‘Sustainable architecture “, in my opinion, isn’t a necessary term particularly. Well, why do I say, it follows here? Sustainable architecture is architecture methodology with a conscious state of mind. This means that architecture goes hand in hand with the current need of the hour. It utilizes the present resources in a way that does not deplete in the long run for future generations to come. Indeed, it should disturb the ecological well-being of the planet at large. Eventually, sustainable architecture must fulfill all the sustainable approaches into the material, technique, and design as a whole which indeed is a must, and a crucial characteristic in the architecture; or any other design fraternity for that matter.
Some of the challenges and problems faced by this are:
Preconceived notions amongst masses: it is believed that sustainability is a tough concept, to incorporate in projects. The projects, regardless of the size or scale. It is believed it is tremendously difficult to follow the sustainable path and is considered a different, unique, and uncommon arena. This is unacceptable. Sustainability is nothing but something very simple and to make the lives more efficient and a healthier choice in the long run.
Concern: well, it won’t be fair to state no one is concerned. But equally true is the statement that not everyone is taking note of it, thinking in this regard, or even bothering to understand it. Architects today are with a mindset of concerning only the materials or the built-up rather than a basic concern for the people.
Greenness and conservation: first and foremost, sustainability is not equal to the greenery you find all around. It isn’t the green patches that you provide on a campus of buildings. It has more to that. Of course, sustainability deals with flora and fauna, but to conserve them. These are a part of it and not the whole. Today, one talks about efficiency only, while the present scenario asks for conservation. Conservation of resources that are available as a boon to us. If not taken proper measures will fade off unnoticed by us.
Culture and tradition: historically evident, sustainability roots back to all the ancient built structures and the principles are widely visible. The royal forts and castles of Rajasthan, the temples of Meenakshi at Kanyakumari, Jagannathpuri temples are all epitome of rich traditions stapled with pure sustainability.
Unfortunately, today, in the bandwagon of westernizing and modernizing, these precious treasures of our own culture and the mastermind of that period are being forgotten and ignored. Ultimately leading us to drive back to those old concepts, but these from the west itself.
Quantify sustainability: we tend to complain about the ignorance faced by sustainability as a basic concept and character in architecture by society, but we need to seek the root cause of it. It is nothing but a solid framework that is yet to be proposed. To make the client understand its importance and value and to convince them, a basic measure of guidelines and its principles is mandatory
Building bye-laws: today, the building bye-laws encourage unsustainable means of architecture and construction. For instance, to increase the interior spaces or carpet areas, a reduction in the thickness of the external walls is enforced. This isn’t a good idea when thought more in the environmentally friendly context. Since this leads to a lack of heat insulation as well as promotes the use of artificial cooling. We need to reform the official policies that support sustainability.
Economic forces: people need to be educated about sustainability and its actual implementation in regular practice. They also need to understand precisely, that sustainability can be cost-effective and save money, not immediately maybe, but surely in a due period. It can be compared with investments. Today a person would invest more money into other factors like quality, state of the art materials but not care for a bigger cause that is none other than sustainability.
Path-breaking example around the world: in Singapore, while on a project the construction team implemented rainwater recycling and wastewater treatment systems to achieve a lower environmental disturbance.
The currently new and classical sustainable construction movements into architecture are proving to be of a distinctive approach, only working in the direction to see a better tomorrow. Nonetheless, neglecting and eradication all the negative aspects of the environment is the only, and ultimate goal and objective and the only motive of this entire theory. It is high time that each one understands and acts appropriately jointly for an even bigger impact, both on the nature of this planet earth, the universe, and mankind.