Making Urban India Sustainable Through Green Buildings

Introduction

Buildings, as definer of  human history, growth and development,  remain crucial for human civilisation.  Buildings remain central to all human living because 80% of human life-span is spent within four walls of  building- envelop. Modulating quality of life, buildings make human beings healthy/sick. Considering the large amount of energy and resources consumed , buildings are also considered as major polluter of environment /ecology and  generators of  large carbon footprints. Accordingly, buildings remain responsible for climate change, global warming and modulators of sustainability.

Large consumption of resources and generation of waste  in urban India, are the outcome of  the  way buildings are  being  planned, designed, constructed, operated and maintained. Making buildings sustainable is essential for preserving, protecting and making value addition to resources, environment and ecology. In addition to the current pace of construction of buildings, large addition to  the  built environment is going to be made in years to come, due to rapid and massive urbanisation, India, as a nation, is going through rapid and massive urbanisation. .McKinsey Global Institute, India Urban Awakening: Building Inclusive Cities -Report,  has estimated  that 700-900 million sqmts. of built space would be required  annually, to meet the needs of urban India. Considering the enormity of space and their implications as  consumer of energy and resources, buildings need to be planned,  constructed and operated  with utmost care and caution, with focus on   energy conservation, sustainability and resource efficiency.

GREEN BUILDINGS

Buildings known for their positivity, negativities, dualities and contradictions, not only provide space for productive living for human beings, but are also anti-thesis to the environment and ecology. Buildings constitute a complex system of designing, construction, materials, resources and environment. Revolving around seven layers during its life-cycle ( Siting , designing, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction); promoting consumption (energy, water, materials and natural resources);     impacting environment ( generating waste, air / water pollution, indoor pollution, heat islands, storm water runoff); buildings  adversely impact  human health,  environment and precious resources.

 

Table-1—Impact of Built Environment

According to World Energy Council Report, 2016, buildings consume over 45% global  energy, 30% raw materials, 25% timber harvested, 16% fresh water withdrawal, 35% of world’s CO2 emission, 40% municipal solid waste and 50% ozone depleting CFC besides promoting ‘sick building syndrome’. Considering  lifecycle cost and energy, only !0% cost& 17% energy goes into making of a building whereas remaining 90% cost/ 83% energy is used in their operation and maintenance,  involving heating, cooling, lighting and ventilating. Thus buildings offer greatest opportunity to minimize energy consumption by merely changing the manner in which buildings are planned, constructed and operated.

Looking at the entire gamut of built environment, Green Buildings emerge as the best option to make buildings sustainable and least consumers of energy and resources. Green Buildings minimize use of water, optimize energy efficiency, conserve natural resources, generate less waste and provide healthier space for occupants as compared to conventional buildings.  Green Buildings also save energy upto 50%; water consumption by 40%; reduce carbon emission by 35% ; Co2 by 8000-12000 tons and 3 MW of connected electric load / million Sqft building; besides reducing 70% waste. Green buildings not only reduce consumption of non-renewable resources but also fetch better returns from buildings. Such buildings provide financial, environmental and social benefits besides creating a win-win situation for both  owners, occupants and users through  improved productivity. Studies reveal that, ‘ Green Schools  make learning easy and  more meaningful’; ‘Green Houses makes people happy and healthy’; Green Hospitals cures patients quickly and Green Shopping Malls can increase sale / profits’. Green building may cost more up-front, but save through lower operating costs over useful life of building. Cost savings is optimised when buildings is designed as green buildings at the conceptual design phase. Potential financial benefits of improving indoor environments exceed costs by a factor of 8 and 14. Green Building practices expands/ complements building design concerns of: economy, utility, durability and comfort.

