Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (or Global Goals for Sustainable Development) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015. Also known as "Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," the goals are actually a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Based on the successes of Millennium Development Goals, the 17 goals include new areas like climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. Here is the list of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

As the lead UN development agency, UNDP is helping implementation of the Goals through their work in over 170 countries and territories. However, achieving these 17 goals will also require the partnership and support of governments, private sector, civil society and citizens alike to make sure we leave a better planet for future generations!

Goal 11 of this list 'Sustainable cities and communities' aims to significantly transform the way we build and manage our urban spaces. It also involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive.

Green architecture is the new 'mantra' of emerging generation of architects!

Green architecture is the new 'mantra' of emerging generation of architects wish to do more than creating beautiful architectural designs. The objective of architecture is to shelter and enhance man's life on earth and to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence. These new designers are out to protect the environment and create designs that make great places to live, work, and play. These architects who design with purpose think of local climate, culture, and economic conditions before starting on to a new project.

"Architecture to me is about this gracefulness of life, about loving the interplay of forms in graded light, the visual connections between spaces and the landscape variation that includes plant life, air, earth, and water as part of each building," says Aashish Karode, the Principal, Planning & Design Services at Design Atelier, New Delhi, India. He further states, "I believe that improved performance and sustainable practices in Architecture and Urban Design have a staggering impact on busineses as also the entire economy. In fact a 60% of the power consumed by the economy is accounted by the built environment".

Architecture to designers like Aashish Karode begins with the excitement of creating lively environments where the symbolism of the architectural artifact and the embedded landscape enliven the whole ensemble.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sustainable Heritage: Global Vision, Local Experiences

4th IACC was an architectural conservation world conference hosted by Dubai city in February 2016. As paradoxical as it may sound, the event titled “Sustainable Heritage: Global Vision, Local Experiences” brought out some very intriguing discussions ranging from cultural heritage in conflict zones to community engagement in conservation efforts along with reflections on whose heritage is it really and what constitutes a community in context of international migration & urbanization.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Combining Traditional Methods of Sustainable Architecture With Modern Technology

Modern green building practice constantly think of inventing new technologies in architecture to combat the ill effects of energy-depleting technology. However, if we look back at ancient practices in Indian architecture and combine these with contemporary technological innovations, then we may attain significantly in our goals sustainable architecture. Fusing traditional methods with modern technology will, actually, help to achieve higher efficiency. For example, the ancient cooling techniques of stepwells could be adapted in modern architecture as natural way of cooling the buildings. Even if air-conditioners are used in the building planned with the ancient cooling techniques, they will consume significantly less energy as the temperatures will be low in these building because of the natural air chilling. 

Ancient Indian civilization has always respected its environment and this explains why our traditional architectural designs were so sophisticated and even climate responsive. A close observation of our ancient architecture will reveal that in India the practice of using climate-responsive design, use of local and sustainable materials, water harvesting, etc. dates back to thousands of years. Architectural elements like courtyards, clusters, wind towers, roof terraces and jaalis (stone lattices), among others, were used for effective climate control keeping social and cultural needs in mind.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

How green is my building

A conference on building sustainability in Bangalore by TERI was organized recently to highlight on the emerging trends and recommendations relevant to the industry. TERI has advised architects, builders, developers, individual home-builders and organisations to evaluate the ‘health of a building’ with nationally acceptable green paradigms. The rating system is based on accepted energy and environmental principles that strike a balance between established practices and emerging concepts. The 6th GRIHA Conference in Bangalore by TERI had engaged with key stakeholders and deliberations to share solutions for accelerating and mainstreaming sustainability in the built environment.

The conference, organised in the wake of the recent government policy on Smart Cities, brought together eminent scientists, research professionals, academicians, practitioners and building industry stakeholders, enabling the sharing of best practices and latest developments on sustainable habitats. It assumes significance as India is expected to become the third largest construction market in the world by 2025. However, the green building footprint is just about three per cent of the current building stock of 25 billion sq. ft, and this is expected to reach 100 billion sq. ft by 2030. 

In an interview with The Hindu-Property Plus, architect Minni Sastry of TERI said,"We recommend location-specific alternative construction methodologies for going green in high-rises where modular and straightforward structural designs can bring down cement, steel and concrete consumption by nearly 25 per cent."

Minni Sastry is Fellow & Area Convenor at Centre for Research on Sustainable Building Science, TERI-South Regional Centre. She is one of the green consultants involved in the GRIHA Building Certification taken up by the institute.

One of the most important GRIHA LD criteria is to find out the carrying capacity of the land, for its ability to absorb population growth without considerable degradation or damage, and this is based upon water availability and available green cover per-capita.

The determining factors include:

1. Water – Quantum of municipal supply and other sustainable sources.

2. Green cover – Total per capita available/made available on site.

Why wood is the best choice in building materials

Wood is a unique building material which is environment friendly and consumes the least amount of energy when processed. Moreover, the wood has the property of storing carbon and has a very low carbon footprint compared to non-wood materials. One of the exceptional quality of wood is its capacity to maintain the quality of a living organism even after tree felling and therefore is also capable of absorbing unpleasant odours. The wood is porous and hence it can absorb bad odours.

Use of wood in construction and architecture is preferred because it allows for a high degree of prefabrication, rapid installation on site and immediate occupation. Wood creates a pleasant feeling in your apartments, offices and restaurants. wood's resistance against earthquakes is excellent and can conveniently enhance the usability of a space in numerous ways.

