has been implemented throughout various parts of rural Nepal to aid in the irrigation and harvest of crops year round.

My goal with my photography is to raise awareness around humanitarian and environmental issues globally. I focus on documenting the candid and capturing moments that inspire a call-to-action. Through a partnership with Photographers Without Borders and SunFarmer, a non-profit organization focused on delivering solar power to developing countries, I returned to Nepal in October 2015 to capture the impact of solar technology and build awareness around the work of SunFarmer on local Nepali communities enduring the difficulties of life without electricity due to energy poverty.

The country continues to rebuild with the citizens of Nepal struggling to survive in the midst of the current political crisis that has left the country with a limited access to petrol, medicine, cooking gas and other essential supplies.

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How did you get involved with the SunFarmer project in Nepal?

The SunFarmer project came about through a partnership with Photographer’s Without Borders (PWB), a non-profit collective of journalists, photographers, filmmakers and passionate storytellers with a mission to inform and inspire positive change by visually communicating the ways that grassroots initiatives are addressing problems in their communities. I was selected and assigned to document solar energy solutions for SunFarmer in Nepal.

SunFarmer is a solar engineering non-profit that installs solar energy in hospitals, health clinics, schools and agricultural sites throughout the developing world. Nearly 1.3 billion people worldwide are without access to electricity. Without electricity, a modern quality of life is impossible and the growth and prosperity of a country is severely hindered. SunFarmer has a mission to reduce this figure by providing best in class solar at an affordable rate to schools, farms and health posts. The team’s goal is to provide electricity access to seven million people by 2020. In Nepal, SunFarmer has partnerships with various stakeholders that include private organizations, NGOs, government organizations, banks, bilateral organizations, and micro-finance institutions. The basic criteria when choosing to work with these organizations are like-mindedness, a vision to provide access to reliable and affordable electricity over a long period of time and access to transmission lines in areas that are difficult to reach often due to rough geographical terrain in the rural parts of the countryside.

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Since SunFarmer started in Nepal in 2014, the team has successfully implemented over 100 projects in the country. The value SunFarmer works with is to provide the best in class, affordable energy solutions to their clients. Many developing countries are facing similar situations to that of Nepal with regards to energy and electricity crisis and are equally as important to focus on next. The team is still weighing out the various different countries to focus on next and has made a global announcement on their commitment to rebuilding Nepal at the Clinton Global Initiative. Their commitment will bring 1.5 MW of solar powered electricity to at least 2 countries in the next 3 years.

How do you go about determining your focus for a project of this size?

My goal for partnering with SunFarmer was to capture the impact of solar technology as Nepal continues to rebuild. The vision I had was to share a story that chronicles the lives of the Nepalese families and local community members that we visited throughout Nepal’s countryside and to show their shared hardships, stories and experiences. Through a series of photo essays, I illustrate the struggles faced by the citizens of Nepal as the country continues to rebuild and how solar energy is empowering their lives.

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I’ve lived in many of the world’s major cities and remote areas of Southeast Asia and it has been an invaluable experience that has become a strong influence in the way I shoot and go about determining my focus for long-term projects. Before I pick up the camera, I enjoy seeking out new places and diving into unfamiliar scenarios where I find my way by building strong relationships with the people I end up encountering.

Over the years, my curiosity to explore has taken me to the top of the world on a month-long expedition trek across the Everest Region, to the bottom of the Red Sea free diving in Egypt and on to studying meditation and traditional Muay Thai boxing in the mountains of northern Thailand.

My project with SunFarmer took me back to Nepal for a second time. The first time I visited was in April 2012. I landed in Kathmandu on my birthday. My partner and I stayed in Thamel where we purchased our gear and equipment for an expedition trek. It was an incredible, life changing experience. We started at the famous ‘world’s most dangerous airport’ in Lukla, acclimatized in Namche Bazaar Village, crossed the Chola Pass, summited Gokyo Ri and Island Peak and made our way to the Everest Base Camp and back to Kathmandu in one piece.

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We ended up spending three months in Nepal and I had a genuine connection with the people, community and country. The Nepalese are a very special kind of people with a strong sense of dignity, compassion and unity.

