Construction sector is experiencing an expeditious growth, it is bound to have an impact on the environment, economy and the people. The impact on the environment due to construction does not go unnoticed – depletion and damage of the natural resources, damage to the ecosystem, global warming, temperature fluctuations, floods, erratic rainfall, droughts, ecological imbalance, landslides, pollution – air, sound, water, water table depletion, increasing carbon footprint, etc. This impact needs to be consciously controlled, monitored, minimized and mitigated before we lose what is very precious and priceless to us and to our future generations.
Sustainable construction practices, ideas, designs, choice of materials, construction techniques, strategies, etc. should be planned, integrated and implemented in building projects to minimize and mitigate environmental impact . . . For a better future!! Construction should be ‘sensitive and sensible’, and should blend and become an integral part of the existing environment. Sustainable success should become the goal of projects along with profitability and timely project completion.
Green Rating Systems
Green Rating systems by GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment), IGBC – (Indian Green Building Council), LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), GEM – Green and Eco-friendly Movement, EDGE – Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies, BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency), etc. are these councils to help and facilitate the green movement or just a feather in the hat of developers to increase the marketability of the project or a gimmick??
To build green is here to stay and not only to be on certificates. They surely are incentives to what otherwise was not giving developers an incentive to accept and adapt the green path. Building green should become the way of construction. Sustainability is part of each and every one – the creators, the visionaries, the occupants – all that is needed is stimulation, sensitivity, integrity and commitment towards the way we design, build and use.
Small Contributions – Large Impacts
‘Save Water’ – is as simple as it sounds – use of sensor based sanitary fittings, waterless urinals, aerators, dual flushes, good landscape design – apt irrigation system, using indigenous plants, proper grouping of plants, proper measuring and monitoring, use of recycled water, efficient curing during construction, rainwater harvesting, etc. This will lead to saving a lot of water. During construction air and noise pollution are major concerns – covering loose material, use of dust suppression systems, proper barricading, preserving and protecting the landscape, etc. can reduce the pollution. Waste Segregation during and post construction by occupants, treatment of the segregated waste, recycling and reuse of the waste when planned and practiced contributes to sustainability to a large extent. Use of recycled material, recyclable material, local materials, materials with low VOC, Materials with low embodied energy, less carbon footprint have several sustainable benefits. Passive design strategies adopted at the planning stage also have a large impact on the energy consumption – simple aspects such as building orientation, construction method, choice of materials, etc. Such simple and straightforward ways make a substantial and significant positive impact not only on the environment but also the economy and the users, enhancing their productivity. By way of Sustainable construction, the most tangible benefits are the energy savings could range from 20 – 30 % and water savings around 30 – 50%. The intangible benefits include enhanced air quality, excellent daylighting, health & well-being of the occupants, safety benefits and conservation of scarce national resources.
Advantages of conscious construction are Low Maintenance and Operation Cost, Energy Efficiency, Enhances Indoor Environment Quality, Water Efficiency, Better Health of occupants, Material Efficiency, Better Environment, Reduces Strain on Local Resources.
Methods and ways are simple and innumerous we need to be conscious and contribute. To be aware, accept, adapt, apply and achieve the green ways is the way forward for the sustainable success of the construction industry.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Architect, Academician and Fitness Enthusiast
Arti is a Green Building Consultant and is also a passionate academician, who has trained at some of the reputed colleges and business schools in India. She has an industry experience of almost a decade working with Architects and Developers. Project Management and Sustainable Architecture are her core areas of interest.