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To reduce a building's environmental impact, opting for sustainable building systems is the first thing to do.

Sustainability has become a catchphrase to describe our lifestyle. The concept has emerged as the ideal model for our built-up environment to meet our needs without denying the needs of future generations. To reduce a building's environmental impact, opting for sustainable building systems is the first thing to do. The goal is to encourage a holistic perspective when designing; focusing not just on what people see, but also on how it will affect the building's energy performance. The building envelope, especially the choice of a fenestration system, goes far beyond its usual framework. It impacts a building's energy use through thermal heat transfer, solar heat gain, visible transmittance, and air leakage, thus forming an important aspect of sustainable design. More than an architectural expression, fenestration systems have become a factor that determines the sustainability of buildings.

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A sustainable facade is a high-performance intelligent building system that allows daylight into the building while significantly reducing energy consumption and maintaining a comfortable indoor environment, promoting the health and needs of its occupants. The key approach is to consider climate-specific approaches in the application of such facades. Fenestrations with a low U-factor and high SHGCs (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) are preferred in cold climates to utilize solar heat and to keep heat loss to a minimum. In warm climates, products with low SHGCs offer great potential for reducing solar ingress. Windows with Low-E coatings and spectrally selective coatings are effective in lowering the heat gain and have shown a significant reduction in energy consumption and costs required for cooling. Aluminum windows, for instance, can be effective in achieving lower U-values. They not only provide excellent thermal performance and require minimal maintenance, but are durable, easy to maintain, and completely recyclable.

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Sustainable fenestration solutions at homes can easily be incorporated using double glazed windows to insulate the interior spaces, thereby reducing the overall household energy consumption. It is essential to note that high-performance windows with new technologies such as double glazing, special coatings, air-tight construction, nonconductive framing materials, etc. can account for a huge difference in creating sustainable homes. Such sustainable systems form the ideal solution to drive sustainable development by reducing the energy use in our homes. Today, fenestrations are continuously being developed into the 'fenestrations of tomorrow'. Offering a steady increase of daylight and solar energy utilization and control, fenestrations are fast becoming a necessary 'climate screen' for effectively conserving the energy of a building. (IANS/JC)



Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere.

Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.

The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:

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Pind Daan at Jagannath Ghat, Kolkata.

The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.

It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.

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Cubbon Park is a lush green garden at the heart of Bangalore

At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.

It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.

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