Wood is excellent because of its favorable relationship between density and strength. Wood is known for its low thermal conduction, acoustic and elastic qualities. Wood is healthy option as it does not causes allergies and is not radioactive. It balances the humidity in the air and smells nice. Its anti-static is well known.

Wood allows for the highest degree of prefabrication and rapid assembly, due to its dry construction, moving in is possible immediately eventually resulting in lower loan cost

Wood is environment friendly and can store CO2 for decades and even centuries!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Green Buildings Are Not Expensive

Constructing green buildings is a practice that will 'save' our planet earth. Though the concept of ‘green buildings’ has been around in India for last few years, yet most constructions that take place in our country are conventional. This is largely due to the ‘myth’ that the going 'green' is a costlier affair. The fact is that conventional builders do not wish to upgrade the designing process of architecture, water management, energy management and related processes.

If we consider, for example, how water management in green building bring down the use of water, then we understand that going green is more cheaper than we think in longer period of time! Let us assume that a family has four members on an average. In a huge construction, there will 100 homes. Therefore, the water consumption per year, will be around 20 million litres. In a green building, it can be brought down to 90 litres per day per person using water saving faucets and taps.

So if a ‘green’ building is a cost effective proposition then why aren't more people opting for it? The primary reason is that making ‘green’ buildings is not obligatory. More over, consumers doesn't ask for it. If consumers become more and more aware of benefits of going green, then there will be a market for it and builders will have to offer green buildings. Also, the government has to take it up. Apart from going for ‘green’ buildings, making existing homes eco-friendly is one of the best ways to save energy. 

Architecture future: How buildings will begin to make our lives better

The virtual reality and needs of contemporary life have changed our relationship to physical space. Buildings aren't 'regularly' designed as they used to be. The architects, planners and designers have begun to create spaces that do more than protect us from the elements. The new buildings actually make us healthier by encouraging exercise and better diet. They balance our exposure to light and sound, thereby, improving our energy levels. Well-designed public places strengthen communities by drawing users from across social and economic divides to shared experiences.

"Architecture's next step is to build on the green movement that has made structures more energy-efficient and earth-friendly and to develop spaces that work as doctors, coaches and counselors for 21st-century life", writes Ray Mark Rinaldi in The Denver Post.

The holistic attitude, according to Rinaldi, is architecture's greatest promise and seems to be steering trends. More and more, landscape architects — a subset of the profession that used to enter building ventures late in the planning to finish parking lots and lawns — are emerging as project leaders, devising how sites will be organized, used and maintained. These days, they might be the ones to hire building architects to complete their vision.

A new way of thinking has a lot to do with  technology, but they're really guided by a new kind of thinking, one that employs design in revolutionary ways and elevates the role of buildings far beyond their primary purpose as shelter. It's about architecture making itself useful, saving lives, alleviating stress, easing class tensions. Architects spent the last century profiting from the proliferation of spaces that pollute, segregate, encourage us to overspend and exercise less. Green and healthy buildings undo the damage. Read full article:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Healthcare architecture has assumed great importance

Gone are the days when hospitals were shades of sombre grey and white teeming with patients of all kinds. In recent years, there has been a major transformation in the look and ambiance of the healthcare sector. The situation, today, is that it is hard to differentiate between healthcare infrastructure and hotels except in the services they offer. And because of this trend, healthcare architecture has assumed great importance and this specialized area of architecture has plenty of scope in the evolving Indian market.

The entry of major private players in the healthcare scenario in the last two decades brought about a sea change in the Indian healthcare industry. The change has also permeated to healthcare design and architecture. The philosophy of healthcare architecture speaks of the significance of the emotional and aesthetic aspects of the healthcare environment and believes this as an extremely important aspect of hospital design.

Even healthcare professional, now, agree that exposure of nature for the patients, especially direct sunlight, can promote faster healing and enhances the recovery period of the patient. Architects, who have been saying this too, today advocate Strategically located positive distractions like artwork, use of appropriate materials, interior colors and plants in order to reduce stress levels of not only the patients but also the attendants, hospital staff and doctors as well, thereby enhancing productivity.

Efficient utilization of space is very critical without jeopardizing the functional needs and in view of this, sustainable design takes a whole new dimension when it comes to hospitals.

There is plenty of scope to explore in healthcare sector and the requirement for healthcare architects is huge with the growth in the healthcare industry. To reach a ratio of even one bed per 500 patients, India needs to build 8.7 lakhs more hospital beds. According to latest studies, there will be a requirement of two million beds by 2027.

Building Sense: Beyond the green facade of sustainable habitat

A frenzy of construction in India is under full swing to meet the demand for homes, offices, and shops. A staggering two-third of buildings that will stand in India in 2030 are yet to be built. According to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), there can be massive environmental debacle in the building sector if resource guzzling and wastes with appropriate architectural design, building material, and operational management are not minimized with some policies. There will be enormous impact (negative) on the quality of urban space; water and energy resources in cities; and waste generation if developers does not make these under construction buildings green.

The New Delhi based research and advocacy organization, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has raised this concern in a study- Building Sense: beyond the green facade of sustainable habitat. The organization has expressed deep concern that the data put out by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) on energy consumption of large commercial buildings that were rated and awarded silver, gold and platinum rating, under the LEED green rating programme, is incorrect. These buildings are grossly under-performing. Several of them cannot qualify even for the one star label under the energy star labelling programme of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) that ranks buildings based on their energy efficiency when operational.