With intensifying weather conditions, our homes that used to be comfortable might now be too hot during the summer and too cold during the winter. Consequently, our electricity bills jack up because of additional cooling or heating needs. But heaters and air conditioners are not sustainable. They break down when overused and would simply add to our expenses.
What we need is a smart home ready for all seasons. The common connotation of ‘smart’ usually is that all electronic gadgets are wired and can be controlled remotely. But this kind of smart is the opposite—it is smartly designed to lessen reliance on appliances.
What makes a house design smart? Generally, it can sustain itself. Meaning, it doesn’t need too much paraphernalia to be comfortable. For example, it can maintain a cool temperature during hot weather and retain warmth during cold seasons. How is it possible?
Enter the concept of feng shui. Nowadays, many interior designers claim to use feng shui in their setups. But what they do is simply recommend placing objects in this or that part of the room without actually explaining the value of the object. They just say it is for good luck; it attracts positivity and whatnots. It is basically insulting the science of feng shui.
Feng shui originates from the knowledge of ancient China, influenced by their beliefs in the harmony of man and nature. Logically, it advocates for placements and designs that ensure the flow of natural factors like air, water, and light in your house. While consulting an expert who could visit your home would be the best thing to do, below are a few basic ideas that take inspiration from feng shui.
Many feng shui experts would say that clutter stores up negative energy. It sounds ominous. But the explanation behind this can be two things. The most obvious is that clutter, when referring to objects lying haphazardly around, can be dangerous. People can step or trip on them and result in injury.
But the more relevant explanation to home design is in reference to a cluttered arrangement of your furniture. For example, you place some cabinets or an ornamental structure between your living room and dining room to divide the two spaces. It would not only make each space look smaller, but if you do not have enough windows in both spaces, you would also effectively block the flow of air from one space to the other. So, you get an area with stagnant air.
The bottom line, you need to make sure that all areas in your house are well-ventilated, and air can move freely. Following this concept, you can minimize the number of air conditioners for your home.
In New Orleans, they have the old design of shotgun houses. They are narrow and small, but each side has windows so that they can cross ventilate the entire space. It’s particularly adapted to the heat and humidity of the place.
Using feng shui parlance, designers say light fixtures are best placed in ‘problem areas.’ But analyzing carefully what these problem areas are, they are basically your dark corners in the room. So, it is practical to put a light in those areas. But let us not discuss artificial lights. A smart house can rely on the sun for light the entire day. Because of this, practical designs would mean having a lot of windows.
But remember that light also translates to heat. Consequently, your windows will bring in not only light but also store heat in winters. In the wrong spot, it could increase discomfort in summers. There are so many versions as to what direction should the majority of your windows be facing. To resolve this, let us turn to practicality.
You don’t want large panes of glass in areas where there’s too much sun unless you plan to have it blocked by thick curtains—which defeats the purpose of windows. The best position then would be where the sun wouldn’t directly hit them—meaning, they would best be to the north or south. You can have them mostly unshaded during any season.
Designers have extensive explanations for putting ponds or artificial waterfalls around your house. The shortest rationale behind this is, of course, water cools off your environment. Stagnant pools are not viable because of microorganisms that would be happy to live there. Fishes in ponds aren’t only pretty, but they also clean the water and save you from some health issues by feeding on these microorganisms and insect larvae.
If you could afford to have a pond constructed in your home, make sure you are willing to invest time and effort in its installation. Other than keeping a worksite safe by telling your construction workers to wear helmets, brief them properly about the pond’s right depth and flow. You can again consult a feng shui expert and listen to their explanations on the pond’s effect on the flow of your wealth, but what is sure is you need to check these details because it would affect the build-up of algae in your pond in the long run.
With all these ideas that take inspiration from feng shui, you can get your renovation project off to a great start. More importantly, doing so brings you a step closer to creating a smart and sustainable home.