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Ready for a 'green' future

Post Time:Mar 27,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:349

Sleek high-rises clad with glass and chrome - global architecture trends have truly become an integral part of Mumbai's commercial buildings. "A glass exterior, central air-conditioning and high illumination have a side effect – it translates into high energy use and a negative impact on the environment,” says Abhinandan Lodha, director, Lodha Group.

There are two levels when a commercial building impacts the environment. “First, at the under construction stage and then, when it is being utilised. Both are time frames where the environment gets impacted – negatively," he says. "This is best avoided by implementing 'green building' guidelines."

The Lodhas have implemented green building concepts in ongoing projects. Abhinandan shares how "Mumbai-based developers had already started implementing these guidelines in bits and pieces. Now we have a scenario where all these points have been integrated and we have a proper definition of what constitutes a 'green building'. The basic issue is to implement a code for all commercial buildings that ensures a 'minimum energy efficiency' standard for buildings," he adds.

"The LEED Certification defines standards for green buildings," explains Hongkong based architect James Law, "You have requirements like insulation levels in roofs and walls, performance requirements for windows and skylights, specifications on air condition, ventilation and water heating. Although the additional cost ranges between six to 15 per cent in most cases, the building pays for itself in a few years,” he points out.

Realtor Bharat Malik points out that commercial buildings that house government offices, as per estimates by the International Institute for Energy Conservation, waste about 20-25 per cent of total electricity consumed because of inefficient design parameters which results in an annual energy-related financial loss of about Rs 1.5 billion," he says. "The estimated reduction in energy use for 'green buildings' ranges from 25 per cent to 40 per cent, depending on the climate, building type and hours of operation," Malik says.

"When using green construction and town planning techniques, one needs to factor in two things – the cost aspect, and the fact that it pays for itself over a period of time," points out Mihir Dhruva, CEO, Siddharth Group.

READING BETWEEN THE LINES

How does one define a green commercial building? Hong Kong-based architect James Law, who is working on a handful of projects in Mumbai, terms it as the voluntary pursuit of any activity that encompasses concern for energy efficiency, environment, water, conservation and the use of recycled/recyclable products and renewable energy.

"In addition to making the business profitable, these activities lead to sustainable development and a healthy economy. I am sure we will see more green commercial buildings for the aspect of saving the environment and then, saving money, in the long run," he explains.

Source: The Economic TimesAuthor: shangyi

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