1.CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLOURS
Choosing the most appropriate colours for a building or even a simple room can sometimes be a very tedious task and whatever the choices made this will have an influence on the users and other people going through, for they not only affect their moods but their well-being as well.
What looks appealing to someone may not be so for somebody else for the effects of colours depend also on age, sex, social background and sometimes even on the region or climate. Further colours can also change the size and shape of a room. Psychologically they can calm as well as excite people, thus affecting their moods.
To understand them and their effects, one needs to know more about them and their influence on people.
Primary, secondary and tertiary colours:
There are three primary colours: red, yellow and blue. They are colours which cannot be created by combining other colours.
The secondary colours are those that are formed when combining the three primary colours. They are green, purple and orange.
And when the primary colours are mixed with the secondary ones, one gets the tertiary colours.
These colours act in three basic ways: active, passive and neutral.
Thus light colours usually make rooms seem larger and brighter and they are said to be airy and expansive .On the other hand darker colours give an impression of warmth and sophistication thus making large rooms more intimate and cosy.
Effects of Colours:
Red is the most intense colour. It is lively, stimulating and very friendly. It creates excitement and usually gives a strong impression. However it can also be perceived as demanding and aggressive. It can be a good choice for living and dining rooms.
Yellow can be uplifting and energizing and it helps to create happy moods as it is often associated with sunshine. It can lift one’s spirits and self-esteem; it is the colour of optimism and confidence.
Blue is the intellectual colour and while bringing calmness and serenity it also creates a relaxing atmosphere. It can be good for bedrooms or bathrooms although if it is too dark, it can also promote sadness.
Green is a very restful colour and has a calming effect. It can be used almost everywhere for it can help to promote happiness and comfort, particularly if the lighter hue is used.
Orange brings excitement and energy. It can for example be very appropriate for a gym. Some marketing people even recommend it for commercial areas as it is believed that it incites people to buy more.
Purple is a colour which some associate with creativity and luxury. It can also bring the impression of more sophistication and depth.
Brown is for seriousness, and warmth . Because of its association with the earth and nature it gives the impression of reliability and solidness to many people.
Grey is a psychologically neutral colour. Unless it is used in the right proportion, it can have a dampening effect on other colours used with it. It can even give the impression of a lack of confidence.
White is purity, clarity and simplicity but also sterile, which can also make it negative. Visually, white gives a heightened perception of space.
Black creates a perception of weight and seriousness. It communicates sophistication and uncompromising excellence but to some it can also mean oppression, coldness, menace and heaviness.
Whatever colours one prefers, the rules of the thumb is that if one wants to create a serious atmosphere, darker colours are more appropriate whilst if one wants to make people feel more relaxed, then the colours should be lighter.
One should also bear in mind that the region where one lives can also play a role in the choice of colours. Thus one can see a lot of houses in white in warm and hot countries like those in the Mediterranean region This is because of the reflective value of white which helps to keep these buildings cooler in hot summers. In contrast, one sees brighter colours in colder regions because the tendency there is to promote more warmth.
When one thinks of energy saving and ecological constructions, these factors need also to be taken into account.
2. SAVING ENERGY WITH NATURAL VENTILATION
Natural ventilation is the process where one supplies or removes air from a building without using any mechanical methods.
Following worldwide concerns on the negative impacts of high energy use, natural ventilation is one of the ways where one can achieve relatively comfortable conditions in buildings without the excessive use of mechanical systems. By using such a system, one will also be reducing the construction and maintenance costs of the building.
One can induce natural ventilation in a building in two ways : by using the wind or by buoyancy.
Wind driven ventilation occurs when there are different wind pressures around a building. By inserting openings in different appropriate places, one causes the wind to flow through the building.
Buoyancy driven ventilation is caused by differences in temperature between the internal and external parts of a building.
To get the maximum benefit from this kind of ventilation one needs to orient the building in such a way that it can profit from the wind direction. In Mauritius, the prevailing winds usually come from the south east. Most of the large windows should thus face this direction.
However, additional design criteria have also to be implemented:
-Each room will need at least two openings, one for the supply and one for the exhaust of air.
-To maximise the stack effect, the exhaust opening should be higher than than the inlet and usually on the opposite wall.
-Both windows should be operable and there should be as little obstruction as possible between the two openings.
-One should also avoid external obstructions such vegetation in front of the inlet openings
-Floor to ceiling heights of 3 metres or more
For one to ventilate a building through buoyancy, the internal and external temperatures have to be different.
Because warm air is less dense than cold air, indoor air will rise and escape the building through openings at the top when it is cooler outside.
3. REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT WITH SOLAR PANELS
More and more people are now using solar power.
In addition to tax incentives, one main reason for adopting this new energy is that one can decrease the carbon footprint of the household a lot. Thus one may have to plant about 70 to 90 new trees each year to offset the amount of carbon monoxide which would otherwise have been emitted by one house.
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells which capture sunlight and transform it into energy. The latter is then converted to electricity for use in the home. Thus additional wiring will be needed and qualified technicians will be needed.
One very important aspect to consider when installing them is their position. In Mauritius which is found in the southern hemisphere, maximum sunlight is received when these panels face North.
The more time these panels are exposed to full sunlight, the more energy they will generate.
It is therefore also important that they are not covered by tall trees or buildings.