• Ankit Singhal

Air Conditioners (ACs) are harmful to environment; Solution is eco-friendly charcoal loofah bricks

Updated: May 2

A Mumbai based design school has come up with a sustainable building material, charcoal-based loofah brick which is eco-friendly to manufacture, naturally cleans and cools the air.

Not every invention solves human problems. One such invention is Air Conditioners (ACs). Though they are very convenient in providing cool air as an when required, you feel like being in a cooler environment with no smelly sweat on your arm pits or forehead in an instant. The proponents of AC would hail it as one of the greatest inventions of all time but they are bad in the longer run for human health and environment and if overused, for several reasons.

One, they consume a lot of electricity so an added burden on the already polluting electrical grid which is mostly dependent on coal for electricity generation. Second, they emit hot air which warms the environment. Now understand this vicious cycle - you have houses, buildings without ACs your colony. Outside and inside temperature is ,suppose 30 degree celcius. One household or building for the comfort of wanting cool air as and when required purchased an AC. Now the household which bought AC, has its inside temperature 28 degree celcius and because of the hot air emitted by the AC, the outside temperature increases a little, let us say it becomes 32 degree Celsius. Now since the outside temperature increased, other buildings installed ACs thereby increasing the outside temperature more and more and reducing inside temperature.

Ultimately, the environment becomes warmer than it was when ACs were not installed. Imagine millions of households, cars and buildings installing multiple hot-air-emitting ACs for years. This has deteriorating effects on many aspects as well. ACs lead to global warming which leads to rising temperature melting the iceberg, rising sea levels, resulting in floods and submergence of coastal areas. This also disturbs the ecosystem where animals and plants are not able to survive such high temperatures who are used to inhabiting in certain temperatures and is unsustainable for the whole ecosystem.

The alternative to air-conditioners in cooling the living space is through natural ways by designing buildings and houses that self-cool, building materials that are green and environmental-friendly. This is where architect's role comes into factor in adding environmental value to their work and providing a sustainable architectural solution . Coming out with sustainable construction materials that are environmental friendly to manufacture and reflect heat thereby resisting heat. One such eco-friendly material is charcoal-based loofah brick designed by Indian school of design and Innovation, Mumbai instead of regular brick. The Green charcoal biodegradable brick made up on charcoal, soil, air and loofah, traps the air through its pores thereby checking the temperature of the brick, preventing it from getting heated and charcoal acts as a cleaning agent cleaning the air that passes through it.

Charcoal-based loofah brick which naturally cools and cleans the air inside the building

Several other innovations can happen in architecture such as designing buildings in such a way that natural air flow is maintained and building remains cool. More environmental friendly solutions can come up when architects and environmentalists and scientists join hands to reverse the damage inflicted on the environment due to human activities.

©2020 by Guardian of Environment.