 

Defining Green Buildings

World Green Building Council has defined Green Building as a, “Building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources, improve quality of life. It includes following features;

  • Using efficiently energy, water and other resources
  • Using renewable energy including solar energy
  • Reducing pollution and waste, involving re-use and recycling
  • Promoting good indoor environmental air quality
  • Using non-toxic waste based sustainable materials
  • Valuing environment as integral part of design, construction and operation
  • Ensuring quality of life for occupants
  • Evolving design, that responds positively  to  changing environment

Designing Green Buildings

While principles for building green remain universal but  designing  green buildings will vary from region to region and within regions, depending upon  prevailing climate, site conditions, cultures, traditions, available materials, construction practices and bui lding typology besides environmental, economic and social priorities. Buildings shall continue to be consumers of energy but a green building  not only minimise the use of such resources but also replaces the conventional resources with resources, which are available in abundance and remain regenerative universally. Basic approach to green buildings shall revolve around designing with nature, making best use of natural resources and adopting  integrated approach to design. While Planning with nature would essentially involve, making optimum use of Panchbhutas- Prithvi (site), Agni( energy), Jal (water), Vayu (air) and Aakash (Space), for meeting the basic needs of energy and resources for buildings,  Integrated approach to building design would essentially revolve around, respecting site , rationalising site planning, rationalising built form, lowering  surface to volume ratio;  promoting building efficiency, evolving  efficient structural design; adopting  solar passive techniques, using energy efficient equipment, controlling lighting, heating, ventilation; using solar energy/air movement, reducing  transportation, minimising waste, using local materials in natural form, optimising landscaping etc. Orientation will remain determinant for optimising nature and natural resources and accordingly, will be effectively leveraged  in  design solutions to modulate heat gain/loss and evolve energy efficient building  envelop. Since requirements of building design would vary, accordingly, buildings with regard to climate, sun and wind will have to be oriented differently in different regions. For ensuring buildings to make best use of solar and wind energy, essential would be that majority of sites should have advantage of best orientation. Accordingly, town planner’s role would be important role to ensure that maximum number of plots have best orientation, to enable Architects to evolve a sustainable and energy efficient design of building. Rationalising site planning would involve that entire built up area shall have  benefit of natural light during the day. This would be particularly critical in case of row housing, where plots have the option to draw light only from front and rear. For making buildings energy efficient, they must be designed to conform to the norms and standards defined by the Indian Green Building Council for green buildings.

MANAGING  ENERGY

Considering the lifecycle operations, building consume two types of energy – embodied (which goes into their making) and energy used in various operations & maintenance(HVAC, lighting) during the useful existing of buildings. Only20% energy is used during construction whereas O&M operations involve rest of 80%  energy.  Accordingly, for making buildings energy efficient, both embodied and operational energy components will need reduction. Reducing embodied energy will essentially require; optimizing various systems; reducing structural loads; using low-energy construction technologies; creating resilient and flexible structures; using local/natural/low energy materials, in natural form including debris etc. Properly orienting buildings and adopting passive/climate responsive design strategies; placing habitable rooms in  best orientation for harvesting optimum heat and light; sourcing natural light, proper positioning of windows, avoiding glare, using minimal glass on east/ west, applying light colours for roofing / wall finish materials, installing high R-value wall/ ceiling insulation; go a long way in reducing operational energy demand of buildings. Using properly sized / energy-efficient and rated lighting/heating/cooling systems in a thermally efficient building shell will be pre-requisite to make buildings green. In the past, strategy has been to make buildings energy efficient, which needs to be taken to the next level of zero energy buildings( SDGs) before achieving the ultimate objective of making buildings energy positive. This would need dual strategy of; minimizing energy consumption and making building net generator of on-site renewable energy from natural resources (sun, wind, bio-mass, geo-thermal). It would also involve daylight harvesting;  promoting  operational / maintenance efficiency through BMS (Building Management System); smart metering  besides  computer modelling( for optimizing design of electrical/ mechanical systems and building shell), coupled with using advanced lighting controls– motion sensors / dimmable lighting controls etc for making buildings smart  and energy efficient.

