By Pallavii Pitale
Though not a Media fad, the concept of green buildings is definitely a fashion statement who care for and love our planet Earth. Everyone now a days is aware about the importance of saving energy, water and other precious resources existing on the earth. As the global warming has given a global warning to every one, more efforts are required for not only creating certain amount of green structures but to create maximum awareness about the issue amongst the people. More Eco- friendly materials and Sustainable structural Designs are the need of the hour for the survival of Every one and the future generations to come on the planet.
Buildings play a critical role in our life. We spend more than 75% of our total life in buildings, it is important to design, built and operate within the building from a sustainable point of view.
One needs to be clear about the functionality of a green building. It should be sustainable in every possible way. That includes not only the green features of the building but also the area around, the community around and the transportation to the place also should be based on the green concepts.
since ages, India always had sustainable living style. It had a better technology than the western countries too. But due to western influence on everything, people switched over to practices and life styles that are not so green. Time has come now to adopt it as a part of the system and not merely a concern.
Today’s cities must bear a maximum responsibility towards the fact that they consume more than 75% of the world energy and produce almost 80% of green house gases and other environment polluting substances. The amount of solid waste created by the cities is also in tremendous amounts and there are hardly any areas now left to dump all this waste.
As far as Indian Scenario is concerned, a recent survey has reveiled that almost 40% of the Indian population shall stay in cities within the next couple of decades. The growth of the Indian economy is based on various industries and services that requires lots of energy consumption. The ever growing demand for energy and urbanization is putting a whole lot of stress on our planet and it’s resources.
In South India, especially, people have preserved their heritage and haven’t followed the western countries blindly. In spite of adopting the new technology in construction and materials, they have maintained the old concepts and practices which is definitely a winning situation as far as Green Architecture is concerned.
A green building must reduce – it’s total energy consumption. For reducing energy consumption, good insulation techniques must be incorporated within the structure. With good insulating systems, building consumes less electricity for air conditioning thereby avoiding the chances of more consumption of the energy. Also provision of openings as per the sun and wind direction helps reduce stress on the electricity. More use of open / shady / semi shady spaces and curtain walling also helps reduce the energy consumption on a greater extent.
Conservation of water along with it’s reuse and recycling must be adopted in the buildings. This practice requires techniques of rain water harvesting, treating waste water and reusing it for flushing and gardening purpose etc.
Green buildings offer a huge financial benefit to it’s users in the long run by reducing energy requirement of the structure and thereby causing huge saving on the energy costs though initially it may be a little more than usual. These days , the payback period has reduced as less as two to three years compared to the earlier green buildings which was for ten years..
The biggest challenge for the concept is the non availability of local green products and materials. Many of them are imported which results in higher costs forming an impression of an ‘expensive affair’ about the green buildings. But the scene is changing slowly as there are a few green products available locally.
A green concept does not mean a compromise on aesthetics or functional aspects. There is no loss of quality or performance in these structures. On the other hand it is far more better than the conventional structures. The green features add to the benefits of occupants in two ways. Monetarily and health wise. The green building definitely needs to be planned from the beginning instead of incorporating the features at a later or after the completion stage.
The colour ,green, is also necessary for relaxation of mind, for coolness and tranquility. So planting more trees and creating greener out doors and lanscaped spaces are important as they not only reduce the mind stress but also helps reducing the temparatures around.
The Green development is still in a nascent stage in India. Though the use of Solar photo voltaics along with other solar energy systems and other renewable energy systems and equipments have been used more often in rural as well as some parts of Urban India. The use of LED lights has been increasing in most parts of Urban India.
A trend known as Retrofitting is also more popular with more people. Adopting the same is all about conventional buildings to be turned into green buildings.
The forthcoming years will see more and more green buildings coming up in the commercial sector. The chances are few for residential ones but if planned right from the beginning, even this sector can conserve a lots of water and energy along with solid waste management.
The change can not be expected immediately though can be brought out by changing the approach and attitude of the people by creating awareness in the community as well as in the society on the most concerned issue.
By Pallavii Pitale