Environment and Climate Landscape Public Realm

As Mumbai Spills Over, Floodwater Creeps Closer

By VIKAS BAJAJ for the New York Times.

MUMBAI, India — As this city prepared recently to inaugurate a shiny new bridge that officials promise will ease Mumbai’s chronic traffic jams, Dilip da Cunha was peering at the underbelly of the city’s waterways and drainage systems.
Taking two visitors on a tour of the busy causeway where the city’s befouled Mithi River meets the Arabian Sea near the new bridge, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, he pointed out a small clump of trees nearby under which several men were defecating.

The trees represented one of the last remaining species of the mangroves that once dominated the ecology of Mumbai, India’s financial capital and its most populous city. Over the decades, most of the wetlands of the Mithi River estuary that were home to such trees have given way to highways, slums, office buildings and apartment towers.

While the mangroves’ retreat has provided valuable acreage for Mumbai’s growth, Mr. da Cunha, who is one half of a husband-and-wife team that recently finished an exhaustive study of the city’s landscape, said their disappearance, along with the degradation of the city’s waterways, has made the city increasingly vulnerable to flooding during the monsoons.

Environment and Climate Social Responsibility

India’s Demand on Nature Approaching Critical Limits, Report Finds

Copyrights Global Footprint Network Blog

As the world grapples with the escalating effects of the financial crisis, Global Footprint Network reported on another mounting – and unsecured – debt: a growing gap in India between the amount of natural resources the country uses and how much it has.

India now demands the biocapacity of two Indias to provide for its consumption and absorb its wastes, according to a report released by Global Footprint Network and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry). The report, India’s Ecological Footprint: A Business Perspective, was presented Monday in New Delhi to a conference that included top Indian environmental officials, leaders of Indian industry, U.S. State Department representatives and other stakeholders.

India’s Ecological Footprint – the amount of productive land and sea area required to produce the resources it consumes and absorb its waste – has doubled since 1961, according to the report. Today, the country’s total demand on biocapacity is exceeded only by the United States and China.

“India is depleting its ecological assets in support of its current economic boom and the growth of its population,” says Mr. Jamshyd N. Godrej, Chairman of the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre. “This suggests that business and government intervention are needed to reverse this risky trend, and ensure a sustainable future in which India remains economically competitive and its people can live satisfying lives.”

Environment and Climate Real Estate Social Responsibility

Green and intelligent

Through sustainable building systems that conserve environment and natural resources, developers look to offer the home buyer health, comfort and security in the long term.

By  Bijoy Ghosh

Green and intelligent buildings are fast becoming the norm as developers and buyers see concrete value in them.

Green buildings are about environment and natural resource conservation and creating an ambience that contributes to improved efficiency and human health. Intelligent buildings are about automation systems that bring in the precision of a modern factory into the office and home.

Whether it is the lights, water, electrical and electronic appliances or access to people and material — everything is automated enabling conservation and efficiency. In addition, automation brings in two invaluable features to a buyer — security and comfort.

Saluting key initiatives

It is these two concepts that the World Standards Day on October 14 brought together, under the theme ‘intelligent and sustainable buildings.’

It pays tribute to experts across the world that have, and are, collaborating within the three principal international standardisation organisations — the International Electrotechnical Commission, International Organisation for Standardisation, and the International Telecommunication Union.

These organisations develop voluntary international standards facilitating trade, spreading knowledge and disseminating technological advantages.

Environment and Climate

Green bldgs: Fuel savers or fashion statements?

There’s a new mantra among builders and they’re chanting it with the fervour of cheerleaders: green architecture. The flag bearer of

green construction is the Indian Council of Green Building (ICGB). An organisation formed by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, the ICGB is calling eco-friendly architecture a movement.

At the recently held Green Building Congress 2008, speakers from various industries tried urgently to tap into the zeitgeist of environmental concern, arguing that green construction is the only way to build without polluting. All manner of purportedly energy-efficient devices from power-saving bulbs to eco-friendly carpets were advertised. However while green construction appeals to builders and many architects, critics think it’s little more than a fashion statement.


Cities Environment and Climate Public Realm

Open Spaces for the People

For the people

Much of our experience of a city depends on its public spaces. Yet in India, citizens seem unaware that they have a right to a hospitable city. We examine some of the reasons

Himanshu Burte

We hear a lot about cities in the West competing for the loyalty of their residents. In India, we hear muted noises about the need to attract people to our cities so that investment flows in.

No one will deny that much of what people feel about a city depends on their experience of its public spaces. Are the streets safe? Are they fun to walk down? Are there lots of things to do, apart from eating in sidewalk cafes (though that is a pleasure in itself)? And yes, where will the children play?

Walk around Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata, for instance, and the answers to these questions vary in detail or nuance. But the broad problems stay the same. Unlike many Western cities and suburbs, a lot is happening in our towns and cities. In the West, the city is often empty. In India, it is bursting with activity. But there is not enough of some things (good parks, playgrounds, even simple signage and street furniture), too much of others (private vehicles), and all flow together in extremely disorganized and inefficient ways. The reality is that public space in our cities is not hospitable.

Environment and Climate Real Estate

Mumbai leads the way in Green projects

Where builders regularly flout environment rules for profit, it’s hard to believe that Mumbai is becoming an eco-friendly city. But it is true. Of the 259 buildings in the country that are waiting to get accredited as green buildings, more than 70 are from Mumbai. Five of them have already received accreditation.

