Native trees are trees that have naturally existed in the Philippines for centuries. These are trees that are low maintenance and requires minimal water. Not to mention they are beautiful!
However, not all native trees can be planted in your backyard as most of them are tall with huge roots that can destroy your floor and roof gutter. Here are four small native trees that are perfect for your own backyard.
1. Gakakan / Maritima
4. Champaca / Champak
Since they are native to the Philippines and has adopted to the natural climate, these trees are low-maintenance and require water only during hot and dry seasons. These native trees can make your house more beautiful and greener, give out more oxygen in your surroundings, provide additional shading for your house, and do not require much water to grow. It makes your home eco-friendly.
Why should I buy a nature-friendly product when it is more expensive than a regular product? Why should I care and what’s in it for me?
There’s a lot in it for you than you might think.
Buying nature-friendly products is a form of an investment. You give up something now for future benefits. Giving up your money now for it to grow bigger in the future is an investment. Exercising now so that your health will not suffer in the future is also an investment. So is patronizing nature-friendly products.
Do you love your family?
According to the report of CNN.com: “Climate change could pose ‘existential threat’ by 2050.” That is 30 years from now. Your children and grandchildren will be adults by then. The major problems that they will be facing will not be about their jobs. They will face problems in their health and life.
The devastating problems that they will be facing in the future will come from the decisions that we are making now.
If we do business-as-usual, if we buy products that do not have any concern about the environment, we are practically creating the problems now that our children and grandchildren will be facing in the future.
So why should you choose nature-friendly products even if they are more expensive? Because you don’t want your children and grandchildren to have life-threatening problems that you yourself helped create. Because you want them to have a better future.
You should choose nature-friendly products because you love your family.
Window screens and full screen doors not only prevent insects from invading your home, they are also good for nature. This is because of the freedom they give.
Having screens in your windows encourages you to open your windows. It gives you a certain comfort and peace of mind that it’s okay to open your windows to let the natural air outside to enter your home, without worrying about insects coming in your home. It’s like letting your home breathe.
When you open your windows, you are allowing the natural air outside to come inside to cool your home. You are taking advantage of the free cooling that is already provided by nature.
But air will not enter your home if you only have one opening, no matter how big. Air will only pass through your home if there is a window or any sort of opening at the opposite end. It’s called cross ventilation. That’s why you need also to install a full screen door in your front door and rear door to maximize the benefits of cross ventilation. With this setup, you can open your doors with the full screen doors closed and natural breeze can now pass through your home, making it cooler and more comfortable.
We all notice that when our home is fully closed, it feels really hot and humid inside. It is because the moisture in the air inside is trapped and it will be very humid. The more humid your home, the more chances for molds and other bacteria can grow inside. These can affect the health of your family. These can be prevented by providing screens to have the freedom to open your windows and exterior doors to lower down the humidity inside your home.
This is why all openable windows at BuHomes™ Breeze, a nature-friendly townhouse development in Amparo Caloocan, are already provided with screens. The front and rear doors of BluHomes™ Breeze are also provided with full screen doors.
Opening your windows will provide your home with free ventilation and lower down your use of air conditioners and electric fans. Your electric bills will be less and the more savings you will have. The less electricity you consume, the less pollutants and carbon dioxide are released to the environment and the better for nature. Screens in your windows and exterior doors will help you achieve that by having the freedom and peace of mind to open up your home to the outdoors and enjoy its benefits.
Ever wonder why it is cooler in the province than in the city? Grass is our friend in cooling the surroundings. Concrete has this characteristic called “thermal mass” that makes the surroundings hot.
The heat coming from the sun can bounce from a surface. This is called the “solar reflectance,” the ability of a surface to reflect that solar heat back to the surroundings.
Concrete has higher solar reflectance than grass. When solar heat hits the surface of a concrete pavement, more heat is reflected back and the hotter the surroundings will be. Grass, on the other hand, has lower solar reflectance. Less heat is reflected and the cooler your surroundings will be.
Grass eats heat, literally. Through photosynthesis, the grass absorbs the heat coming from the sun and converts it into chemical energy that is needed for it to live. As a waste product, the grass releases oxygen to the environment that is needed for us and other animals to survive. It’s the beautiful cycle of life.
Not to mention, grass also eats carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is the main cause of global warming.
Grass is visually cooling our minds and our hearts. For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been seeing green all around them. Green has always been the color of our home in past. However, until recently, we have seen less of this green around us. All we see now are buildings and roads, and we miss the feeling of being at-home with green surrounding our lives.
