The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India has a website that provides information and guidelines for green buildings in India. You can access the green building website from here.
Green buildings are not necessarily green in colour, but they are green in nature! Have a look at the definition of green buildings as per the MNRE site,
“A building which can function using an optimum amount of energy, consume less water, conserve natural resources, generate less waste and create spaces for healthy and comfortable living, as compared to conventional buildings, is a green building”
Any building can become greener by incorporating a few green building principles. But, if a building is planned & built according to the green building concepts, it can utilize resources efficiently and effectively without reducing the comfort-level for people living inside.
Have a look at some Characteristics of Green buildings:
- Use renewable sources to generate electricity (solar panels, solar heating, micro wind mills, earth air tunnels, etc) and minimize the amount of electricity drawn from the grid.
- Use natural lighting/ventilation as far as possible to maximize the lighting in the day, but still keep the heat to a minimum.
- Use double-glazed windows, window shades, insulated light-coloured walls, heat-resistant roof-tiles, roof gardens, plants/trees that create a cooling effect, fly ash bricks for masonry walls, etc. to minimize the heat getting into the buildings during the summer.
- Use recycled water (from kitchen, etc.) to water the lawn/gardens, use rain water harvesting methods to conserve as much water as possible.
- Use energy-star rated efficient appliances, LED/CFL lights, motion-activated light-sensors, ambient light-sensors, timers, etc. prevents wastage of electricity.
- Use simple building automation systems with sensors to measure light, temperature and water levels.
- Convert organic waste into natural fertilizers or bio-fuels. For this purpose, they employ waste-segregation at source.
Needless to say, the running costs of green buildings are minimized to a great extent. Green buildings need to be combined with green-habits/practices by the people living in them.
- Turning off stoves several minutes before cooking is completed, using pressure-cookers, using flat-bottomed pans, bringing refrigerated items to room temperatures before cooking, etc.
- Turning off computers/monitors, switching laptops to stand-by mode when not in use.
- Ensuring fridge seals are air-tight, de-frosting the freezers regularly, cooling hot foods to room temperature before placing them in the fridge, leaving enough space between the fridge and the wall behind, etc.
- Using washing machines with full-loads, using an A/C with temperature cut-off mechanism, etc.
My personal wish is to live in a green-house, producing and storing my own electricity using renewable technologies, moving around using electric car powered by electricity generated through solar/wind energy, having a roof-top garden and a small garden all around, away from the noise/pollution/price-escalations of the city.
More I think of it, more I am convinced that cities are inherently unsustainable. But, I am fine with living in the corner-most area of the furthermost sub-urban location just outside the city – A location where I can find some green patches, and not just a concrete jungle. I am actively trying to change my life-style in order to follow the sustainable/green living principles.
What do you prefer? Living in the center of a city, living in sub-urban area, living in small-town or living in a village?
If you want a short introduction to some green buildings already built in India, have a look at the videos in this page.