Sustainable Construction and Green Building: How Important They Are?
Of late, it has become fashionable for many architects and designers to say they are totally into sustainable construction and green building. But what do these two terms really mean? How important they are?
Well, sustainable construction is a type of construction that, thanks to its special construction and features, can maintain or make the quality of life of the environment better in which it is situated. And, green building is a type of building that helps cut down negative effects on the natural surroundings by using comparatively less water, energy, and other precious natural resources; using renewable energy sources and eco-friendly materials, and cutting down emissions and other kinds of waste.
No wonder, sustainable green buildings are considered very important and the need of today--and why not? Our resources are fairly limited and we can’t waste them for building, or for that matter, for any other purposes recklessly.
For example, as per an observation by a well-known architect-designer, the amount of water which is consumed by a city, like Bengaluru, for construction, is so high that we can feed the entire city of Bengaluru for three months. By using dry walls and building materials which are more chemical-based than water-based we can save a lot of water—one of our most precious resources.
So, we need to use our natural resources wisely and also reuse them whenever possible to leave a better world for our kids. Yes, it’s our moral responsibility that we give a better world to our kids and grandchildren! The world that we got was borrowed from our kids and grandchildren!
Besides resource consumption, the focus should also be on the well-being of the occupants. The good thing is that today we are seeing a lot of demand for healthy building materials. Now we are moving from non-green to green building materials.
According to another well-known architect and designer, who is an expert in designing green and sustainable buildings, the buildings should be designed as a positive insert into the ecosystem. For a green building, the products used should be a part of the ecosystem. One should get materials from under your feet--not far away from the place of construction.
To know more and understand the terms and their importance in today’s scenario, recently, the Building Material Reporter (BMR) team met with some other distinguished architects and designers and sought their views on green buildings, sustainable construction, the reuse of natural resources, and also the role of technology in green building construction, etc.
• George John, Director, RCArchitecture
Any architecture which is good and well thought out and in tune with climate and flow of land is bound to be good and sustainable architecture. Only when the building isn’t designed properly, do you need artificial means of energy pumping into the particular building. A building which is designed properly has good architecture and is sustainable. The good news is that the concepts of green and sustainable buildings have become popular and designers and architects are doing better buildings.
• Fancy George, the CEO, Thomas Workplace Design
We have very limited resources on the earth. We need to reuse them as much as possible and not throw them away. By reusing the various already used building materials, you can save up to 2/3rd of the costs. Let’s take, for example, electrical fittings! You don’t have to change the entire system and fittings if they are in working condition. All you may have to do is replace CFL light bulbs with (let’s say) LED light bulbs as the latter today are the most efficient light bulbs available in the market. The point is why change something just for the sake of it? For a recent project, we used 60-70% of our previous materials. As architects, we need to focus more on carbon-negative works.
• Dr Sujit Kumar, Chief Architect & MD, klimArt Pvt. Ltd
The intellectual media doesn’t understand the ethos of architecture from the perspectives of practices that drive technology, practices that drive sustainability, and the practices that drive building science. KlimArt is the art of designing with climate and nature sensible architecture, sustainable architecture, and responsible architecture. Earth has limited resources. When you take more, you kill Mother Earth. When you give something to it, you sustain Mother Earth. The day when we realize that what we take out is less than what we give back there will be sustainability all around.
• Michael Gransitzki, Executive, Mancala Construction Solutions
In the rural context, it’s very difficult to integrate technology and rather than focusing on high-end technology available out there we should start focusing on the basic technology in the rural and hilly areas. Today, we are focusing a lot on the building materials that we use but we should focus more on climate-appropriate design. We have built one of the largest roof structures in South India that’s super sustainable; it replaces concrete and even steel.