This industry is growing at a rate of 9.2 per cent in our country as against the world's average of 5.5 per cent. By the year 2050, residential, institutional and commercial buildings are expected to consume as much as 38 per cent of global energy production and to release about 3,800 megatons of carbon in the atmosphere.
This kind of GHG emission would be disastrous for future generations as the non-renewable resources are on the verge of extinction.
The only solution in sight seems to be - "Going Green".
Green building is the way forward. The question is not of costs or technology. It is about creating public awareness about the benefits of green buildings, as builders do not normally pay for the operating costs of these buildings. ECBC code for buildings must become mandatory.
In simple words, a green building is the one which uses less water, optimizes energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building. Sustainability is the need of the hour. The general perception is 'adopting green design is expensive and can pinch our pockets, compared to a conventional building. But this is just a perception. A green built home will hold its price over the long run, with green houses being evaluated for 10-20 per cent higher values than similar conventional homes. Such homes help save a lot in terms of lighting, heating/cooling and supply of potable water.
It would not be wrong to say that cost of a green building is only fractionally higher than that of a conventional building, but the overall returns are greater in terms of water and energy consumption.
Green buildings are not different, they are just built differently. Water efficiency is a major component in green building. Efficiency in water management can be achieved through rainwater harvesting, stopping leakages in pipes, dual pipelines for gray water and drinking water as in NDMC area in Delhi since 1930s, drip irrigation, growing food in wet areas and transporting food rather than water and building lined canals.
Today, India has enough water to provide each citizen over 1,820 m3 /year. It is estimated that each individual needs 1,700 m3 to cover drinking, hygiene and food requirements. This availability is expected to drop to 1,140 m3 by 2050.
A very simple way to save energy is to paint roof and west side of walls of one's house white. It will not be incorrect to say that the color of green is white. This becomes very important for India where currently 22 per cent of the population lives in urban areas and the rest in villages. It is said that two-third of India is yet to be built and this will happen in the next 20 years.
Energy efficiency is achieved through better solar orientation, tighter construction, efficient appliances and the generation of on-site electricity from renewable sources. Energy conservation techniques are enormous; one just needs to find out the right one.
Awareness through media is slowly pushing people to 'Go Green' and become more environment-
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