Sunday, April 29, 2012

Khidki kholo andolan!

Corporate offices started the trend. Government and public sector offices caught up with it. And now even educational institutions and homes are following the pointless practice. I call it the 'cocooned-indoor-syndrome'.

By constructing closed and cocooned work-places - where you don't have a sense of day or night - the trend-setters i.e. the employers probably expected you to work away without concerns of passage of time. But for heaven's sake, I hope they realized that most of us have at least five different ways - own watch, cell phone, corner of the desktop, co-worker's watch and hunger - of finding out what the time is. Once the trend is set, you always have hordes of followers who actually don't know why they're doing it but will still do it convincing themselves with excuses like 'higher standard of living', 'progress', and 'development'.

When you have so much of natural light available during the day, why does everyone keep themselves locked inside dark dungeons that need (read waste) thousands of valuable watts trying to light up the work-space?

But yes, lighting takes up only peanuts of power when you compare it with the most gluttonous of all electrical loads - the air conditioner. So the idea is you make your work-space air-tight and then install air-conditioners to heat the surroundings of the building (well actually, may be to cool the indoors so that people inside can use suits, jackets and shawls) well enough so that people coming from outside crave even more for the air-conditioned interiors. In most cases, ceiling fans are more than enough. How about planting lots of trees around the building and opening all the windows? Why not take care of cooling and ventilation in a much more economically and ecologically saner way?

The cynics say "Can you bear 40 degree Celsius?". I answer "It certainly is difficult. But, if I don't bear it now and give in to AC's, I might have to bear 50 degree Celsius within a decade!". If you feel for the cause, do join the 'khidki kholo andolan' (losely translates to 'the open-your-windows movement').

[Disclaimer: Most of the above arguments hold for hot countries like India and not for cold countries]


  1. That was one enlightening post! I hate it when people (in homes too) keep the light on even during the day. Yes, we never give a thought to the day in the not too distant future when we will have no electricity or even atmosphere!

  2. Lalit, on a similar point as yous;
    many times when I drop-in to friends' hostel rooms or staff rooms or many a classrooms*, I find their windows shut and doors not left open. Being used to cross-ventilation (thanks to my dad's constant insistence on this), my nose immediately recognizes lack of fresh air in their rooms.
    On your point, architects at many developed places have started thinking about green buildings; using natural lighting and air-conditioning effects; re-using drained water; I ensured we used flyash bricks during when our house got reconstructed last year.

    *Can't help but express surprise at the eccentricity of some staff using air conditioners in the CEDT seminar room. Do we need A/Cs there? Charity begins at home. Can we do something?

  3. Lalit, I am totally with you on this ! I too think that opening windows is necessary , and will be great if this move is adopted everywhere :-) Awesome post ! ..

  4. @ zephyr: Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. "Khidki kholo" will be all the more effective if people think of bigger windows while constructing their houses.

    @ Deepak Malani: Hope the green-building culture catches up with everyone soon. Great that you ensured use of flyash bricks for your house construction!

    @ Karthik: We can try and persuade others to jump into this practice!