Thursday, October 19, 2017

Greenitiatives

Verdant prescriptions

Indians need to discard a self-centred approach and must focus upon green construction as a long-term mode of investment, recommends MALA SINGH, CHAIRMAN & MD, PEC SOLUTIONS GREEN DESIGNS PVT LTD.

‘Green’ can be considered as a synonym most commonly associated with the concept of innovative and environment friendly form of construction activities. Though the term is gaining popularity in the infrastructure and construction domain India still lags far behind in the actual practise of basic concepts. Among the core stakeholders who are directly associated with the green building momentum being witnessed in our country are green consultants. The role of consultants in achieving effectiveness in green eco-constructions has assumed great significance in recent times.

Green Building, prominently related with sustainable or high performance construction is a practice associated with two primary functions:

  • Imparting energy efficiency through renewable and effective utilisation of natural resources
  • Protecting and restoring human health and environment throughout the life-cycle of the construction process – design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction

 

Imperfections in ‘Green’ practice

Construction is an activity involving joint contribution of distinct stakeholders who are not just the building material providers or contractors but also consultants, architects, project management professionals, labourers and even the end-user. Sustainability of a structure can be ensured not only with the utilisation of qualitative technologies or raw materials but also by practising effective revival and maintenance procedures. Quality of green construction is a responsibility of each individual. The root cause of improper construction or weak structures is due to the lack of participation from micro-level members of our society, consisting of the common man.

A major concern hindering the effective growth pace of green construction is lack of a skilled workforce, effective governance and implementation of advanced technologies for utilisation of natural resources. The presence of multinationals in the Indian market though has opened us to new advanced technologies. A proper understanding of the utilisation of technologies is of core importance. The process involves the need for a skilled workforce and capacity building. Any technology can give fruitful outputs only when supported by a skilled workforce.

Qualitative participation of governing or regulating authorities is the other major element determining the success of green construction. The desired results of sustainable construction and ambitious aim of building Smart Sustainable Cities can be achieved only through the regular monitoring by the government authorities. The situation hence demands for a qualitative ‘Green Governance’ in India.The government or concerned authorities should act as the watchdogs responsible for achieving effective governance.

 

Awareness is the key

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put forth the much ambitious initiative of creating a ‘Clean India’. As citizens involved in the process of turning the ambition of ‘Clean India’ into a reality, we need to understand that a Cleaner India can be achieved not just by cleaning our roads and highways but the practise need to start right from our houses. The desired result of gaining a ‘Clean India’ cannot be achieved only through sale or branding of technology but by incorporating effectiveness right from the micro level. Effective waste management, water treatment and resource utilisation are also elements of crucial importance in building a ‘Cleaner India’.

The ambitious agenda can be gained only through effective participation of stakeholders from the macro-to-micro level. For instance, waste management is one such area wherein mass awareness prevails as a major hurdle. While solid waste management process is being highly propagated the actual practise of such technologies still goes on at a snail’s pace. The procedure involves active participation from members of the society, governing authorities, NGOs, and even the common man. A crucial point that needs to be well understood by the masses is the importance of collection and segregation of waste into wet and dry wastes. The procedure is also a cost effective process to achieve the target for a ‘Cleaner India’.

 

Role of Green Consultants

Apart from new construction projects, focus needs also be on the transformation of existing structures. As a consultant PEC Solutions not just focuses on creating new ‘green’ projects but also on transforming existing ones into sustainable structures. Such an approach also needs to be undertaken by our governing authorities. The process can tremendously contribute towards building our futuristic Smart Cities. A consultant must understand his/her role in the entire green building moment so that effective contributions can be chipped in for qualitative constructions Green structures should not be only built, but also need to be operated and well maintained to achieve the desired result of qualitative construction.

 

Fear of Eco-Clearances

The technical advancements and introduction of modern machineries while have tremendously contributed in raising the level of construction activities, have also escalated concerns over environment sustainability. Though the country has imbibed environmental clauses and regulations for monitoring the construction activities, a major fallacy is being witnessed in the actual effectiveness of these regulations. The complexity of environmental regulations can be seen as a major reason for their lack of effectiveness.  The situation hence demands standardisation and simplification of the entire process.

A system should not be as complex the way it is today, and must be introduced in a user-friendly approach. The simplification of the entire process can considerably enhance the success prospects for green construction and sustainable technologies. Even the dream of developing Smart Cities will be more easily achievable through the simplification process of environment clearances.  In addition, clarity or categorisation of the clauses as per its applicability is the other need of the hour in implementing environmental policies. A clear bifurcation of the clauses as per its applicability into residential, commercial, industrial, retail etc rather than a common regulation can make  both understanding and practise easy.

The government today has a dedicated department dealing with environmental concerns known as the State Environmental Committees under the umbrella of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. There is a need for a citizen friendly approach due to the complexities in the understanding of current environmental policies and its implementation mechanisms. Moreover, chipping in a peculiar green building mandate can further enhance the prospects for following the practise of green construction in India. Though the prominence gained by green construction is being widely discussed; the actual practise of the process has not made much headway due to the complexities in terms of environmental clearance. Today, green construction is either considered as a USP trend or is observed as corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Green Employment: Evolving opportunities

While sustainable cities and structures are the prime benefits accruing from green construction activities, the process also helps in generating employment for a niche segment of qualified personnel. The practise of green when effectively followed and monitored by the governing authorities will open up a new scope of development for green constructions. The situation will also considerably improve the importance and scope for environmental education and ultimately result in employment opportunities. Today, though our country has a rich inflow of environmental engineers, environmental scientists and architects, the section enjoys limited job prospects. The aggressive adoption of green construction practices can considerably enhance job prospects for individuals enjoying rich expertise from an environment studies background.

Our country is not devoid of achieving any technical challenges, as we are abundantly blessed today with advanced technologies and equipments. A major concern which needs immediate focus is awareness over the effective utilisation of resources and technologies available.  It must also be said the vision of retrofitting of existing cities and new smart cities’ development can be only achieved through eco-construction. The green building approach and energy efficient construction modes needs to be considered as a mandate for all kind of developmental activities by our government. Only that can effectively turn the dream of a green and sustainable India into reality.

 

Gung ho over green

PEC Solutions Green Designs Pvt. Ltd. provides integrated and sustainable approach to design a green building with minimal environmental impact and reduces consumption of natural resources effectively. The Mumbai based firm provides consultancy services with a holistic approach right from the project planning stage till its commissioning by incorporating five elements of Nature i.e. water, fire, air, earth and sky. This sustainable approach has helped its various clients to achieve efficiency in water and energy usage. The use of eco-friendly materials and technologies has reduced the demand of natural resources drastically in their projects. The company helps corporates and organisations by providing them a well defined strategy for sustainable development as per their requirements. It also provides support to monitor environmental, social and economical performance which enables organisations to achieve their long term goals of sustainable business.

 

Key services offered:

  • Assistance in Green ratings for buildings, landscapes and companies
  • Green designs
  • Third party assessors
  • Environmental approvals and legal advice
  • Monitoring over sustainability - environment & energy
  • CSR and sustainability advisors

 




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