What is sustainable living?
Sustainable living is not just a few measures here and a few policies there; it means a full-fledged committed lifestyle that promotes uses of Earth’s natural resources, minimally, as an attempt to reduce environmental damages.
A sustainable lifestyle promotes less energy consumption, reduced carbon footprint, efficient waste management and a balanced natural ecology. Sustainable living is also about practices that safeguard the interests of future generations and ensure that today’s developments don’t leave the environment with irreparable damages.
What is green building?
The definition of green building varies between countries but what remains common is that green buildings are the buildings that are developed in a manner where effective waste management is ensured at every stage, be it the construction stage or the operation of the building. Green buildings are designed to reduce the impact of developments on the environment and the human health. The development needs to use energy, water and other resources efficiently and keep the waste at minimal to be categorized as a green building. Another common aspect of green building is appropriate design to take care of the occupant’s health.
Why green building?
The construction industry is one of largest producers of demolition waste and greenhouse gases. During the construction stage a huge amount of energy gets consumed while at later stages it’s the air-conditioning systems that consume the most amount of energy. While it’s commercially viable for a developer to make arrangements of amenities like lighting systems, air-conditioning or water heating facilities for the home owners but these are also the main reasons why massive energy consumption happens in residential and commercial buildings.
In green buildings, sustainable measures are taken to recycle and reuse. The most important element of green building is energy efficiency and less carbon emissions. Green buildings are designed in a way that improves the way homes use energy, water, and materials, to keep the waste minimum; both during construction and later.
What makes a building green?
In comparison with a construction which is not green, a green building:
In recent years green building concept is gaining momentum in India; mainly promoted and backed by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). IGBC which is a part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was formed in the year 2001. The vision of the council is, "To enable a sustainable built environment for all and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025”. IGBC has an array of advisory services to provide knowledge and guidance on green developments to the industry. They are working toward awareness on energy efficiency, water management, more use of renewable energy etc. Though it remains relatively easier to implement sustainable development measures in buildings which are under construction, however, even many things can be done in the older buildings as well to use energy effectively.
IGBC has a rating system to bring together a host of sustainable practices and solutions to reduce the environmental impacts such as IGBC Green New Buildings, IGBC Green Existing Buildings, IGBC Green Homes, IGBC Green Residential Societies, IGBC Green Interiors etc.
Energy consumption in Indian buildings is going to increase multi-fold considering the growth of the commercial areas and extended residential patches in urban and semi-urban areas. Hence, it is extremely important that the awareness about green building and sustainable living increases among the policy-makers, the business industries and common men, equally. The real estate industry has a very important role to play in this context.
(Authored: 9amstories editorial)