Sunday, June 29, 2014

Emotional Benefits of Sustainable Architecture

All of us are connected to the architecture in some way and can experience it in our homes, workplaces, surroundings or when we see monuments and even modern buildings. Architecture can even inspire us more so if it is 'Green'! Sustainable Architecture can have emotional benefits too. 

You feel connected to the nature
Sustainable Architecture means deeply integrating green technologies like wind and solar power, natural climate controls and space-age materials in to the building processes. The final product is a unit that connects and benefit from nature. Everyone deserves good space derived from good ideas - and if the idea is green, then naturally you feel more connected to the nature. Sustainable and modern architecture, actually, seek to strike a balance between modern comforts and our connection to nature.

You become responsible to the environment
Worldwide, buildings consume nearly 40% of the world's energy, 25% of its wood, and 15% of its water! By adopting green building strategies, you can maximize both economic and environmental performance. Therefore, directly or indirectly, you not only fulfill your duty towards the environment but also make smarter choice when you decide to go green.

You feel connected to the community
Sustainable architecture is also about the connectivity of community. Smart green design and construction requires people to recognize the power of community. And, ultimately the community and the people within it gets benefited the most, hence, there is a sense of connectivity among people - within and with the community.

There is a feeling of health and well-being
When you connect with the nature and the people and when there is positivity in the environment around, then it is not surprising that there will be feelings of good health and well-being. Clean lines, open spaces, warm materials, natural environments and modern forms are all independently healthy and positive. Moreover, superior indoor air quality and control over thermal comfort naturally makes living healthy!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Metro stations to be rated on green building standards

The green building movement in India has got impetus with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) announcement that stations of Delhi Metro's upcoming Phase III, along with other stations across the country, will be rated to judge their compatibility with green building norms.

Anuj Dayal, the Delhi Metro spokesman said,"Metro stations will be rated on green building standards and this will help the metro systems design their stations as eco-friendly structures and utilize natural resources such as sunlight more effectively." 

"Green buildings help in better preservation of the environment as in such structures there are provisions for better saving of energy, water and CO2. Such buildings also have better waste management arrangements," added Dayal. 

"The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), a body involved in promoting the Green Building concept in India, will be conducting this rating process. They will also issue guidelines for designing the station structures as green buildings," he added.

The rating process will help the upcoming Metro projects design their stations according to green building norms. They can later apply for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is a globally accepted green building certification programme that recognizes the best in class building strategies and practices. DMRC had announced earlier that all the stations in its third phase of expansion along with 12 receiving sub-stations and residential quarters will be designed as green buildings. Apart from Kolkata and Delhi, metro systems are also operational at Bengaluru and Mumbai.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Green roofs to provide respite from hot summers!

Few days back a Virginia Tech architect revealed that 'green roofs' need not go to great depths to work. Elizabeth J. Grant, an assistant professor of architecture and design at Virginia Tech said, "With growing numbers of people moving into cities, it is crucial to give architects and builders tools to make good decisions about green roofs," Grant said. "These systems are on the rise not just because they represent a link to the natural world that is scarce in the city, but because they work. Extremes of temperature and rainfall are becoming unpredictable as climates change, and vegetated roofs help us build resilience in a rapidly changing world."

A green roof is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop to provide shade and remove heat from the air through evapotranspiration, decreasing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. Green roofs, therefore, are effective technique to get respite from summer. The process also helps in saving energy consumption by cutting cooling cost of the buildings significantly. Green roofs also reduce storm water runoff and flow rates, which in turn helps prevent sewers from overflowing and stream banks from eroding.

Green roofs can be installed on a wide range of buildings, from industrial structures to private homes. These vegetated roofs can be as simple as a 2-inch covering of ground cover or as complex as a fully accessible park complete with trees! 

Apart from cooling the building, the green roof reduces energy consumption, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Green roofs can slow storm water runoff in the urban environment and also improve indoor human health, comfort and quality of life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

By 2019, India's government promises at least one lightbulb in every home, thanks to solar energy

The new central government of India has promised at least one bulb in every home with solar energy by 2019. This idea of generating electricity with roof-top solar plant has prompted state governments in India to go door-to-door, or rather roof-to-roof, to solve their acute and recurring power problems.

Karnataka which is the largest southern state by area has recently announced its new solar policy and the state government plans to buy energy from homes and public buildings that generate power from rooftop solar panels connected to the power grid. This summer Karnataka had a shortage of more than 400 megawatts of power in April. Also, Bangalore, the state’s capital, witnessed power cuts every two hours in the hot months of April and May. If this solar energy plans goes well then Karnataka will add 2,000 megawatts (2 gigawatts) to the state’s power kitty and rooftops will contribute 400 megawatts by 2018. Karnataka has 10 gigawatts of solar energy potential because the city gets over 300 sunny days a year!

Typically a residential rooftop area in India ranges between 200 and 1,000 square feet. This means it can comfortably house a standard one-kilowatt solar photo voltaic system. The Energy and Resources Institute estimates these systems can cost as little as Rs 110,000.