MYROLE RTM1- Featured GrASS on 25 Jan 2011, 330pm

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Dear Friends,

We here at GrASS need your help to help us gather the below mentioned items to help us raise funds for our shelter and other independent pet rescuers.

The items are:

Scrap Paper
Old Newspapers
Old Magazines
Unwanted uncooked/raw Acidic Fruits ( Oranges, pineapples, lime,lemons)
Unwanted uncooked/raw fruits
Unwanted uncooked/raw Vegetables
Brown Sugar
Rice Bran
Red Earth
Glass Jars/Plastic containers with lids
Cardboard boxes (any other cardboard materials)
Aluminium Cans
Expired Food Products

For more ways on how or what items you can donate to help please visit HERE

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Article: Ecohome DIY

Tuesday September 1, 2009

Pictures by ART CHEN

One architect has devised ways to make his linkhouse more liveable in the tropical heat.

DARK and stuffy – that's what most linkhouses are. So families are left with little choice but to keep lights on, even during the day, and the air-conditioning perpetually running. This can send their carbon footprints bloating.

Architect Clement Wong feels that Malaysians need not live that way and to prove it, he has renovated a typical linkhouse to include various design elements that can raise the comfort level up several notches. The result is that his 22 x 85 feet (6.6 x 25.5m) double-storey linkhouse in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, is surprisingly bright and airy.

Model house: Architect Clement Wong and his wife Grace Soh, in front of the linkhouse which they are renovating as a green building.

"The house is 30 years old and so needed a bit of work. I took the opportunity to look back at the fundamentals of a good design and incorporate them. This is a green home DIY. I had a lot of cost considerations, so I did not put in fancy green things but just went back to basics."

Going back to fundamentals meant Wong had two aims: promote cross-ventilation and tap natural lighting.

"To cool buildings in the tropics, we need cross-ventilation and shade from the scorching sun. It is easy to get cross-ventilation. You just need two openings in a room. If there is only one opening, the room is air-locked."

So in his house, Wong made sure that no walls obstructed the kitchen from the living hall. This allows constant airflow through the house.

He had chosen the house, which doubled up as his office, for its north-south orientation which maximises natural lighting. To brighten the interiors, he punctured the ceiling with skylights. Tastefully designed to blend into the architecture, these 25cm-wide openings have tough laminated glass covers to ensure security. Through these slits in the ceiling, sunlight floods the kitchen, dining area and stairs landing.

"There is no need to turn on a single light in the daytime," Wong proclaims proudly. In addition to that, narrow gaps just beneath the glass covers of the skylights allow hot air to escape, which further cools the house.

The pride of the house has to be its green roof. It is a welcome oasis from the busy road outside and the surrounding hot roof tops. This secret space is perfect for Wong's wife Grace Soh to do yoga and son Ernest to run around. Wong created a 6m by 3m space for the roof garden simply by shrinking the roof and making it slope sideways.

"The green roof is nice-looking and cools down the building dramatically. The roof has to be as light as possible so I mixed polystyrene crumbs with the soil to reduce the weight," explains Wong.

To conserve water, he installed a simple rain harvesting system. Gutters divert rainwater from the roof into a storage tank. The water is then piped into three gardens. So not a single drop is wasted. Concerns over acid rain which can corrode the piping system, however, deterred Wong from using rainwater in the bathrooms (for flushing).

To keep the carbon footprint of the house small, Wong left the bathroom walls bare and not tiled up. His eagerness to put discarded stuff to good use is seen all over the house. The floors are not paved over with tiles but a composite made of white cement and marble and granite chips (such as those used for potted plants). Polished to a high shine, the effect is like terrazzo flooring.

"The stone chips are something that people won't use otherwise," says Wong.

Instead of buying new plywood for formwork (mould), he used salvaged roofing material – and got interesting results, in the form of corrugated walls. The kitchen cabinets were salvaged from a renovation project he did. All they needed were a fresh coat of paint and new handles to look good.

Use of waste is again seen in the front gate perimeter wall. "I told the contractor to bring any stones he can find at construction sites." The odd-sized granite stones are pieced together by cement and left unpolished, creating a rough-hewn look that is not unappealing.

Despite renovating the house since early last year, the task is still not finish as Wong not only personally sources for materials, he is not rushing himself. "It is a work in progress. I like to say that I am growing a green home."

He envisages the house as a model of how to make a typical terraced dwelling greener and more comfortable. In fact, one potential client, after viewing the house, was impressed enough to commission Wong to renovate his home.

"If you buy a terrace house, you will need to do it up. So why not take the opportunity to incorporate useful features. Forget about expensive costly techniques. Get the fundamentals right. Even a terrace house, despite having little exposure to the sun, can use sunlight," says Wong. He has demonstrated that even simple steps, such as changing the interior layout, can do wonders to a home. Isn't it time you insist on that from your architect?

This article was taken from: The Star Online: Lifestyle: Focus 1 September 2009

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