Sunday, October 9, 2016

Roofing Tiles-Sinhala Ulu, Rata Ulu and Mati Olu

Roofing Tiles-Sinhala Ulu, Rata Ulu and Mati Olu

Every time, I see an average American and an average Ceylonese I hit upon an idea to write.
Never a writer's block but one has to be a simple observer.
This is about global warming in a nutshell and how to overcome the heat.
How we changed from Sinhala Ulu to Asbestos to Mati Olu is intriguing!
Our ancient architects were very clever.

We had high roofs and Sinhala Ulu on top.
Ceylonese always love anything coming from outside world, even a chicken flu and a headache caught in an outside country is an achievement to brag about.
We invested on Rata Ulu and changed all our new houses to this new glossy trend.
As a kid we had to move from place to place every four years (starting from British time) due to my father's government service transfers.
I had been to few places (which I hated as a kid) and one of these places outside Kandy had an New Rara Ulu or new roof tile factory and a brick factory.
It was well away from our residence but its burning smell could be felt miles away.
We moved to this place since doctors and had advised that Kandy (wrong advice, I was just growing up) was no good for me.

Now of course, I say Kandy is no good for anybody with worst atmospheric pollution in the entire country when the rain fails.

I did not get any better but we moved back to Kandy.
I now consider living near to any factory including asbestos is not good for anybody.
Coming back to the tile industry, Sinhala Ulu gradually disappeared from general use ultimately we ended up with Tin (Takaran) and asbestos roofs which are very hot with global warming hitting our top directly.

Now to the American and their tiring tiling efforts in 1970s.
Way back in 1970s American built their Embassy in Colpitty, facing the sea.
Their roofing was covered with Rata Ulu and they could not bear the heat on top floors.
So they got American engineers to make a feasible alteration to the roofing.

They tried their but best they could not figure out a way for cooling.

Finally, they sought advice from our engineers and one of them who had done some air flow mechanics of Sinhala Ulu suggested, they cover the top with Sinhala Ulu and that did the trick in (air conditioning was not a vogue then) early 1970s.

The Sinhala Ulu arrangement makes the warm air to flow up and cool air to come down keeping the roof and house cool enough for a tropical country.

Back then our engineers were good enough to advice Americans.

Now our engineers get advice from Chinese how to do shoddy work like in Coal Power plants and plunder government coffers.
It looks like all of us have to go for air conditioning and with the next budget with all the tariffs including electricity going up we might have to crack our Sinhala Olu or nuts and put some ice inside them.

But my suggestion is to go back to the drawing board and redefine the Sinhala Ulu to be on top of our Mati Olu or over the asbestos roofing.
When looked down from our house I can see many houses with coloured iron roofing.
I suppose their nuts are hard and protected.

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