Green Buildings are more relevant than ever; we needed to counter climate change yesterday; and we need to be prepared for tomorrow.
Shailesh Ranjan, Head – Business Planning, operations & Technical, Asahi India Glass Ltd (AIS)
It’s a good thing that we are far more informed that what we used to be. The internet has brought the world at our doorstep. A click of a button tells us all there is to know about anything on the planet. That’s also the reason why we are more aware about concepts and terms like ESG, Climate Change and Sustainability. While it has taken time for people in India to sink their teeth into, the summer this year has fully introduced India to “Climate Change”. The demand for safe, secure and sustainable living and working spaces has never been higher.
Green buildings: No longer the future; they are the present
India saw itself amidst the severest of heatwaves seen in over a century this summer. From what we know this won’t be the last such occurrence and summers are likely to be hotter in the coming years. One of the major fallouts of this has been the huge overload on our energy infrastructure and the ensuing shortage of electricity felt across the country. This has led to some cities seeing a large number of fires in both residential and commercial buildings. While this represents a risk to life and limb, in some cities this represents a massive challenge to the growth and investment prospects of the city and the state. As such even governments have now started raising a concern about the need for an effort to make spaces safer, secure and future proof when it comes to climate change.
We needed to counter this yesterday. We need to be prepared for tomorrow.
The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time to start is today. India has made significant progress in addressing climate change and in many ways our country is much ahead of its peers in embracing the issue and preparing for the future.
But where does an individual start? At home and at work. This battle will have to be fought by everyone since it will affect each and every citizen.
These are two places where every individual spends two-thirds of his/her day and any journey towards safe, secure and sustainable living has to start from here.
Some checks to run:
- How bright is your home/office? Does your space get adequate sunlight?
- How do you keep your space cool? Does your current design allow for optimum use of energy?
- Is the space well ventilated and how does the air circulate within the premises? Can the space use a little less air-conditioning?
- Has the space been designed keeping all types of hazards in mind, especially fire?
- How easy is it to get to safety in case a fire breaks out?
Glass: Green and sustainable
One of the building items that has seen huge offtake because it is safe, secure and sustainable is glass. Glass provides your living space with the ability to breathe and aids a healthy living and working environment. Apart from being eco-friendly as it is easily recyclable, glass also provides natural lighting and is super energy efficient. India will see a huge spurt in green buildings in the next decade and a rush to build homes and offices that can provide the right balance of health and safety. Glass checks all the boxes when it comes to elevating the green coefficient of any space. It is an absolute must in the build stack of any modern designer.
A good amount of green building demand will come from companies who employ people by the 1000s. Green buildings and the way they are built are known to be more welcoming to people with its open and well-lit spaces filled with natural light. Green Buildings across the world have been known to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity by 25-40%, it has also been known to reduce consumption of energy by 20-30%. In 2018, Harvard University conducted a survey on the happiness and wellbeing of people. This survey strongly indicated that people who lived or worked in green buildings ended up reducing costs on energy, health and climate change. In fact, glass is also hazard proof as it doesn’t allow fires to spread fast thus saving lives and allowing minimum structural damage
With the COVID pandemic there has to be more emphasis laid on green and sustainable spaces. The easiest way to assess the future readiness of any living or working space is to look for the amount of glass usage in the design of that space.