What does the word ‘Sustainable’ really mean?                                      Exact meaning: able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

In terms of Architecture: To minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by its efficiency.

As we all know the role of Architect is not only in designing and learning about buildings, but also responsible for how the building survives the aftermath. One can clearly list the construction methods to build a sustainable building. Such as

A building can be made sustainable in two ways say:

  • Pre-construction
  • Post-construction

The pre-construction techniques are mostly established in few parts of the cities and it is being followed by the Architects who truly believe that leading a sustainable life will do well for them as well as the environment they live in. But it requires certain experiments and research on how does it work. Majorly the sustainability of a building can be evaluated in terms of its materials, energy, and waste.

Materials

The Materials mentioned here refers to the building materials that are used as a raw material in the construction as well as the finishing materials. Starting from scratch, a building can be made sustainable as much as possible.

Such as…

Construction waste :

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Using Construction waste for the Foundation.

Compressed Earth Blocks :

Since these bricks can be easily customized and manufactured out of the materials that are available on-site and can be sunburnt, they require a minimal amount of energy compared to the conventional bricks used. The raw material can either be mud, Hemp or other easily available and energy-efficient building materials.

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Composition of Hemp Crete

There are similar such materials which require some experiments and research to be used in the conventional building constructed.

Energy

These two terms refer to the techniques which are to be followed after the building is constructed and about to be used. One of the major difficulties we find in our lives is to save energy as much as possible. And also to reuse the waste that is produced in a day- to – day process.

In order to use a minimal amount of energy, there are few ways.

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Solar panels
  1. Solar panels are one of the best ways to save electricity in India. At the same time, nowadays electrically charged vehicles are much better than the vehicles that run on fuels.
  2. To minimize the use of lights during the daytime. This is one of the common mistakes we can experience on a daily basis, which can be easily negotiated if space is treated well. Though a space has minimal opening it can be utilized in a proper way if the opening is designed proportionate to space.
  3. Through minimizing the use of fuels during the production of raw materials used for the building e.g. burnt bricks use much more energy than the sunburnt bricks.
  4. By using the local materials available, one can minimize the energy of transportation used in the construction.
  5. The electrical appliances used in a house are very much important, such that they’re energy-efficient ones such as usage of Compact Fluorescent Bulbs ( CFL ) Instead of Incandescent light bulbs. Switching off the electrical appliances when not in use is one of the best and responsible ways to save energy.

Waste

Treating waste from the products that are used on a daily basis requires a few simple steps that can create a huge impact on the environment.

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The 3 ‘R’ s

As a responsibility of an individual in a society, it is very important on how we treat the waste that is produced in our respective habitat. It can be anything and everything we use. From the building materials to the simple toothbrush we use will reach the earth someday. So, it is necessary to know the properties of the materials and then use them.

Though, the officials are taking measures regarding few materials. It is ‘Us’ who must take responsibility for minimizing the use of harmful products.

Treating wastewater such as collecting the rainwater and reusing it wherever possible and minimal usage of water such as installing water-saving appliances in the kitchen and bathroom are some solutions that can be followed to lead a better sustainable life.

Major waste that is produced in the home can be segregated as follows.

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Segregation of wastes

Kitchen waste can be treated at home by using it as a natural fertilizer for the plants. The kitchen garden is one of the best ways to maintain the air quality inside the house, and also helps in harvesting own vegetables if maintained properly. Other dry waste can be re-used or usage of harmful products can be avoided in order to avoid future complications.

Starting from an individual, following these processes can create a huge impact both personally and publically. It can be a challenge to design and build a completely sustainable home, but making a home sustainable after the construction can reduce 80 % of the risks. Though these issues may seem irrelevant now, they all are connected in one aspect of attaining the earth and then the atmosphere one day.

As a responsible individual, one must be aware of the issues and consequences that a material can cause and must act wisely. Nothing is difficult unless and otherwise they are tried, used and followed.

Amodini Allu
Author

Amodini an amateur enthusiast, who is an Architect by day and an observer as a whole pushes her limits to explore herself as an artist and relating her works with Architecture. She truly believes that studying Architecture has laid her a basic platform to try every possible things to exhibit her works.

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