MANAGING WATER

 Having merely 4% of world’s water resources for  sup porting  17.3% of world’s population and  20% of world’s livestock (500 millions -Gangwar 2013), India remains one of the most water stressed nation globally. Despite limited availability, India uses largest amount of ground-water (24 percent of global total), more than that of China and US combined. India is the third largest exporter of groundwater–12 %  (Water-Aid).India currently ranks 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index.  According to NITI Aayog, “India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history, and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat.” Critical issue of water is, demand on supplying aquifer/sources exceeding ability to replenish it. Twenty-one Indian cities, including Delhi, are estimated to run out of groundwater, affecting million people by the next decade.

Known as elixir of life, water remains critical for both human living as well as for building construction. Buildings remain large consumers of water in its life-cycle including building operations, producing materials used in construction, curing and in their operations and maintenance. Building sector is estimated to consume 16% of total fresh water withdrawal globally. Green buildings remain highly water-efficient, reducing consumption upto 40%. Accordingly, for making construction sector water-efficient, green buildings shall be the best option. Effective water management should revolve around fourfold strategy; protecting water, conserving water, protecting water quality and reducing consumption.  Options for minimizing water consumption shall involve; adopting water-efficient construction practices. Pre-fabrication technology is known for its water efficiency which needs leveraging effectively. Strategy for multiple uses of water through dual plumbing; in-house sewage treatment; using  phytometric solution for sewage treatment; using grey water for flushing and landscaping; using water rated/efficient fixtures -ultra-low flush toilets/urinals; rationalizing landscaping; using native flora& fauna; minimizing building footprints ; providing  large porous space can lower water consumption and increase ground water recharge. The intent is to reduce the generation of waste water and potable water demand. Slow the flow, breaking water flow, creating mist by mixing air with water, are other options to reduce water consumption. From water efficiency , there is need to graduate to   zero-water buildings and ultimately water-positive buildings by promoting rainwater harvesting, ground water re-charging,  air based cooling  and  reinventing sanitation system which is not simply water based.

USING GREEN MATERIALS

Buildings consume three billion tons of raw materials annually, constituting 40 percent of total materials used globally (Roodman and Lenssen, 1995). Materials remain major determinant of embodied energy, cost, quality and maintenance of buildings besides posing serious environmental issues associated with; extraction, transportation, processing, fabrication, installation, reuse, recycling and their disposal. Considering their major implications, materials used in buildings should, promote conservation of non-renewable resources ; ensure energy conservation; minimise maintenance/replacement costs,; create healthy indoor environment; lowering costs associated with making additions/alterations  besides offering .greater design flexibility. Accordingly,  materials used in buildings should essentially be resource efficient; n atural, plentiful, renewable; energy/water efficient; environment responsive; affordable; involving minimum maintenance; recyclable; locally available; easily salvaged, furbished and remanufactured; made from industrial/agro waste and durable. Further materials should be lightweight to reduce self- load of building, involving using fewer/more durable materials and generating less waste at the end. In addition, green buildings shall involve using  state of art and innovative construction technology which are cost- effective, material efficient, speedier, energy/water efficient, safe, generators of minimum waste, using local resources, ensuring  optimum use of materials, integrating renewable and low-carbon technologies.

IMPROVING INDOOR AIR QUALITY (IAQ)

With cost, quality and time becoming important, indoor air quality, despite its critical role and importance, remains the most   neglected aspect of building design. Since human beings spent 80% of their life span within building, accordingly IAQ becomes critical for making people healthy/sick.  Good IAQ remains essential element of Green Buildings because it ensures quality in workplaces; reduces fatigue / tiredness of occupants; fosters better health and improves their work performance. IAQ becomes critical when people themselves become major source of emission. Good IAQ is known to create optimum living conditions by avoiding CO2 concentration. Poor IAQ is the product of materials/ finishes used both in interior and exterior of buildings; poor ventilation; chemical emissions; lack of natural light; smoke/dust; moistures etc. As major determinant of IAQ, materials selected should be non-toxic; having minimal chemical emissions; involve low-VOC assembly: moisture resistant and easy to maintain besides using indoor plants. Promoting good IAQ would require temperature range of 21 –

24oC, relative humidity (RH) below70%; CO2  levels < 1000ppm; exclude VOC with vapour pressures limited to  restrict the fungal/ microbial/ pathogens growth. Natural daylight/ outside views/ good landscaping / efficient ventilation are known to improve the IAQ.