Whenever we see green, our mood is enhanced and we feel more energy in our blood, according to studies. This is why grass is visually cooling our minds and our hearts.
Concrete has this characteristic called “thermal mass” where, during hot days it absorbs and stores the heat inside its body, and during the time when it is cooler it releases it to the surroundings. This is why you feel hot during night time when there is no sun. This is because the concrete in your house is releasing the heat that it absorbed in the morning. Grass, on the other hand, has virtually zero thermal mass.
Heat Island Effect
Concrete is the main cause of heat island effect. This phenomenon is the reason why it is cooler in the province than in the city, and it has been scientifically proven. There are plenty of reasons why this is happening. First, there are more human activities in cities than in provinces. Second, there are much more pollution and carbon dioxide in cities. And third, grass is cooler than concrete.
Planting grass in your backyard is the simplest way that you can do to help climate change. It will benefit you because your house will be cooler compared to using concrete and it will give you a cooler feel. It will also benefit the environment as grass can help reduce carbon dioxide, lower the global warming, and produce oxygen that we all need in our lives.
BluHomes™ is inspired to help the world by providing homes that are beautiful, nature-friendly and inspiring. In its first project called BluHomes Breeze, a townhouse development in Amparo Caloocan, the front yard is already provided with grass for the homeowners to enjoy and benefit from. The sidewalk in the development is made up of perforated paver blocks with grass, so it is not plainly concrete. This is why BluHomes™ is cool.
We spend about 15% of our income to electric bills! Even if we receive salary increases annually, the cost of electricity also increases with it. It’s hard to accept that the cost of electricity will never go down unless we do something about it.
Ever wonder why your electric bill is so high in your home? There are many sources that eat up our electric consumption, and here are the 4 major reasons.
1. Air conditioners
More than 50% of our electric consumption comes from air conditioners. There are two reasons why. First, we consume high loads of air conditioners because it is very hot and humid here in the Philippines. We cannot do something about this.
The second reason is because our homes are poorly designed such that we have no choice but to rely on air conditioners. We can do something about this!
2. Cost of electricity
The cost of electricity in the Philippines is increasing every year. Believe it or not, it will continue to rise and will never go down, never! It might decrease a little bit but it will increase twice the next time. This is because of the law of supply and demand.
55% of our electricity comes from coal, oil and gas. These are non-renewable resources. They are depleting day by day the more we use electricity. It is estimated that in 55 years, our coal, oil and gas will run out. As the law of supply and demand states, the lower the amount of coal, oil and gas, the higher its cost will be. Not to mention that these non-renewable resources are dirty and destroying our environment.
That is why our electricity cost will not go down, UNLESS we resort to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, water, geothermal and biomass. Since these are renewable and will never be depleted, its cost will now increase.
3. Not being mindful
We, the users of our homes, are also one of the major reasons why our electric bills are so high. It is because we are not mindful of using our electricity properly and efficiently. We do not care if we do not turn off the lights in our rooms when we leave. We do not care about turning the TV off when not using it. We leave our air conditioners on even if the room is vacant. We live and act as if these are free and unlimited.
Be mindful about your consumption of electricity. Remember that it is very costly and not free. Remember that is eats up 15% of our income. Remember that the more electricity we consume, the more pollution we release in the environment.
4. Poor design
What’s worse, most homes in the Philippines are poorly designed such that its interior rely on air conditioners to cool it. There are no insulation on the roof and exterior walls. There is no proper cross ventilation. Roofs are made up of metal that has high conductivity to heat. Most homes in the Philippines do not have solar panels. Our homes are designed to be costly.
Good thing some developers are trying to solve this. BluHomes Breeze, a townhouse development in Amparo Caloocan, are properly designed to be energy efficient and nature-friendly. Its roof and walls are made up of Magnesium Oxide material that is highly insulated and does not allow heat to penetrate through it. It is designed for maximum cross ventilation and takes into consideration the movement of air inside the house. The roof and the exterior walls are mainly white to reflect the heat from the sun. More features of BluHomes Breeze can be found in www.bluhomes.ph/breeze.
Allow your home to breathe by opening your windows. Here are the 4 reasons why you should open the windows in your homes as often as you can.
