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Learn how to have an eco-home from a green warrior

Issue: Jun 2010

Learn how to have an eco-home from a green warrior
Fly Entertainment artiste, Nadya Hatagalung, proves that she truly lives by what she believes when she embarked on her eco-home

Nadya Hatagalung is known for many things. Her exotic beauty; her cosmic rise to fame as a pioneering member of the much sought-after VJs; and, of course, her elegance and sense of style that’s made her a leader and trendsetter amongst the chichi set. But there is more to this multi-hyphenate – actor, host, model, entrepreneur, humanitarian, mother, and wife. Nadya is also an eco warrior so committed to the green cause that she has built herself an eco-home.

“When we decided to build our own family home, we knew it had to reflect our philosophies in life and as it was such a huge undertaking we had to be responsible for the choices we made,” said Nadya.

Making a Choice for the Next Generation

Nadya, who is married to former national swimmer and now banker, Desmond Koh, is mother to three children – Tyrone, sixteen; Finn, seven and Nyla, two and they have been a big reason for her green advocacy.

“When I think of the world that they have to grow up in, it worries me and keeps me going,” said Nadya.

For the Kohs, being green is largely a family affair. Having seen her work on her own line of eco-centric jewelry, her eco-website (GreenKampong.com) and her championing the green cause as the Earth Hour Ambassador, the idea of an eco-home did little to surprise her clan.

“We live this way in our day-to-day lives, so it was no big surprise for the kids that we chose to build our home in such a manner. The only thing that has surprised them I think, is that it has taken so long to complete!” she mused.

Green Technology – The New Frontier

Turning an old house into an eco-friendly one took commitment, creativity and perseverance.

No more burning eyes, odour and bleached hair or skin when you swim in this chemical-free pool

It has been three years in the making but her two-storey, eco-friendly semi-detached is finally ready. The house now stands as a testament of what green technology can do.

Instead of an electric heating system, water for the kitchen, bathroom and laundry is heated through thermal heating which uses natural heat, reducing electricity bills. Energy efficiency is also achieved by using gas for cooking and the clothes dryer.

Nadya’s swimming pool is filled with mineral water using NASA technology where silver and copper ions are electronically released into the water to destroy the bacteria rather than chemicals which produce by-products that are harmful to the environment and potentially harmful to health. The system is also energy and cost efficient because ion generators use very low power and the ions produced are not affected by heat or sunlight providing a very stable, sanitising residual so the water remains cleaner for longer.

“The amount of new technology that is both affordable and readily available in the market now is really quite exciting. The sourcing of the eco technologies for the house has been led primarily by me. It required mostly a hunger for more information and a lot of involvement. But, for me, that was the enjoyable part,” admitted Nadya.

Getting the Right Material Can Make All the Difference

Natural materials like the wooden flooring here are used throughout Nadya’s house

Another way you can create a green home is through the use of eco-friendly material that does not affect the environment nor contribute to the depletion of the Earth resources. This means keeping it as natural as possible and using recycled material.

Nadya chose recycled wood furniture and even rescued second-hand furniture for her new home. Part of the house is built using recovered material such as recycled timbre and metal. For her flooring, she used a special terrazzo mix which allows it to breath and keep cool, reducing the need for air-conditioning. The upper floors of her house are covered with coconut wood culled from trees that no longer produce fruit and is Green Label certified. Partition boards use natural gypsum, which is also Green Label Certified, as is the zero VOC (volatile organic compound that may be harmful or toxic) paint, which she selected to paint her house. Another environmentally friendly material she used is the Marine Plywood selected for the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, which are specially treated so they release lower levels of dangerous chemicals.

Throughout the house, LED lights which use less energy and last longer are used. Even the pests in her home are shown mercy. She uses a no-kill, no-poison termite solution.

Designs that Salute Nature

Everything in Nadya’s garden is edible: beans, chilli and ginger

The house is angled in such a way as to keep it out of direct sunlight which keeps the entire structure cooler. To help maintain a conducive in-door temperature, the exterior walls of her house are covered with creepers, which lend it an organic look and make it blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment. Glass panels have been built into the ceiling to allow extra light in, minimising the need for artificial lighting.

At the end of the day, Nadya hopes her home is not only her contribution to saving the Earth, but also an encouragement to others to live likewise.

“We need to think about each of our actions and what impact they have, from the way we eat, the way we shop and live, to how we guide our children. It’s a slow process, but when we all make the little adjustments, it makes all the difference.”

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