CONCLUSION

Using less water, energy or natural resources, Green buildings not only reduce/eliminate negative impacts of buildings, but also positively impact environment by generating their own energy and increased bio-diversity. Globally, green buildings have capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 84 GtCO2;  energy savings of 50% and  limiting global temperature rises to 2°C by 2050 (UNEP).  Green buildings offer numerous economic/ financial benefits–lower construction costs, higher property value; increased occupancy rates/ lower operating costs for building owner. Green buildings are known to command  7% increase in value over traditional buildings; workers in green offices recording 101% increase in cognitive scores (brain function), sleeping 46 minutes more per night with increased productivity of 8%. Green Buildings remain best option for achieving global SDGs; addressing climate change; creating sustainable/thriving communities; driving economic growth ensuring environmental, economic and social benefits; minimising waste and maximising reuse ;  promoting health and wellbeing and creating win-win situation for owners, occupants, communities and nations. Considering massive urbanisation and growing needs of built environment, India must immediately put in place an effective/efficient policy framework to retrofit the existing buildings and make all new buildings net- zero carbon by 2050, on the pattern suggested by World Green Building Council, to make “Sustainable India”.

 

BIBLEOGRAPHY

  • World Green Buildings Council; What is a Green Buildings; https://www.worldgbc.org/what-green
  • Woolliams Jessica; Planning, Design and Construction Strategies For Green Buildings; British Columbia Buildings Corporation Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations; July, 2001, http://www.greenbuildingsbc.com
  • Sharpe Tim; The Role of Building Users in Achieving Sustainable Energy Futures; October 3,2012
  • https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/world-water-day-2019-water-crisis-india-
  • Dick Greg; Green Building Materials;: https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/GreenBuilding/ ; October 18, 2019
  • Asian Development Research Institute-India Water Facts-https://www.adriindia.org/adri/india_water_facts\
  • All images are sourced from Google-search; which are gratefully and thankfully acknowledged and appreciated

 

Introduction

Buildings, as definer of  human history, growth and development,  remain crucial for human civilisation.  Buildings remain central to all human living because 80% of human life-span is spent within four walls of  building- envelop. Modulating quality of life, buildings make human beings healthy/sick. Considering the large amount of energy and resources consumed , buildings are also considered as major polluter of environment /ecology and  generators of  large carbon footprints. Accordingly, buildings remain responsible for climate change, global warming and modulators of sustainability.

Large consumption of resources and generation of waste  in urban India, are the outcome of  the  way buildings are  being  planned, designed, constructed, operated and maintained. Making buildings sustainable is essential for preserving, protecting and making value addition to resources, environment and ecology. In addition to the current pace of construction of buildings, large addition to  the  built environment is going to be made in years to come, due to rapid and massive urbanisation, India, as a nation, is going through rapid and massive urbanisation. .McKinsey Global Institute, India Urban Awakening: Building Inclusive Cities -Report,  has estimated  that 700-900 million sqmts. of built space would be required  annually, to meet the needs of urban India. Considering the enormity of space and their implications as  consumer of energy and resources, buildings need to be planned,  constructed and operated  with utmost care and caution, with focus on   energy conservation, sustainability and resource efficiency.

GREEN BUILDINGS

Buildings known for their positivity, negativities, dualities and contradictions, not only provide space for productive living for human beings, but are also anti-thesis to the environment and ecology. Buildings constitute a complex system of designing, construction, materials, resources and environment. Revolving around seven layers during its life-cycle ( Siting , designing, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction); promoting consumption (energy, water, materials and natural resources);     impacting environment ( generating waste, air / water pollution, indoor pollution, heat islands, storm water runoff); buildings  adversely impact  human health,  environment and precious resources.