1. Good for your body
Studies show that one of the most dangerous hazards to our health is indoor air pollution. When windows are closed, air is trapped inside your home and air pollutants can build up. These pollutants are mainly from off-gassing of paints, cleaning products, carpet and new furniture. Allergens such as dust and dander will also accumulate when the air is stale inside your home. Rooms that are air tight will build up high levels of humidity inside that is the main source of molds.
Let the fresh air in by opening your windows. It will significantly improve the indoor air quality of your home and improve your and your family’s health. Open windows will force the air inside your home to move and replace all the unwanted air inside into a fresher and cleaner air from outside.
2. Good for your mind
Air quality has a positive effect in your cognition or your ability to acquire knowledge and understanding. It will make you think better and is very important for learning. Studies show that employees are significantly less productive if the indoor air quality inside a building is poor and they have no access to fresh air from the outside.
By opening your windows, you are somehow connecting yourself to nature, which can boost your mood and make you happier. Also, sunlight during morning and afternoon is a very effective mood booster and a good source of vitamin D.
3. More savings
Instead of relying on air conditioners and fans, why not use the free air that is available outside? Just open your windows and let nature cool you free of charge. It will reduce your reliance on air conditioners and lower your electric consumption. More than 40% of your electric consumption comes from these cooling equipment.
By always opening your windows and allowing fresh air to go inside, your home will have lower humidity levels. This means that you will no longer need dehumidifiers that will cost you around P10,000. Air fresheners will not be needed as well because with lower humidity and higher air movement inside, your house will not smell stuffy and old. Your house will actually smell a lot better if you open your windows.
4. Good for the environment
By lowering your reliance to air conditioners and harnessing the power of nature in cooling your home, you will reduce your reliance on fossil-fuel generated energy that is harmful for nature.
Opening your windows has many benefits not just for you, but for the environment as well. BluHomes Breeze, a nature-friendly townhouse development in Amparo Caloocan, encourages its homeowners to open their windows by providing free insect screens to all its openable windows so they will not worry about insects entering their homes. Also, windows at BluHomes Breeze are casement-type windows that are 100% openable, which will allow more fresh air to come in compared to ordinary sliding windows.
For thousands of years, humans rely on the sun for light. We adopted our own body clock with reference to the movement of the sun, from when we wake up, when we hunt for food, and when we sleep. It is only after 140 years ago that we shifted to artificial light, when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. It disrupted how our body naturally functions and affects our health and wellbeing. Here are the reasons why you should have more windows and natural light in your homes.
1. Better Health
Studies show that being exposed to natural light during early mornings and late afternoons makes us healthier. Sunlight is our natural medicine to fight for common illnesses and bacteria. It is also a great source of vitamin D, which increases the ability of our body to absorb calcium, magnesium and phosphate.
2. Better Vision
Natural light can enhance our vision and regulate the growth of our eyeballs. Our eyes are already used to the dynamic change of sunlight throughout centuries and are not used to the fluorescent lights that we have today. Too much exposure to fluorescent light inside our homes can cause eyestrain and headaches because of its flickering property.
3. Better Mood
Our bodies have adopted to the dynamic natural light that the sun produces. The intensity and colors of light change with time, from dark during night time, to the soft yellow-orange hue during mornings and afternoons, to the intense bright white-blue light during midday. This natural biorhythm raises our moods and increases our energy levels. Also, seeing the outdoors makes us feel connected back to nature and enhances our moods.
4. More Productive
Studies have shown that providing more natural light in offices increases the productivity and comfort of its occupants. The building with more natural light also has happier occupants. Its naturally-changing shades stimulates our brains and affects our energy for the task at hand.
5. More Savings
On average, lighting consumes 15% of our energy consumption. Artificial light, especially incandescent bulbs, produces heat that makes our house hotter and less comfortable, increasing our likelihood of using air conditioners and electric fans, which consumes a lot of electricity. Using natural light instead of artificial lighting can significantly reduce our energy consumption.
BluHomes Breeze, a nature-friendly townhouse development in Amparo Caloocan, are designed to have better natural lighting. It has bigger and wider windows, and its interior walls are painted plain white to reflect these natural light deeper into the house.
Your attic is one of the main reasons why your house is hot. Roofs in the Philippines are mostly made of very thin steel sheet called "long span", and it is a highly-conductive material. When the sun hits your roof, it absorbs the heat and transfers it to the inside, directly to the attic of your house. The attic is the area between the roof and the ceiling of the highest floor. What does your attic do to this heat?
