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Making way for natural light and air

HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) and lighting are the most important parts of building design in the present-day energy crisis scene. The buzzwords in the building industry are eco-friendly, energy efficiency, and green concepts.

The Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, has been vested with the responsibility of generating, cultivating, and promoting building science and technology in the service of the country. CBRI's focus is on green and energy-efficient buildings. Jaisalmer is one such city where the natural cooling systems are adopted for a comfortable living. Some of the natural cooling systems used there include: dense clustering of buildings, sun control through orientation and structural projections, and cooling of sunlit surfaces by use of fins, massive construction for roofs and walls, courtyards and other air ducts for ventilation. Thermal comfort is influenced by psychological as well as physiological factors. The quality of indoor air is a health concern. Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments associated with an individual's place of work or residence. A 1984 WHO report into the syndrome suggested that up to 30 per cent of new and remodelled buildings worldwide may be linked to symptoms of SBS.

Most of the sick building syndrome is related to poor indoor air quality.

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