At first it was like a fairy tale, and even long-awaited move into your house in Brest pilot 747 Mear George and his wife podgadat for the holiday - the Day of All Saints, November 1, 1989.
George himself under the guidance of the architect involved in the design of future housing, and so the house seemed to him the acme of perfection - nice and at the same time modern and elegant.
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However, life in the new house from the outset had no luck. After moving Meara and his wife began to headaches, asthma and chronic fatigue. In the end, they noticed that they feel much better outside the walls of their homes. "Only a couple of years I realized that I was to blame is our home" - says George.
Examination revealed a lack of adequate ventilation, and, consequently, in the air rolls over the content of toxic substances - such as formaldehyde resins of particle board (chipboard). Five years later, these materials were officially recognized as carcinogenic. Meary sued its architect, the process lasted for 10 years and they had lost.
This case - is not unique. The study, published in 2002, the magazine Que choisir?, Says that three out of four apartments (a total of 885 dwellings were surveyed) the atmosphere is contaminated, it contains organic volatile compounds and aldehydes: allergens at best, at worst - carcinogens. Moreover, in such concentrations that are many times higher than allowable on the recommendations of the World Health Organization.
However, the results of these studies did not fundamentally change in housing construction. Paints, varnishes, adhesives, insulating materials, fiberglass, laminates, particle board, plastics wallpaper ... We are surrounded by hundreds of chemical compounds, which due to insufficient ventilation accumulate in homes and offices, and poison the 15 thousand liters of air that pass daily through our lungs. Asthma, eye irritation, nose and throat, headache, drowsiness - this is not the worst of the wide use of modern building materials.
The Americans dubbed this new issue of "unhealthy home syndrome" - it threatens not only individuals, but even the entire planet. Moreover, the current housing voraciously consumes power - it is also in large quantities emits carbon dioxide, increasing the greenhouse effect. According to the National Agency for Environmental Protection and Energy Management, the share of residential sector in France accounted for 46% of the total energy consumption and a fifth of the total emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere.
So how do you build individual housing, without harming our common house? One option is the so-called ekoarhitektura that uses traditional building materials such as hemp and straw, instead of particleboard and asbestos. Fashion for ekoarhitekturu for several years. Gradually, the idea of "green house" out of the narrow scope of construction whims available only very rich people and becoming increasingly popular. "At least three times a week - says Mimi Tzhoya, the architect of Perpignan - me turning customers who need a home that does not harm people or the environment, built from natural materials, which consumes very little power, and of unconventional sources. Particular attention must be given the location of housing to maximize sunlight and heat. "
But how much all this cost? Like all the "green" with the prefix "eco", materials and equipment used in the construction of green buildings, are expensive: about £ 10 per square meter of heat-insulating window glass, about eight thousand euros working with wood boiler, three to five thousand euros for solar-powered water heater.
Frederick Luae, a developer of green buildings, Fiabitat Nen-sur-Beuvron in Solon in 2004 compared the cost of green buildings and the standard of 120 square meters, constructed by the same architectural design. His conclusion: "The first is obtained by 9% more expensive: on? 3200 construction of the house going up on? 7100 - Equipment." However, this electricity is getting cheaper by half, heating - in six. So after 6-7 years of investment is fully recouped. Subsidies provided by local communities or the state to build eco-housing, designed to intensify the process. In particular, since 2006 the French by homeowners can offset the tax cuts of up to 50% of the cost of cleaner equipment.
And despite all this support, the situation with the Green Building in France is more than modestly at the European level. For example, in Spain, unlike France, virtually all new housing is equipped with heaters running on solar energy. In Austria, in 1000 people 288 square meters of solar panels, in France only 9 square. m. What is the reason behind this? "The problem - in the precise definition of eco otstutstvii - says Bruno Peporter, Fellow of the Institute of Paris's interior. As an example, a scientist said on energy consumption. "In Germany, - he explains - now guided by the power consumption of less than 15 kilowatt-hours per square meter per year (for comparison, in France the average 216). The correct way to cut energy consumption by at least 15% on a national scale. " It seems that a pan-European trend. Thus, in the near future at the request of the European Union have classified the house from "A" to «G» by the level of electricity consumption, as washing machines or microwave ovens.
However, obviously, eco-housing should be judged not only one low power consumption - home of the harmful materials can not be considered environmentally friendly, even if it is equipped with composting toilets and solar batteries on the roof. "I have received from the state in order? 100 000 to build eco-homes from the Minister Borloo for low-income families, but this amount on my solar panels more or less enough, but on natural materials is not" - Mimi Tzhoya complains. Is it possible to call a housing eco-homes?
Experts are unanimous about the environmental friendliness of building materials: a glass window with a special coating that reflects heat into the house, the walls of the "breathing" of brick, solar panels for water heaters and other needs.
"However, the construction lobby is very inert and it is not easy to translate with grooved rails and the usual technology of waste - said Peporter. - And to learn new methods of construction workers often lack adequate training. Architectural institutes, though allowing their students to participate in environmental projects, in no hurry to include in the curriculum ekoarhitekturu as an independent discipline. "
Is it possible to collective eco-housing? "Green Apartment" to "green skyscrapers?" It may be that such projects will implement more active than the construction of individual houses? During the past 10 years the EU has invested in several such projects, which allowed to build high-rise buildings in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Malmo (Sweden), Hannover and Freiburg (Switzerland). France is also taking its first steps in this direction. Eco-housing is being built in Grenoble and Saint-GenÈs-Lerpt near St. Etienne. In Lille ekokvartala construction of 10 000 people expected to be completed by 2008. There will be opportunities to take into account everything: landscape, transport infrastructure, waste and recycling and garbage, the noise level. "It is not easy to convince people to move into high-rise buildings, topped by solar panels - is afraid of Michelle Sabar, professor Institute of Architecture Paris-La Villette. - Probably, much more logical to build a "green home" is not in the city and province, in nature. After all, the average French family, as a rule, two cars and a distance of 50 km to the city will not be hindered in order to have time to work on time. "
However, the positive experience of collective eco-housing gradually accumulates. In the vicinity of London, has been successfully operating the project BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development). Since 2002 there lived 250 people in 82 environmentally friendly homes. Due to the insulating material consumption of electricity has declined there by 60% compared to conventional housing of the same footage. Residents of BedZED also save on fuel - they go to supermarkets less, buying local agricultural products, therefore, are less cars (an average of one car in five families). The expenditure part of the family budget so reduced by 15%.
BedZED project has received such a response that the Chinese are now working to create a copy to the Asian way - building a town Duntan. The world's first eco-city near Shanghai will increase to 2010. The British company engaged in the project, says that 500 000 people Duntanya 2040 will be driving around in cars with hybrid engines (internal combustion and electric), eat organic food and efficient use of vast green spaces in the heart of the village. Such is the approach to the environment in China. There is something to think about and learn from "teachers" with the West.