Samruddhi Group is primarily into residential development like apartments, residential complexes, villas, row houses and town houses in cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Pune. Yogeshwar Kulkarni talks about the multiple challenges faced by the Indian green building movement and energy saving measures as an integral part of good building designs. Interview by Renu Rajaram.
What is your outlook on green buildings?
Green building today is a necessary truth. The kind of growth we see today in India or any developing countries is enormous. We need to understand and innovate the way we build. Green building initiative is the first step. Today we are talking about minimum disposal, soon we will need to have building which are not only zero disposals, but also taking care of their own energy and fresh water requirements and the next step will be completely independent buildings not only taking care of themselves but also giving back fresh air and generating extra energy and water for the city.
What is your view on sustainable materials?
Sustainable materials are way of future. There will be time in future where every product used in building industry will be sustainable in nature, may it be recycled, reprocessed, or manufactured in a sustainable process. Even today we are using a lot of sustainable materials.
Can you discuss various measures to save energy in buildings?
Energy saving measures has always been integral part of good building designs. A few energy saving measures is as follows:
- The measures to save heating and cooling energy requirements are: giving optimum sunshades and overhangs to minimize heat radiation but giving equal importance for daylight to enter; Placement of openings according to sun path, e.g. in tropical regions the practice is to give more openings towards east and north where direct radiation is minimum and light is maximum and reducing the size and number of openings in south and west where direct radiation is maximum; Placement of openings to facilitate cross ventilation thus reducing cooling requirement; Using reflective materials to reduce radiation through walls; Using thermal insulating materials to reduce heat or cold radiation etc.
- The measures to save lighting requirements are: Maintaining optimum depth of room to facilitate maximum daylight and Placement of openings according to sun path.
- The measures to save energy requirements: Using energy efficient elevators, motors, pumps, appliances etc.
Tell us about your green projects and the various green measures observed by your company?
We as a company are always committed towards green building initiative. To start with, we are members of India Green Building Council which is a consensus driven not-for-profit council which encourages builders and developers to build green to enhance the environmental performance of the building. The council helps us to identify materials, vendors and new technology for implementing in our green initiative.
We also consciously follow various energy efficient and green practices stipulated by IGBC.
Some of the practices followed by us in our projects are: reducing soil erosion during and after construction; reducing negative impacts from automobile use by providing basic amenities in the premises which reduces carbon footprint; providing rainwater harvesting to increase the ground water table; installing efficient water fixtures to minimise indoor water usage; innovative landscape and irrigation designs to ensure minimum consumption of water; use of recycled water for flushing and landscaping; use of energy efficient elevators, motors, pumps, appliances etc; use of alternative energy sources; use of solar water heaters; use of energy efficient lighting systems; installing solid waste management system; use of locally available and manufactured materials; using recyclable materials; use of green materials; implementing sun path study in building design; providing ample light and ventilation in building design; and innovative designs for better quality of indoor environment
What are the major challenges facing the Indian green building movement?
There are multiple challenges faced by IGBM, few of them are:
Initial cost: The biggest driver of any building project is the cost. The more innovation and compliances towards green building, more is the initial cost. The developer typically does not want to absorb the initial cost when the end user is the one who reaps the benefits of it in long term.
Infrastructure: The design of a green building relies on a lot of external factors especially in terms of industry infrastructure. Till the entire infrastructure to support the requirements of a green building are not in place, it will not be very successful.
Design coordination: The success of a green building hugely depends on integration of green policies at the design stages. The designing process followed in India tends to ignore the green factor to be considered at the onset of the project and comes later as an afterthought.
Approach: The entire process of building a building is getting obsolete very fast. We are resistant to change. Indian building industry takes a lot of time to absorb new technologies and new methods to follow. The approach is such that we tend to follow age old technologies and processes.
What is the solution to these problems?
The solution to these problems is creating awareness about how a greener building is going to help in improving our lifestyle. We have a huge educated middleclass population emerging, which are the primary end users of our buildings. Introducing this concept to them will not be difficult. On the developers end, they need to understand its importance in terms of short term and long term cost savings and come out with a solution which helps them in offloading some of that initial cost to the end user. From the designers and consultant standpoint, they need to start the green process in initial stages as integral part of their designs and in turn also help the developer to understand its benefits.
How can ‘sustainable building models’ be introduced in today’s metros considering the resource shortage?
Sustainable building model will take time to be established as an industry standard. It is like huge machinery of which all the gears need to start working at different levels. To fasten the process, the concept has to be introduced at the grass root level. Professional colleges for architecture and engineering need to introduce the concept of sustainable development. The awareness programme through various agencies like IGBC for existing professionals has to start, which in turn will educate the developers of its benefits. The developers will need to start specifying green materials and processes which in turn the manufacturers and vendors will start manufacturing greener material and sustainable processes. Also an awareness programme for the end user needs to be initiated to make the entire process successful.
The infrastructure sector is beset with problems at this point. Are you seeing any sluggishness in growth?
The infrastructure sector has always had its problems and solutions. With the kind of growth in urban population and requirement of workplaces and residences increasing, there should not be any slump in the growth ideally. But our sector is governed by multiple aspects which factor in rise and fall of demand.