Why is my second floor hot?
Your attic transfers that heat downwards into the the second floor of your house. To add to this, the principle of convection states that hot air will naturally rise and cold air will naturally go down. These are the reasons why it is hotter in the second floor compared to the ground floor. The bad news, your second floor is usually where you spend most of your time in. It is also where you sleep!
What can I do?
You can replace your roof into a material that is not as conductive as a steel. You can also add insulation under your roof. But these will be very expensive for you.
The easiest and most practical way to cool your attic is to allow it to vent the heat outdoors, instead of into the house, by providing some holes or vent to your ceiling eaves. That is why the ceiling eaves under the roof of BluHomes Breeze, a nature-friendly townhouse development in Amparo Caloocan, have slotted holes on them, to allow these heat to escape from the attic to the outside environment.
What are the benefits?
This attic ventilation will significantly reduce the heat inside your attic and, most importantly, will make your house cooler and more comfortable. You will be able to stay in your room longer without air conditioners. Your house will be cooler, literally.
With a more comfortable house, you may lessen the use of air conditioners and electric fans, and your electric bills will go down and give you more savings. And with lower use of energy, it will lower also your carbon footprint to nature. You and your home will be nature-friendly.
Will these holes look nice on my house?
Yes. Check out BluHomes Breeze in Amparo Caloocan and how they incorporated this attic ventilation into the design of their house. Also, people will not notice these holes from afar, especially if the facade of your house is eye-catching!
Our windows are one of the main sources of heat inside our house. It is the weakest part the the "building envelope," which is the term used by engineers and architects to refer to the exterior shell of the house, particularly the roofs and walls, that are supposed to protect us from the outdoor environment. It is the easiest way for the heat of the sun to enter the house. The simplest way to cool our house significantly is by selecting the most efficient window covering.
BluHomes Breeze, a townhouse development in Amparo Caloocan, uses White PVC Horizontal Window Blinds for their window coverings to cool the house passively for 4 reasons.
1. It is color white
White is the coolest color among all colors. The lighter the color of a material, the less heat is absorbed by the material and the cooler the material becomes. When sunlight hits the white blinds, instead of absorbing the heat and letting it penetrate the house, it reflects the heat back to the outside.
2. It is PVC material
Plastic is considered as a low-conductive material. Conductivity is a property of a material that measures its ability to let heat pass through its body. Steel is highly conductive, that's why the steel spoon is hot when we use it for cooking. The less conductive the material is, like PVC, the less heat will transfer from one end to another. This means that the heat on the outdoor side of the window blinds is not being passed through the material and into the interior of the house.
3. It blocks the sun
Since it is horizontal, the blinds can be manually adjusted to control the amount of sunlight that you want to enter inside the house. You can totally or partially block the direct sunlight from entering the house with the blinds, thus giving you full control of the amount of light and heat you allow to enter your house.
4. It allows air to enter
When there is no air movement inside the house, you feel hotter. Wind that passes by your body makes you feel cooler because the wind pushes away the humidity around your body that makes you feel hot. Unlike curtains and shut-off blinds, horizontal window blinds can block the sunlight and yet allow for the air to enter the house, making the house cooler and more comfortable.
The purpose of building a house is to provide a home. In the future, it must be more than that.
All buildings are built for a purpose. A hospital building is built for health care to the community. A school building is built for providing education. A house is built to provide shelter. Buildings are built for a single purpose of satisfying basic human needs.
Houses built to contribute to the environment
Houses in the future must satisfy more than one purpose of providing shelter. It would be much better if the house that are being built contribute to the environment as well. Instead of adding burden to the environment and contributing negatively, why not contribute positively? Houses must be built to reduce its negative impact to the environment.
Houses with less energy demand
The first step is to reduce the energy demand of the house by building it using the concept of passive cool house. A passive cool house is a house built to be cooler and comfortable only by design, without air-conditioners, using better roof and wall insulation, cross ventilation techniques, and better house orientation and shading. This will significantly reduce the energy demand of the house.
House with solar panels
After designing the house with reduced energy demand, the next step is to build the house with renewable energy sources like solar panels. This will offset the energy sourced from dirty non-renewable energy and reduce its negative impact to the environment.
This is the vision of BluHomes for the future of the housing industry in the Philippines, to have houses that have less impact to the environment and are powered solely by renewable energy, mainly by solar power. With this kind of housing, the world will be a much better, healthier, and more sustainable.