Celebrating World Green Building Week for Sustainable Development

The week starting September 20th until September 26th marks the ‘World Green Building Week’ and is celebrated annually to draw attention to the role of green buildings in the creation of healthier and more sustainable communities.

The Indian Green Building Council defines a green building as one which uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building.”

India and World Green Building Week

We at the Delhi Greens Blog spoke to Daman Sood, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), to learn about his views on the benefits, trend and future of green buildings in India, upcoming ‘eco’ real estate and the ‘Green’ claimed Commonwealth Games 2010.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association, dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Daman Sood have served as a member of IEEE for 11 years, and is currently the Chair of the IEEE – Computer Society Chapter Delhi Section and Secretary of IEEE Delhi Section.

His area of expertise include Green IT,  sustainability, energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, going green the Six Sigma way and renewable energy deployment. Following are the excerpts from the interview:

Delhi Greens: What is the importance of observing World Green Building Week? Can you share your thoughts on it?

Mr Sood: While its common sense to go green (by any and all ways), people are not paying attention to it and need to be constantly reminded. Hence events such as the ‘World Green Building Week’ are important and necessary. Buildings are an important part of our society, and green buildings can share a big portion of carbon management.

Delhi Greens: What are the environmental benefits of green architecture?

Mr Sood: My definition of green (architecture/ IT/ building) is ‘what is light on all resources’. And I am a great proponent of ‘cradle to grave’ story. Green architecture to me, helps reduce load on mother earth/nature i.e. utilises less material. Then, I extend my expectations that it should be light on my (the user/customer’s) pocket too. It should then last longer and finally be easily recycled or disposable. Of course, during its lifetime, it should be light on other resources like power and water, all in all leaving a long term positive impact on the environment.

Delhi Greens: In addition to providing environmental benefits, can green buildings help meet social and economic priorities in India as well?

Mr Sood: Yes! A green building is light on all resources (material, water, power etc.) – these are highly relevant parameters in India’s social and economic scenario.

Delhi Greens: According to the World Green Building Council’s recent report, buildings use 32% of the world’s resources in construction. They are responsible for around 40% of global energy use and emit up to 30% of global GHG emissions. In this regard, please explain the vital role of green buildings for sustainable development?

Mr Sood: All this is in line with my views expressed in earlier questions. I believe, the three Rs are very important (and in the following order): Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. Green buildings must Reduce their requirement on natural resources. Green buildings must Recycle (e.g. the water/waste water). And green buildings must Reuse (e.g. the recycled water). This is one way of understanding and defining sustainable development, and proves the importance of green buildings.

Delhi Greens: What is the current scenario of green building in Indian cities like Delhi? Can you comment on the future prospects of green building for Delhi?

Mr Sood: Future is, no doubt, bright. The current situation may be unfavourable– Delhi is saturated with available space and built up infrastructure. At times, hype is created rather than actual concrete work, vents like ‘World Green Building Week’ help raise awareness and spur people into action.

Delhi Greens: Please explain briefly the need and difference of green infrastructure implementation in rural and urban areas of India.

Mr Sood: There is a huge divide in rural and urban India as far as infrastructure is concerned. When there is a lack of roads, concrete houses and electricity, then the question about sustainable development appears to be a jock too. The availability as well as affordability of alternatives is high in the urban areas. At the same time, this year the road condition of the capital makes one think if even Delhi is urbanised.

Delhi Greens: Lately, there have been numerous ‘real-estate’ related advertisements on green buildings, builders who are now selling houses with an ‘eco’ or ‘green’ tag. This is especially prevalent for Delhi NCR. How much of this is actually true and in your understanding and experience, how true are these claims?

Mr Sood: At times different entities of the society make a hype of a topic for vested interests. But, there are good examples too. Some builders may exploit only one or two green features, while others may go five and 10 features. When the buildings are LEED certified – I do not see any place for doubts.

Delhi Greens: According to the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games 2010, the Games are supposed to be one of the greenest Games ever. Based on your experience and expertise, please share your thoughts on this?

Mr Sood: I understand that there is some use of solar power in one of the stadiums but none are (yet) certified green stadia. This year’s late and heavy continuing rains in Delhi tells a non-sustainable development story. While, environmental changes cannot be attributed to the Commonwealth Games only, I believe these Games have made a big dent. I am not comfortable, not assured of the games leave aside successful/green Games.

Delhi Greens: Tell us about IEEE’s efforts towards such initiatives of making green building or architecture?

Mr Sood: I definitely know that there is focused work through the Humanitarian Technology Challenge. The IEEE has been running campaigns around raising awareness. The Delhi section had organised a Sustainability Conference with the same objective in 2009, and hopes to continue with that effort this year too. I am also happy to share the logo that says ‘Advancing Technology for Humanity’, hence all work that IEEE does can be amounted towards Sustainable Development.

I am doing my bit as a IEEE Senior Member, by way of writing this article that will go a long way in raising awareness.

Delhi Greens: Your message to the readers of the Delhi Greens Blog on World Green Building Week.

Mr Sood: I have said this in my earlier writings, I believe in this, and am happy to write again:

When it comes to Environment, ‘no action’ is unacceptable. The best time to start was yesterday, that has gone and perhaps we have missed, the next best time is today and now – let’s begin, let’s do our bit individually, collectively it will make a big difference to our world.

Impuri Shimray

Impuri Shimray is a mass communication professional and is deeply committed towards working for an inclusive and sustainable society.

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