 

Table-1—Impact of Built Environment

According to World Energy Council Report, 2016, buildings consume over 45% global  energy, 30% raw materials, 25% timber harvested, 16% fresh water withdrawal, 35% of world’s CO2 emission, 40% municipal solid waste and 50% ozone depleting CFC besides promoting ‘sick building syndrome’. Considering  lifecycle cost and energy, only !0% cost& 17% energy goes into making of a building whereas remaining 90% cost/ 83% energy is used in their operation and maintenance,  involving heating, cooling, lighting and ventilating. Thus buildings offer greatest opportunity to minimize energy consumption by merely changing the manner in which buildings are planned, constructed and operated.

Looking at the entire gamut of built environment, Green Buildings emerge as the best option to make buildings sustainable and least consumers of energy and resources. Green Buildings minimize use of water, optimize energy efficiency, conserve natural resources, generate less waste and provide healthier space for occupants as compared to conventional buildings.  Green Buildings also save energy upto 50%; water consumption by 40%; reduce carbon emission by 35% ; Co2 by 8000-12000 tons and 3 MW of connected electric load / million Sqft building; besides reducing 70% waste. Green buildings not only reduce consumption of non-renewable resources but also fetch better returns from buildings. Such buildings provide financial, environmental and social benefits besides creating a win-win situation for both  owners, occupants and users through  improved productivity. Studies reveal that, ‘ Green Schools  make learning easy and  more meaningful’; ‘Green Houses makes people happy and healthy’; Green Hospitals cures patients quickly and Green Shopping Malls can increase sale / profits’. Green building may cost more up-front, but save through lower operating costs over useful life of building. Cost savings is optimised when buildings is designed as green buildings at the conceptual design phase. Potential financial benefits of improving indoor environments exceed costs by a factor of 8 and 14. Green Building practices expands/ complements building design concerns of: economy, utility, durability and comfort.

 

DeFINing Green Buildings

World Green Building Council has defined Green Building as a, “Building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources, improve quality of life. It includes following features;

  • Using efficiently energy, water and other resources
  • Using renewable energy including solar energy
  • Reducing pollution and waste, involving re-use and recycling
  • Promoting good indoor environmental air quality
  • Using non-toxic waste based sustainable materials
  • Valuing environment as integral part of design, construction and operation
  • Ensuring quality of life for occupants
  • Evolving design, that responds positively  to  changing environment

DeSIGNing Green Buildings

While principles for building green remain universal but  designing  green buildings will vary from region to region and within regions, depending upon  prevailing climate, site conditions, cultures, traditions, available materials, construction practices and bui lding typology besides environmental, economic and social priorities. Buildings shall continue to be consumers of energy but a green building  not only minimise the use of such resources but also replaces the conventional resources with resources, which are available in abundance and remain regenerative universally. Basic approach to green buildings shall revolve around designing with nature, making best use of natural resources and adopting  integrated approach to design. While Planning with nature would essentially involve, making optimum use of Panchbhutas- Prithvi (site), Agni( energy), Jal (water), Vayu (air) and Aakash (Space), for meeting the basic needs of energy and resources for buildings,  Integrated approach to building design would essentially revolve around, respecting site , rationalising site planning, rationalising built form, lowering  surface to volume ratio;  promoting building efficiency, evolving  efficient structural design; adopting  solar passive techniques, using energy efficient equipment, controlling lighting, heating, ventilation; using solar energy/air movement, reducing  transportation, minimising waste, using local materials in natural form, optimising landscaping etc. Orientation will remain determinant for optimising nature and natural resources and accordingly, will be effectively leveraged  in  design solutions to modulate heat gain/loss and evolve energy efficient building  envelop. Since requirements of building design would vary, accordingly, buildings with regard to climate, sun and wind will have to be oriented differently in different regions. For ensuring buildings to make best use of solar and wind energy, essential would be that majority of sites should have advantage of best orientation. Accordingly, town planner’s role would be important role to ensure that maximum number of plots have best orientation, to enable Architects to evolve a sustainable and energy efficient design of building. Rationalising site planning would involve that entire built up area shall have  benefit of natural light during the day. This would be particularly critical in case of row housing, where plots have the option to draw light only from front and rear. For making buildings energy efficient, they must be designed to conform to the norms and standards defined by the Indian Green Building Council for green buildings.

