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IMA White Paper on Health Friendly Homes


Dr A Marthanda Pillai, Dr K K Aggarwal


A health friendly home should comply with the following:

Control of air pollution: Health-friendly homes should maintain and adhere to WHO guidelines on air pollution. The parameters for particulate matter are as follows: PM2.5: 10 µg/m3 annual mean and 25 µg/m3 24-hour mean; PM10: 20 µg/m3 annual mean and 50 µg/m3 24-hour mean; O3: 100 µg/m3 8-hour mean and NO2: 40 µg/m3 annual mean & 200 µg/m3 1-hour mean. For this, the building should be oriented and directed for maximum natural breeze. There should be open areas and cross ventilation in all directions with plenty of windows, doors and balconies. A compartmentalized apartment allows for efficient summer cooling or winter heating. The Housing society or colony should be situated away from industrial areas. Instead, it should have in its vicinity, a green neighbourhood or an artificial lake. The level of major pollutants should be prominently displayed in the society with an alarm when the levels cross the permissible limits.

Control of noise pollution: The maximum safe threshold for humans is 80 decibels (dB). The WHO guidelines for community noise recommend less than 30 A-weighted decibels [dB(A)] in bedrooms during the night for a good quality sleep and less than 35 dB(A) in classrooms to allow good teaching and learning conditions. For night noise, the WHO guidelines recommend less than 40 dB(A) of annual average (Night) outside of bedrooms to prevent adverse health effects from night noise.

The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, have set the standards for noise levels in various areas in our country as follows:

Area Code

Category of area/zone

 

Limits in dB (A)

Day Time

Night Time

A

Industrial Area

75

70

B

Commercial Area

65

55

C

Residential Area

55

45

D

Silence Zone

50

40

To minimize the noise pollution, residential areas should be as far away as possible from major roads. They should be surrounded by greenery with no noise creating industry within at least 2 -3 km area. It should be a no honking zone with vehicular movement limited only to residential vehicles. The housing society should use fly ash bricks for construction which have proven high insulation qualities against external noise. And, it should allow only split AC and silent generators for power back up.

Vastu Compliance: The construction of the house should comply with vastu principles, for those who believe in vastu shastra.

Earthquake Resistant: Earthquake resistant buildings should be designed and constructed in areas that fall in Seismic Zone IV.

Mobile Tower Free: There should be no cell phone tower within the perimeters of the society. The minimum distance of the mobile tower from the nearest flat should be 500 meters.

IGBC/LEED Certified Eco friendly construction: The building should comply with the standards set by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)/ Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). There should be provisions for effective energy conservation for the residents.

Greenery and Plantation: There should be gardens and greenery within the housing society with the provision of a kitchen garden if possible. The individual houses in the society should have adequate space for indoor plants.

Drinking Water Supply & Water Treatment Provisions:  Potable and safe water should be available 24×7.

Water Recycling: There should be a waste water treatment plant, where after certain chemical and physical processes, the wastewater can be converted to the water that either can be safely discharged to the environment or can be reused for the purposes like gardening, car wash etc.

Rain Water Harvesting Plant: The housing society should have a good rain water harvesting system in its premises to provide sufficient water required for managing the whole facility.

Sky Garden: If possible, there should be rooftop garden, which all residents should be able to access.

Security Provisions with Panic Alarm: Strict vigilance should be maintained with automatic boom barriers for traffic control, CCTV surveillance, Intercom and panic Alarm.

Garbage Disposal and Sewage System: The garbage should be collected at doorstep of each house. A sewage treatment plant within the society will remove contaminants from wastewater, including household sewage and runoffs and produce an environmentally safe treated wastewater.

Multireligion Worship place: There should be a dedicated single place of worship for many faiths and religions.

Open Area for Recreational activities: The housing society should have large open area for various recreational activities. If possible, there should be an Amphitheatre for group activities.

Outdoor Sports Facilities: There should be facilities for outdoor sports such as cricket, multipurpose ground for football and basketball, lawn tennis, volley ball, basketball or badminton courts.

Indoor Sports and Club Facilities: Adequate space should be provided for a dedicated Yoga Center for the residents; a multipurpose hall for table tennis/Billiards table, gymnastics and other indoor games like carrom, chess etc. and a swimming pool. If possible, the housing society should have a restaurant that serves healthy food.

Free Drinking Water: There should be drinking water taps in common areas of the society for the housekeeping and facility management staff.

Common Toilets: It should have clean public toilets for male, female, handicaps and third gender.

Wi-Fi: The housing society should be wi-fi enabled with pre-laid optical fibre network and provide unhindered Wi-Fi to the residents in the common areas of the complex.

First Aid Kit: A First-aid kit should be available in each flat and other common areas.

Fire Fighting and fire detection alarm systems: The housing society should have modern fire-fighting equipments in place in the common areas, on each floor and also in each flat.

Gas Supply: There should be provision for piped natural gas (PNG) as domestic fuel.

Lift Ratio: The lift ratio should high with separate lifts for residents and heavy loads with a lift lobby.

Nursing Home/Healthcare Centre: The housing society should have provision for a Nursing home cum healthcare center for the residents as well as nearby societies to take care of their basis health care needs.

Cable TV: There should be pre-laid Optic fiber network for cable TV.