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.