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Environment and Climate Public Realm Social Responsibility Sustainability

Goa to get Green Infrastructure.

Architects, planners and others with green caps and fingers are unveiling a plan to promote use of green principles for eco-friendly

infrastructure, necessitated by climate change.

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII, Goa) and Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) Goa chapter have initiated a joint effort towards creating a cell in Goa to promote green buildings for housing, industries and commercial sector. "We are working on the building design, incorporating the green concept and doing computer test models to ensure that the buildings are really energy-saving before we actually build them," said Dean D’Cruz, architect and former chairman of IIA (Goa chapter).

Conceding that awareness is just building up in Goa at the moment, D’Cruz said research shows that conventional buildings consume 40% of the energy used on earth. "If we are to address the issue of climate change, green buildings are important for Goa," he explained. Raya Shankhwalker, a Panaji-based architect, said that "in Goa, nothing is being done on an organized level, but as a private initiative some architects are consciously moving towards the green building concept".

As a first step, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is trying to set up its Goa cell with assistance from Goa chapters of CII and IIA. "IGBC has been successfully nationally and if the Goa chapter is set up it will help in spreading the green building concept," Shankhwalker said.

D’Cruz explained that IGBC encourages promoters of green buildings to make them accessible to the public. "In this way, these can serve as demonstration models for awareness to be created at public level," he said. While plans are being drawn for such a model in Goa, IGBC held a conference in the city recently to take the concept forward.

Amish Patel, a valuer and mechanical engineer speaking at a national seminar on valuation of assets in Margao on October 9 and 10, referred to the potential for developing greener infrastructure in India’s fast growing construction sector. "This is both valid from an economic as well as environment point of view. An early step taken during the designing stage of construction activity can result in tremendous savings over the longer period of utilization of the construction," he said.

As part of the green initiative, the promoters will help people access the green technology. "If people want to go for green homes or buildings, CII can extend support to them," said D’Cruz. The CII will provide them links to manufacturers of environment-friendly material and machinery and also guidelines to be followed while undertaking green constructions.

On its part, the IIA will promote among architects the idea of green buildings. "We want to do it so that they are encouraged to use green principles in their work," explains D’Cruz, whose firm has a few such projects in Noida, Goa and elsewhere.

Sources say a few projects using green principles are under construction. "But there are also some builders who make false claims on the basis of installing some solar panels and a few plants on their premises," a source said.

Obtaining green ratings from IGBC, which is tantamount to certification like ISO, can help hotels and other housing ventures commercially. But green principles can be followed without inviting a rating agency to certify the building. "Private residences need not go for ratings as costs are involved, but they can follow the principles," D’Cruz said.

A standard definition of a green building is that it uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building. Explains D’Cruz, "Green buildings uses less energy, and initially cost 5% to 7% more because users are paying for new systems and research and development costs, but within five years, they can recover the costs and start saving."

But some like Shankhwalker advocate that the concept of conservation of energy in buildings and constructions be taken to the grassroot level. "One of the best ways of achieving this is to incorporate green initiatives in building bye laws, and one of these is to make rainwater harvesting and recharge mandatory for every construction being taken up in Goa."

The other initiatives would be to encourage use of solar energy in buildings for heating of water, which is being pursued by Goa Energy Development Agency. "Architects can employ innovative techniques for building homes that are cooler without airconditioning while government can start by replacing all incandescent bulbs in its offices and quarters with CFL ones," Shankhwalker said.

Morad Ahmed, chief town planner, town and country planning department, said a recommendation of environment minister Aleixo Sequeira regarding green buildings had been acted upon. "We have written a note to the government to adopt green principles for government buildings," said Ahmed.

Original article here.

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