The 21st century, where the world is at its peak of modernism; reaching this point has caused immense destruction of a lot of resources, mostly non-renewable ones, and mankind is suffering today despite all the luxuries. Why? Simply because we are falling short of resources to run these luxuries. With each passing day, the poor are suffering more at the cost of the rich consuming every bit of energy with negligence, without considering the needs of others or even the generations to come. The architects that gave architecture its importance, indulged in iconic structures with very little attention to sustainability and green construction. It is only after it was too late that this generation of architects has resolved to make the world a greener place to reside in.
What is sustainable architecture?
Sustainable architecture is the ability of a building to suffice its own needs and if possible cater to the needs of a few others in the vicinity. It incorporates a design that is environmentally friendly and is built to fit perfectly in the context. Sustainable buildings are planned in a way that they cause the least possible impact on the surrounding landscape and the materials of construction are such that they will give back to the earth. Sustainability should be adopted as a lifestyle.
With growing technology and innovations, architects have a huge scope of creating wonders but must never give up the concept of going green. Dynamic-ism and sustainability can and should go hand in hand. Sustainable buildings are not synonymous with boring buildings. A simple 3 storied apartment building with a simple block plan that is not very pleasing to the eye may not even be sustainable but a building that does not stick to the ordinary, something like a “Zaha Hadid structure” may be a wholesome building that sustains itself.
India today, is one of the major contributors to developing green technology in the building industry. Being a country of brilliant minds, it wasn’t difficult to detect the problem and come up with relevant economical solutions. However, much like the European Govt. India too must come up with a law that does not allow the construction if it does not suffice the Green norms. Starting with baby steps, like introducing solar panels in, placement of windows to maximize daylighting, using appropriate glass for the windows for proper insulation, and using plants and trees through green roofs, rain gardens and reduction of rainwater run-off should be implemented.
Unique experiments in design, technology, and symbolism, and integration of architecture with nature, Auroville, a township in the southern part of India is a prime example of the country on its way to sustainability. The glistening Matrimandir, a solar-powered structure that took 37 years to build. In recent times, architecture has come up to become a profession that feels the need for propagandas. In times like this, Auroville has become a concept. A town that houses only 3100 residents, it is self-sufficient and self-sustainable and stays closer to mother earth and creates a life where dependence on anything artificial is not an option. Simple materials, simple technology, and above all minimal design elements are what bring out the true essence of architecture. Staying true to its surroundings.
However, on the other hand, in the name of “Smart City,” is India trying to replicate glass façade buildings, suitable for the climate of a few western countries, and that has absolutely no element of sustainability in a sub-tropical country like India? It is an important matter and needs serious consideration. Almost 14 lakh houses in India have chosen to go for a ‘green building’ tag which amounts to about 6.33 billion sq ft. These numbers sound massive but constitute merely 5% of the total residential properties present in the country. India today has an ambitious target of having a 10 billion sq ft green building footprint by 2022. It is expected to increase the green footprint by around 10%, a slow process but a steady one. India is ranked third after China and Canada, with more than 752 LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects. This is as per the LEED annual top 10 countries and regions, announced by USGBC (US Green Building Council). “If we could increase the green homes coverage to 10%, it will be good for the Indian environment. It is important to have hospitals, schools, and all other buildings having a green base. India needs a green revolution to ensure that the impact of pollution is mitigated.”- V Suresh, chairman of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and former CMD, HUDCO.
With all this in mind, there is also an upper-hand of business potential. IGBC estimates the market potential for green building products and technologies to be about USD 300 billion by 2025 and there is a growing acceptance and demand for green homes. Builders and buyers are keen to know about the upcoming and existing green technology. ”Large companies such as Amazon, Google, and others, demand green features before leasing out properties. Homebuyers are also asking for green features before buying new homes. The demand for green homes is rising every day,” -.”- V Suresh, chairman of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)
Homebuyers today have started demanding green features in products apart from the regular criteria for selection of products such as quality, cost, etc. State Governments, including West Bengal, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra (Pune) are offering additional Floor Area Ratio (FAR) ranging from 5 to 15% for IGBC silver, gold, and platinum rated projects.
We might not be the benchmark but the striving is high. Along with this, “make in India,” another fabulous initiative is enabling more and more people to contribute to boosting the Indian economy with unique and successful ideations. India is surely on the path to being a greener place to live in.