From Green/Smart Building to Green Region

   The world is facing multiple problems like energy crisis, global warming, depleting resource base, unsustainable living practices which in turn has led to the rethinking of our approach with design and planning of the spaces for the enhanced living standards. 
From Green/Smart Building to Green Region

Introduction

We have to evolve strategies for transition of green building to green region concept. To state where we are lacking, let’s have a look at the state of affairs in Delhi as state in an article “The previous Master Plan proposals for retention of Green Belt have not been maintained and a considerable part has already been utilised for both, planned and unplanned developments. The development taking place in the catchment area of Yamuna is also a cause of concern and there is no strong policy measures to contain it.” (Sharma, 2013)
In this direction of thinking the concept of green energy and green building design has got more attention of the people and the various public and private agencies. The ideal “green” project preserves and restores habitat that is vital for sustaining life and becomes a net producer and exporter of resources, materials, energy and water rather than being a net consumer. A green building is one whose construction and lifetime of operation assure the healthiest possible environment while representing the most efficient and least disruptive use of land, water, energy and resources. The optimum design solution is one that effectively emulates all of the natural systems and conditions of the pre-developed site – after development is complete.

What is a Green Building?

Setting Green Goals and Objectives…
   There is no debating that the human race is growing faster than the planet earth can sustain. This unsustainable growth is clearly causing certain environmental changes that need to be reversed, or at the very least, slowed down.
Optimum use of available resources and energy saving is necessary to make India superpower in 2063. We know that the resources are scarce and we cannot create energy, so the efficient use of both is necessary for sustainable development. A building is one of the factors where the resources and energy are used extensively. Buildings are responsible for a large portion of our emissions, especially in a country like India where the sector contributes significantly to GDP, is a huge employment generator, energy consumer, water consumer, wastewater and waste generator.
 Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective is that green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by efficiently using energy, water, and other resources and protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation.
 Vision- “Designing and planning for enhanced living standards and the secured future.”
Objectives-
  • Efficient use of energy, water, and other resources
  • Protect occupant health and improve employee productivity reducing waste,   pollution and environmental degradation.

Techniques for Green Building

Sustainable Site Design
Minimize urban sprawl and needless destruction of valuable land, habitat and green space, which results from inefficient low-density development. Encourage higher density urban development, urban re-development and urban renewal, and brownfield development as a means to preserve valuable green space. Preserve key environmental assets through careful examination of each site. Engage in a design and construction process that minimizes site disturbance and which values, preserves and actually restores or regenerates valuable habitat, green space and associated eco-systems that are vital to sustaining life.
Water Quality and Conservation
Preserve the existing natural water cycle and design site and building improvements such that they closely emulate the site’s natural pre-development hydrological systems. Emphasis should be placed on retention of storm water and on-site infiltration and ground water recharge using methods that closely emulate natural systems. Minimize the unnecessary and inefficient use of potable water on the site while maximizing the recycling and reuse of water, including harvested rainwater, storm water, and gray water.

Energy and Environment

Minimize adverse impacts on the environment (air, water, land, natural resources) through optimized building siting, optimized building design, material selection, and aggressive use of energy conservation measures. Resulting building performance should exceed minimum International Energy Code (IEC) compliance level by 30 to 40% or more. Maximize the use of renewable energy and other low impact energy sources.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Provide a healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environment for building occupants and visitors. Provide a building design, which affords the best possible conditions in terms of indoor air quality, ventilation and thermal comfort, access to natural ventilation and day lighting, and effective control of the acoustical environment.

Materials and Resources

Minimize the use of non-renewable construction materials and other resources such as energy and water through efficient engineering, design, planning and construction and effective recycling of construction debris. Maximize the use of recycled content materials, modern resource efficient engineered materials, and resource efficient composite type structural systems wherever possible. Maximize the use of re-usable, renewable, sustainably managed, bio-based materials. Remembering that human creativity and our abundant labor force is perhaps our most valuable renewable resource. The best solution is not necessarily the one that requires the least amount of physical work.

Green Region

When a number of green buildings are located in proximity, they would create a green region/zone, providing much healthier environment and minimize heat-island effect. The ultimate aim will then be to create many such areas, which would help the towns and cities and therefore the nation in reducing total energy requirement and also the overall global carbon footprint.
A 2009 report by the U.S. General Services Administration found 12 sustainable design of buildings cost less to operate and have excellent energy performance. In addition, occupants were more satisfied with the overall building than those in typical commercial buildings.

Indian scenario and future projections

India has the second-highest footprint of green buildings in the world. From a modest beginning of 20,000 square feet in 2001, the country now boasts of 1 billion square feet of green building area. The construction industry in India is one of the largest economic activities and is growing at an average rate of 9.5% as compared to the global average of 5%. Evidently, the green building movement is well entrenched and is poised to change the course of the construction industry. At present, the country has 1.2 billion square feet of green buildings being built or ready, and pre-certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), of which India Green Building Council (IGBC) is the Indian arm. It has another 105 million square feet of Griha-certified buildings ready or being built.
IGBC estimates that the Indian green building industry will be a Rs 6000 billion opportunity by 2015. India’s total built-up space of 25 billion square feet is expected to increase to 80 billion square feet by 2030. If it is projected further the total built up space will be 152 billion square feet by 2063. The share of green buildings in this construction boom could be as high as 20% to 30%. New cities, such as those coming up along the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), would have a substantially higher green building component.
The global environmental factors aside, I believe it is only common sense to build green in India. India is a large country with a large population and huge developmental challenges It is practically impossible for even the most efficient government machinery to supply water and electricity for 1.3 billion people. Aside from that, they cannot manage the waste generated by the people and these processes at no additional cost.
Legal Provisions
Yet green buildings are easy to design and build. Additionally, green buildings do not cost much more to build than non-green buildings, and they are not prone to political disagreement, unlike other clean development measures. These factors make building green a very attractive option for governments to pursue. So some by-laws regarding the green buildings should be incorporated in Development Control Rules so that monitoring is also possible

The Future of Green Building in India

As of 2012, there are close to 2500 buildings registered for green certification with over two billion square feet of built up space. The green building market is expected to touch Rs 30000 lakh by the end of 2012, creating thousands of jobs in the process. India’s total built-up space of 25 billion square feet is expected to increase 152 billion square feet by 2063. The share of green buildings in this construction boom could be as high as 20% to 30%. I am extremely optimistic about the future of this sector in India. Green buildings and the concept of smarter living offers tremendous opportunity for overhauling an average Indian's lifestyle.
By Shashikant Nishant Sharma
Urban Consultant Planner

References

1)    Building Green in Pennsylvania, Governor’s Green Government Council.
2)    LEED and Green Building in India: Past, Present and Future by Yusuf Turab 10 Feb 2013 23:11
3)    The Concept of Green Buildings by Malarthamil on June 5, 2009 http://truthdive.com/2009/06/05/the-concept-of-green-buildings.html
4)  True green experience, Green Building Movement in India, 4 January, 2016)
5) Sharma, S. N. (2013, October). Sustainable Development Strategies and Approaches. International Journal of Engineering & Technical Research, 1(8), 79-83.
Share on Google Plus

About Editor SNSharma

Author, Planning and Publishing Consultant
http://www.pen2print.org/