Green is a phenomenon and not a formula. It is a concept more than a configuration. However, with more glass than the grass in built environment, “Green” seems to have remained a word rather than a colour. Building industry, with its share of 42%, is the highest consumer of world energy surpassing manufacturing as well as agriculture sector.
As architects we alter the landscape forever and we need to understand and be responsible for its far reaching consequence. For example recycling one aluminium can of coke can save energy equivalent of running television for nearly forty minutes, as aluminium’s embodied energy demands are 160 times than that of a sunburnt clay brick. Need we clad our buildings with aluminium panels in India?
In a day use building nearly ninety two percent of energy is spent in cooling (60%) and lighting (32%). This makes it quite logical for us to prioritize resource optimisation in these areas. A multi owner high-rise residential building has annual energy demands of (59.8KWH/sq. M) one and half times that of the single owner low rise building (40 KWH/sq. M). Entertainment centres guzzle three and a half times (135 KWH/ sq. M) while hotels and data centres are ten times energy intensive. But topping the list are the recently found shopping malls pegging energy needs at 565 KWH/sq.M. Needless is the debate whether after all these if they even measure up to the spontaneity, plurality and vitality of the traditional street bazaars.
It is also a fallacy to think that modern times imply more comfort. Electricity has been invented and applied since over two centuries but the world energy consumption of entire year of 1950, even after 150 years of electricity’s invention, is equivalent of today’s consumption of six weeks only. And yet it remains inaccessible to over 40% of world’s population.
As architects we are called to take six basic decisions and the sum total of which is wholesome architecture.
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