A green building is one that’s made of eco-friendly construction material. It makes use of natural light and air, and has provisions for recycling of wastewater and harvesting of rainwater. Such buildings are constructed with fly-ash cement, which is strong and more eco-friendly than regular cement.

According to the Indian Council for Green Building, Chennai follows Mumbai in the list of cities waiting for accreditation of green buildings. “Green buildings are the need of the hour. We must take a note of these buildings before it’s too late,” said a spokesperson.
Two international real-estate seminars meant for green buildings are scheduled this week.

Abhinandan Lodha of the Lodha Group, which is currently constructing a commercial green building at Kanjurmarg, also believes that green buildings are necessary. “Green building will save the city and conserve energy. Most commercial projects that are coming up in the city are being built on green building concepts,” said Lodha.
Experts from the real estate industry too agree with Lodha. “Every construction should be based on green building concepts. Builders can contribute something to the city that has given them everything,” said Ajay Chaturvedi, a real estate expert.

Original article here

Environment and Climate Events

Indian Green Building Congress 2008

The Indian Green Building Council of Cll – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre announces its flagship event "Green Building Congress 2008", International Conference & Exhibition on Green Building Technologies between 24 & 27 September 2008 at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai

The main congress consists of a series of parallel events.

International Conference on Green Buildings: 24 – 25 September 2008

Seminar on Green Homes: 26 September 2008

Exhibition on Green Building Products: 24 – 26 September 2008

Training Program on Green Building Rating Systems 23 & 27 September 2008

Green Building Tours: 23 & 27 September 2008

Some of the key speakers at the Green Homes conference are

  • Mr Kevin Hydes, Chair, WGBC & Immediate Past Chair. U.S. Green Building Council
  • Mr Rick Fedrizzl, President. CEO & Founding Chairman. US Green Building Council
  • Mr Tom Hicks. Vice President, US Green Building Council
  • Mr Harvey M Bernstein, Vice President-Industry Analytics Alliances & Strategic Initiatives. McGraw Hill Construction
  • Dr Kath Williams, Past President. World Green Building Council & Principal. Kath Williams + Associates
  • Mr Robert Watson, Chairman. Amencan Indotech, USA
  • Mr Karan Grover, Architect. Karan Grover & Associates
  • Ar Sharukh Mistry, Partner, Mistry Architects
  • Mr Bill Gregory, Director, Sustainable Initiatives, Milllken Design Center

More information on their website.

Cities Environment and Climate Infrastructure

Freedom Park in Bangalore Set to Open in November

A vital green space to beat the city centre rush, topped with a slice of history. On offer is a unique experience, as the BBMP gets ready to open the long-in-the-wait Freedom Park to the public in November, this year.

The 20-acre park, coming up in the former central prison premises on Seshadri Road, has had a long drawn record, ever since plans for the park were finalized as early as in 2002. According to the BBMP officials, delays in awarding contracts have been a key reason for the slackened pace of progress. With the run-up to the launch gathering steam, it’s time to look ahead.

It’s business as usual at the construction site. Labourers are busy completing the landscaping works, as work on reviving the prison barracks is also on. The basic structure of the 150-seater amphitheatre is in place, along with the auditorium.

Environment and Climate Housing

Rabi Rashmi Abasan: India’s First Green Housing Project Completed

rabi rashmi abasan

Via Bengal DCL

Rabi Rashmi Abasan, India’s first solar housing complex, conceived by WBREDA and engineered and managed by Bengal DCL on a plot of 1.76 acres in New Town Kolkata. Destined to be a dazzling milestone in the development of housing complexes in India where every owner will not only have his land but also generate his own power for domestic use as well as for feeding the grid.

Solar PV (Photo Voltaic) technology has a widespread application and is used to convert solar rays into electricity. About 700 MW of generation capacity has been added in 2004 alone, bringing the world total to 2500 MW.The application of Building Integrated Photo Voltaic (BIPV) technology, used in Rabi Rashmi Abasan, has been growing a rate of more than 50% during last 10 years, Japan, Germany and USA having taken the lead.

In Rabi Rashmi Abasan, each home will generate 2kW of power from solar tiles on the roof for its own consumption and feeding the surplus into the grid. The owner will also get power from the grid as and when necessary. The utility will pay the house owner and vice-versa on net monthly metering. Benefits of Energy Banking will also be available to the house owners. Each house will have solar water heaters and solar signage; area lighting will be done by solar streetlights.

More information on IndiaPRWire

Cities Environment and Climate Infrastructure Social Responsibility Urban Transportation

Mumbai Metro rail project to earn carbon credits

The Mumbai Metro Rail project has been in the news for decades. However it is only very recently that it became a real project and is being executed. When completed it will alleviate a lot of the pressure on the local train systems.

Interestingly it will also earn carbon credits.

BL reported that, after Delhi metro rail, it’s the turn of the Mumbai Metro rail project to earn carbon credits. The project will generate 651,938 carbon credits between 2011 and 2020. At the current market price of about INR 1,320, the credits will generate revenue of INR 86.05 crore.

Mumbai Metro One Private Limited, the special purpose vehicle for the project, has submitted a detailed methodology report to the executive board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change seeking clean development mechanism registration for the project. [link]

Carbon credits are a key component of national and international emissions trading schemes that have been implemented to mitigate global warming. More about that on wikipedia.