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What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome while planning the trip

The biggest obstacle was looking at the best time of year to visit. In Nepal, there are two preferred times a year for travel. Peak season, particularly for trekking is from late September to early December when the air is crisp and fresh with clear skies for the best mountain views. From the end of February to mid-April, it is warm and dry; the rhododendrons are in flower and bloom. This season brings a second wave of visitors. The summer months of June to August are also the monsoon season in Nepal and not an ideal time to visit. The weather is hot and wet. It rains almost everyday with occasional thunderstorms in the evenings.

Another factor to consider is the festival season. Throughout the Nepalese annual calendar, there are several religious holidays. Dashain is a very popular festival in Nepal. It is the longest and most auspicious festival celebrated. In Nepal, it is a celebration of family. People return home from all over the world to spend time with their family and loved ones. All government offices, educational institutions and businesses remain closed during the festival period that falls in September or October and lasts for fifteen days. Making a visit during the festival season can be great for street and travel photography, but is not always the ideal time to visit while on assignment. Many of SunFarmer’s partner organizations remained closed during this time and we had to work around the festival schedule.

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Travel and logistics are equally as important to work out long before the project starts. We had to secure well in advance a four-wheel drive vehicle and experienced driver to take us across Nepal’s countryside and up the mountainside to visit the agricultural solar sites and solar water pumps that lift water from the valley below to a tank above the community on a hill. Access to water from tap stands outside each house gives families back time they would otherwise use for collecting water and gives farmers water to irrigate their crops.

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How are solar photovoltaic systems used and are they anymore beneficial than the more traditional energy gathering techniques such as hydro or wind for Nepal?

A solar photovoltaic system or PV system is a power system that harnesses the power of the sun which is composed of particles of energy called photons that is converted into electricity via solar panels to power electrical loads. Simply put, solar panels absorb and convert sunlight into usable electricity.

SunFarmer Nepal team has noted that Nepal has around 720-740 MW of hydro power plants installed in the country and import around 200MW of electricity from India. There is a large demand of around 1300 – 1400 MW of energy for consumption. The supply and demand clearly doesn’t match and there is a large energy deficit in the country. Nepal has not been able to upscale their hydropower installations to meet its citizen’s demands because the demand for energy grows roughly 10% every year. An additional problem is that currently there is only one hydro station that has storage capacity in the country. The remaining hydro plants are run-of-river power. So during the dry season Nepal only has 25% of energy generation leaving the population with around 12-16 hours of load shedding during the dry months that runs for more than six months. This is why it is important to have a healthy energy mix of renewable energy sources in the country to address the energy crisis, to be independent and to be climate resilient. With the earthquake, most of the hydro stations were damaged. Nepal lost around 150MW of power due to the earthquake.

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What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome while filming in remote locations

In Nepal, 80% of the population lack access to reliable electricity and live in the rural parts of the country. Naturally, the biggest challenge we were faced with was keeping our equipment charged and ready to shoot at all times. A few of the project sites we had on the agenda required a days worth of travel and off-road driving up Nepal’s countryside.

For the project, we had arranged in advance with community directors at each of SunFarmer’s partner locations to join us for the site visits. SunFarmer provided me with a translator and solar operations engineer to interview our subjects. Once on site, I setup my equipment for a series of interviews with the local community members and a series of portraits to follow.

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We shot under all environmental conditions, rain or shine, indoors and outdoors. We were blessed with good weather during the tail end of the monsoon season with sunny skies and little rainfall. It became a bit of a challenge to work with the changing sunshine. While shooting outdoors and interviewing our subjects, we had to wait several times for the clouds to pass and the sun to shine to keep a consistent exposure. For portraits, we shot mostly indoors or in a shaded area outside with a three foot octabox providing warm light to envelop the sitter in their natural environment.

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How does travel affect what you bring to shoot?

I try to be a minimalist when it comes to things to carry while travelling on assignment. When I travelled throughout Asia for over 2 years, I had with me my two Canon DSLR camera bodies and lenses (one for backup or video), a laptop for quick edits and social media updates, a cobra flash, a 3” octabox, tripod, light stand, transmitter/receiver, extra camera batteries, CF cards, rechargeable AA batteries and a reflector. Today, I wouldn’t go without my Voltaic Systems 17-watt solar charging kit and Fuji film X-T1 with X Mount lenses.

Travelling has taught me to shoot creatively in difficult situations, think on my feet and problem solve various scenarios that come up. Often times, you will be uncomfortable, but as long as you keep your equipment close, stay safe and keep a flexible attitude and an open mind, travel is the best kind of education that will take you to some of the most intriguing and wonderful places the world has to offer.

