A very old English movie “How green was my valley" showed transformation of lives of people and the town from green to dark owing to coal mining. But
in our times where climate and ecology have become a daily point of discussion “how green is my building” is the latest mantra.
Very few of us are aware that the places we work and live in also contribute to green house gas emissions. The buildings also let out emissions. The
amount of energy consumed in the form of lights, air-conditioning, water usage, besides the materials used are also contributors along with burning of fossil fuels.
The building sector is the third largest consumer of energy after industry and agriculture. Hence, this sector needs to play a proactive part in energy
conservation. Therefore more buildings need to go green in the future.
Most of the existing buildings are not environment friendly and their energy consumption is high. If the green buildings come into existence, the negative impact on the environment would be reduced by 40 per cent.
But what exactly is a “Green Building?” A green building is one, which depends on clean, renewable solar power for its energy. The buildings are designed
to use optimum use of natural light, use water efficiently by treating and recycling it, put up rainwater harvesting units, creating gardens on terraces to prevent formation of heat islands, landscaping to prevent soil erosion.
Apart from these the construction materials are also eco friendly. Instead of normal clay bricks, fly –ash bricks (a residue from steel mills), non-toxic materials,
paints and finishes to improve air quality, are used as resource efficient methods.
It is a surprise though, that while many consider ‘green building” a
very western concept, the number one building rated by an international agency on eco –friendliness is in India. The CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad was rated as the winner by the US Green Building Council.
The building has been designed by Vadodra based architect Karan Grover. The building is so revolutionary that the council had to upgrade its rating system to recognize its unique features. The India Green Building Council here too got around 100 buildings
to go green. The ONGC office in south Delhi might just be the first one to go green. Delhi Transco limited and The Thyagraj sports complex would follow the code and be ready and functioning by 2010.
The Union Government along with TERI (the Energy and Research Institute ) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding where by the builders can adopt
greener construction of residences and commercial buildings.
Although this would be on voluntary basis, top builders like Omaxe and DLF have assured the ministry of implementing the system. The adoption of green technology by the builders
could get them incentives like preferences in land allocation and tax rebates.
Adopting green building practices could open up new opportunities from construction industry, architects, materials and equipment manufacturers.
Finally, it is hard work and determination in equal measures, that can achieve quantum leaps for humanity!