MANAGING  ENERGY

Considering the lifecycle operations, building consume two types of energy – embodied (which goes into their making) and energy used in various operations & maintenance(HVAC, lighting) during the useful existing of buildings. Only20% energy is used during construction whereas O&M operations involve rest of 80%  energy.  Accordingly, for making buildings energy efficient, both embodied and operational energy components will need reduction. Reducing embodied energy will essentially require; optimizing various systems; reducing structural loads; using low-energy construction technologies; creating resilient and flexible structures; using local/natural/low energy materials, in natural form including debris etc. Properly orienting buildings and adopting passive/climate responsive design strategies; placing habitable rooms in  best orientation for harvesting optimum heat and light; sourcing natural light, proper positioning of windows, avoiding glare, using minimal glass on east/ west, applying light colours for roofing / wall finish materials, installing high R-value wall/ ceiling insulation; go a long way in reducing operational energy demand of buildings. Using properly sized / energy-efficient and rated lighting/heating/cooling systems in a thermally efficient building shell will be pre-requisite to make buildings green. In the past, strategy has been to make buildings energy efficient, which needs to be taken to the next level of zero energy buildings( SDGs) before achieving the ultimate objective of making buildings energy positive. This would need dual strategy of; minimizing energy consumption and making building net generator of on-site renewable energy from natural resources (sun, wind, bio-mass, geo-thermal). It would also involve daylight harvesting;  promoting  operational / maintenance efficiency through BMS (Building Management System); smart metering  besides  computer modelling( for optimizing design of electrical/ mechanical systems and building shell), coupled with using advanced lighting controls– motion sensors / dimmable lighting controls etc for making buildings smart  and energy efficient.

MANAGING WATER

 Having merely 4% of world’s water resources for  sup porting  17.3% of world’s population and  20% of world’s livestock (500 millions -Gangwar 2013), India remains one of the most water stressed nation globally. Despite limited availability, India uses largest amount of ground-water (24 percent of global total), more than that of China and US combined. India is the third largest exporter of groundwater–12 %  (Water-Aid).India currently ranks 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index.  According to NITI Aayog, “India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history, and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat.” Critical issue of water is, demand on supplying aquifer/sources exceeding ability to replenish it. Twenty-one Indian cities, including Delhi, are estimated to run out of groundwater, affecting million people by the next decade.

Known as elixir of life, water remains critical for both human living as well as for building construction. Buildings remain large consumers of water in its life-cycle including building operations, producing materials used in construction, curing and in their operations and maintenance. Building sector is estimated to consume 16% of total fresh water withdrawal globally. Green buildings remain highly water-efficient, reducing consumption upto 40%. Accordingly, for making construction sector water-efficient, green buildings shall be the best option. Effective water management should revolve around fourfold strategy; protecting water, conserving water, protecting water quality and reducing consumption.  Options for minimizing water consumption shall involve; adopting water-efficient construction practices. Pre-fabrication technology is known for its water efficiency which needs leveraging effectively. Strategy for multiple uses of water through dual plumbing; in-house sewage treatment; using  phytometric solution for sewage treatment; using grey water for flushing and landscaping; using water rated/efficient fixtures -ultra-low flush toilets/urinals; rationalizing landscaping; using native flora& fauna; minimizing building footprints ; providing  large porous space can lower water consumption and increase ground water recharge. The intent is to reduce the generation of waste water and potable water demand. Slow the flow, breaking water flow, creating mist by mixing air with water, are other options to reduce water consumption. From water efficiency , there is need to graduate to   zero-water buildings and ultimately water-positive buildings by promoting rainwater harvesting, ground water re-charging,  air based cooling  and  reinventing sanitation system which is not simply water based.