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What advice would you give to someone interested in documentary photography

Be present, shoot in the moment and become inspired by the rich, diverse cultures of the people that inhabit the world. Everyday we are faced with environmental and societal concerns that challenge us to look inward, encourage us to re-evaluate our actions towards one another and inspire us to look closely at the world we reside in. Be true to yourself and follow your curiosity and passion.

In Nepal, the streets are so full of life with people who are proud to share their stories and life experiences if approached. Their strength of character shines through and it was important to me to capture this in the best light possible. With every photo you take, try to find a way to create images that humanize various situations and cultures. With my photography, I hope to open avenues of understanding between people and cultures and inspire positive change out of difficult situations.

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Developing countries must expand access to reliable and modern energy services if they are to reduce poverty and improve the health of their citizens. Nepal is currently facing a petrol crisis on top of their electricity crisis. As a landlocked country, Nepal depends heavily on India for the import of goods into the country. Nepal is facing a shortage in fuel stock over a four-month blockade at the Indian border.

The sad reality I witnessed by working alongside SunFarmer is that the petrol crisis is worse than the April 25th 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the country. Nepal received a lot of support globally with regards to earthquake relief. The earthquake has caused around USD $7 billion in damages, and it is estimated that the current cumulative loss from the blockage significantly exceeds that amount.

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To view the full series of photo essays from Nepal, please visit www.kristinlau.com.
To learn more about SunFarmer and what they are up to today, visitwww.sunfarmer.org.

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Kristin Lau is an award-winning, Toronto-based documentary photographer from Queens, New York. She’s focused on social documentary, portraiture, and underwater and aerial subjects. Kristin seeks out stories that raise awareness about the environment to evoke positive change for the natural world and its inhabitants.

Credits:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/light-for-life-rebuilding_b_9274732.html?ir=India&section=india

This Is How Gorgeous a Green Home Can Get

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Sure, maybe you’ve made a few efforts to create an eco-friendly home—by recycling your paper and plastics or turning down the thermostat. But if you’re really curious about what the cutting edge of ecological home design looks like, check out “New Eco Homes: New Ideas for Sustainable Living,” a new book out this week.

Author Manel Gutiérrez has selected 22 abodes around the world that highlight the latest architectural advancements in conserving energy and resources. And we’re not exactly going out on an (ecologically sound) limb by noting that they manage to look downright stunning at the same time.

Skeptical? Here’s a glimpse at just how gorgeous going green can get.

Balancing act

At more than 100 feet long with a 50-foot overhang, this home in Thorington, England, might look like it’s about to tip like a seesaw (or just collapse) onto the lawn below, but its concrete core makes the structure surprisingly sturdy. It also means that wherever its visitors reside inside, they are surrounded by multiple views of their natural surroundings, which are also reflected off the home’s metallic surface.

No air conditioning necessary

Atenas, Costa Rica, can get plenty hot, but Paravant Architects made sure that the strategic placement of walls and openings in this home provided enough cross-ventilation that no energy-draining air conditioning is needed to keep it cool.

Atenas, Costa Rica

Recycled down to the last straw

Owned by avid surfers and designed by Arkin Tilt Architects, this four-bedroom home in Santa Cruz, CA, was built with refurbished doors, windows, and other recycled materials that also add charm and character. Plus, the walls are insulated with straw bales.

Santa Cruz, CA

Bye-bye bricks and mortar

Rather than use the usual bricks and mortar, architect firm a21studio built this home in Binh Duong, Vietnam, out of metal sheets. This framework was then filled and covered with plants.

Binh Duong, Vietnam

Raise the roof

In South Africa, rainwater can be a particularly precious resource—which is why Thomashoff + Partner Architects built this home in Monaghan Farm with a sloped roof that can collect up to 5,300 gallons of rainwater.

Monaghan Farm, South Africa

Hip to be square

Designed by Minarc, this home in Reykjavik, Iceland, features a series of interlocking cubes, which cut down on construction costs.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Here comes the sun

In the ZEB Pilot House in Kingston, Tasmania, the sloped roof contains a slew of solar panels, which power the house.

Kingston, Tasmania, Australia

Credits : http://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/seven-eco-homes-too-beautiful-to-believe/