Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Green building

There is a furious debate about environmental pollution and governmental policy (existent or non existent) re this issue. I was wondering if the government has any policy re green architecture. First let me explain what is commonly meant by this terminology. Green building/green architecture impacts on the way buildings are planned, designed and constructed (better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal — the complete building life cycle)—it is the practice of increasing the efficiency of the use of resources — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment.

There is so much talk on recession hitting the US real estate but the real estate scenario in my country India is booming. I was interested in finding out if this concept Green building/green architecture exists in the vocabulary of the governments. I was pleasantly surprised. The UK has an official UK Green Building Council (GBC) which is establishing partnership between government, industry and other stakeholder groups, meaning the general public who use the buildings as residential/recreational /official sites. USEPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) does have quite a few webpages devoted to this topic which I will not be discussing now—given the current scenario.India also has a GBC and explores several new ideas. In India the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and DuPont have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the cause of green building design and certification in India. A strong industry body of 76 Indian corporate members are also engaged with TERI in this venture. As the the head of TERI's Green Building GRIHA (griha means home in Hindi) project said, "Buildings are responsible for at least 40 per cent of energy use in most countries and are major contributors to global emissions. Energy efficiency in buildings is very crucial in Indian context since construction sector is growing at a very fast pace. TERI has been in the forefront of spreading knowledge on energy efficiency in built environment over several years and this MoU shall enable spread awareness and information on - applicability of building wraps and vapour breathable radiant barriers in making of energy efficient buildings." (April 3, Economic Times, available at: economictimes.indiatimes.com/.../TERI_DuPont_ink_MoU_on_green_building_designs/articleshow).

This project explores the effective design and use of air and water barriers in the building envelope. They are also focusing on the need to have vapour breathability for the building envelope in the hot or mixed climate regions in India, where using vapour barriers could lead to moisture problems.
I’m glad the government in my country is initiating these steps and will be looking out for further steps in this direction.

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