USING GREEN MATERIALS

Buildings consume three billion tons of raw materials annually, constituting 40 percent of total materials used globally (Roodman and Lenssen, 1995). Materials remain major determinant of embodied energy, cost, quality and maintenance of buildings besides posing serious environmental issues associated with; extraction, transportation, processing, fabrication, installation, reuse, recycling and their disposal. Considering their major implications, materials used in buildings should, promote conservation of non-renewable resources ; ensure energy conservation; minimise maintenance/replacement costs,; create healthy indoor environment; lowering costs associated with making additions/alterations  besides offering .greater design flexibility. Accordingly,  materials used in buildings should essentially be resource efficient; n atural, plentiful, renewable; energy/water efficient; environment responsive; affordable; involving minimum maintenance; recyclable; locally available; easily salvaged, furbished and remanufactured; made from industrial/agro waste and durable. Further materials should be lightweight to reduce self- load of building, involving using fewer/more durable materials and generating less waste at the end. In addition, green buildings shall involve using  state of art and innovative construction technology which are cost- effective, material efficient, speedier, energy/water efficient, safe, generators of minimum waste, using local resources, ensuring  optimum use of materials, integrating renewable and low-carbon technologies.

IMPROVING INDOOR AIR QUALITY (IAQ)

With cost, quality and time becoming important, indoor air quality, despite its critical role and importance, remains the most   neglected aspect of building design. Since human beings spent 80% of their life span within building, accordingly IAQ becomes critical for making people healthy/sick.  Good IAQ remains essential element of Green Buildings because it ensures quality in workplaces; reduces fatigue / tiredness of occupants; fosters better health and improves their work performance. IAQ becomes critical when people themselves become major source of emission. Good IAQ is known to create optimum living conditions by avoiding CO2 concentration. Poor IAQ is the product of materials/ finishes used both in interior and exterior of buildings; poor ventilation; chemical emissions; lack of natural light; smoke/dust; moistures etc. As major determinant of IAQ, materials selected should be non-toxic; having minimal chemical emissions; involve low-VOC assembly: moisture resistant and easy to maintain besides using indoor plants. Promoting good IAQ would require temperature range of 21 –

24oC, relative humidity (RH) below70%; CO2  levels < 1000ppm; exclude VOC with vapour pressures limited to  restrict the fungal/ microbial/ pathogens growth. Natural daylight/ outside views/ good landscaping / efficient ventilation are known to improve the IAQ.

CONCLUSION

Using less water, energy or natural resources, Green buildings not only reduce/eliminate negative impacts of buildings, but also positively impact environment by generating their own energy and increased bio-diversity. Globally, green buildings have capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 84 GtCO2;  energy savings of 50% and  limiting global temperature rises to 2°C by 2050 (UNEP).  Green buildings offer numerous economic/ financial benefits–lower construction costs, higher property value; increased occupancy rates/ lower operating costs for building owner. Green buildings are known to command  7% increase in value over traditional buildings; workers in green offices recording 101% increase in cognitive scores (brain function), sleeping 46 minutes more per night with increased productivity of 8%. Green Buildings remain best option for achieving global SDGs; addressing climate change; creating sustainable/thriving communities; driving economic growth ensuring environmental, economic and social benefits; minimising waste and maximising reuse ;  promoting health and wellbeing and creating win-win situation for owners, occupants, communities and nations. Considering massive urbanisation and growing needs of built environment, India must immediately put in place an effective/efficient policy framework to retrofit the existing buildings and make all new buildings net- zero carbon by 2050, on the pattern suggested by World Green Building Council, to make “Sustainable India”.

 

BIBLEOGRAPHY

  • World Green Buildings Council; What is a Green Buildings; https://www.worldgbc.org/what-green
  • Woolliams Jessica; Planning, Design and Construction Strategies For Green Buildings; British Columbia Buildings Corporation Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations; July, 2001, http://www.greenbuildingsbc.com
  • Sharpe Tim; The Role of Building Users in Achieving Sustainable Energy Futures; October 3,2012
  • https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/world-water-day-2019-water-crisis-india-
  • Dick Greg; Green Building Materials;: https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/GreenBuilding/ ; October 18, 2019
  • Asian Development Research Institute-India Water Facts-https://www.adriindia.org/adri/india_water_facts\
  • All images are sourced from Google-search; which are gratefully and thankfully acknowledged and appreciated.

 

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