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Life and Leisure by
Ever since we moved into the new place, I've realized the importance of one thing I've been taking for granted for a long time: proper ventilation. Circulation of fresh air is a critical component of home architecture and unfortunately the house we've moved into is a fairly old house with few windows. Actually the location and the plan of this house makes it nearly impossible to have any windows except a couple in the front of the house facing the street. Being on the ground floor is a further disadvantage and there is no compound wall to speak of which makes the street-facing windows exposed to the dust and pollution of vehicular traffic.
In many ways, the house is extremely comfortable, but the lack of fresh air and sunlight makes electric lighting a necessity even in daytime. In the older house (which was on the second floor, had plenty of windows and was away from the main road) the bedroom was a cosy little room tucked away in one corner which we used just for sleeping at night. We had kept the computer and our second television in another room. The large spacious hall made it easy for us to avoid the bedroom during the daytime. In this house, the master bedroom dominates the floor space. It is virtually a second living room. As a result we spend a lot of time during the day in this room. This, coupled with the lack of ventilation and natural lighting, makes the air of this room stale very quickly. One thing I've realized quickly is that you need your bedrooms to be naturally well lit and aired out during the daytime. After a night's sleep, a lot of carbon dioxide accumulates and you need the morning breeze to blow in and remove the mustiness in the air. But unfortunately, getting any breeze in this particular house is very difficult. Keeping the few windows open brings in a swarm of mosquitoes at night. So we are forced to shut out all windows and resort to air-conditioning. Naturally it's not the ideal solution, but at least breathing becomes easier with this circulating air. Even so, I've not had a proper night's sleep ever since we shifted. I believe this is partly due to the accumulation of stale air during the daytime and partly due to the menace of mosquitoes which find the spacious dark corners of these rooms extremely inviting.
From all this, I've concluded that the most important component of any house is ventilation and natural lighting. Modern design does not pay much importance to the flow of fresh air as air-conditioning has taken over that role, but I think it's a key aspect of making any house comfortable for its residents and reduce energy costs at the same time. It's all very well living in the lap of luxury, but that cannot replace fresh air and sunlight to liven up a home and keep it fresh and free of mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects. So if you're planning to buy or build a house, keep these aspects in mind. It's far more important than any other comforts or luxuries you might have in mind.
From a personal point of view, hopefully this house is only a temporary solution for us.
Posted on Sat, Sep 29, 2007 at 10:59 IST (last updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2008 @ 22:52 IST)